An Australian mother has received online abuse and death threats after taking a stand for the traditional definition of marriage.
Cella White appeared in an Australian TV advert last month encouraging people to vote against redefining marriage.
The country is currently holding a postal vote answering the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
Since the advert was released, White said she has received “relentless” abuse.
“I knew it was a touchy subject so I was well aware of the backlash to likely come my way by taking part in the ad, but it’s hostile out there.”
In addition to death threats and reports of racist abuse, one user threatened to rape her son.
Despite the abuse, the mother-of-four said it has not stopped her from voicing her opinion on the issue.
Lyle Shelton, of the campaign group Australian Coalition for Marriage, said he had warned all of the women in the advert that there could be some criticism, but had not expected such serious abuse.
“We tried to prepare them for it, we warned them and we did everything we could to protect them, they were demonised by the ‘yes’ campaign.”
“Someone threatened to burn down Heidi’s church, Cella was called a liar, and Dr Lai had her registration threatened”, he added.
‘Love and respect’
Abuse of supporters of traditional marriage has become increasingly commonplace in Australia.
Australian rugby union star Israel Folau was also accused of bigotry and homophobia after gently stating his opposition to same-sex marriage:
I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.✌❤🙏
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) September 13, 2017
Worse than racism
Earlier this month, an Australian politician said that the hateful labels of “bigot” and “homophobe” thrown at her are worse than the racism she has had to endure.
Karina Okotel, who was born in Australia and has a Sri Lankan background, says she will be voting against same-sex marriage in the postal ballot because the consequences are “too significant to be cast aside”.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is carrying out the same-sex marriage ballot, has said it will announce the results in mid-November.