Two television channels have refused to air an advert from a group campaigning against same-sex marriage in Australia.
Marriage Alliance wanted to broadcast the 45-second message, entitled “It’s Not As Simple As You Think” on Channel 7 and Channel 10 but the broadcasters refused.
The advert was shown elsewhere, but the Foxtel broadcaster has now reportedly pulled it after being accused of homophobia.
The advert shows a hand sketching an iceberg with the words same-sex marriage inside, but underneath the water a much larger part of the iceberg is revealed.
Viewers are told that questions around children, sex education in schools and the rights of others are not being considered in the debate on redefining marriage in Australia. It says that changing the meaning of marriage has “unintended consequences”.
Marriage Alliance said its moderate advert – in support of the current law – was being censored.
This week the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said there would not be an imminent vote in Parliament on same-sex marriage.
He told reporters that while he respected the position of those who wanted to redefine marriage, he did not share that view.
Abbott said the “cultural shift” involved in changing the definition of marriage should not be underestimated.
The Prime Minister has suggested a public vote on the issue could take place in the future.
Commenting on the TV networks’ decisions Marriage Alliance said: “It is quite shocking that two major TV networks are denying the basic right to freedom of speech and expression on an issue that supports the current law of the nation.
“The advertisement raises legitimate concerns about rights. In no way does it denigrate any element of society, but raises questions that most Australians we believe would want to see answered”.
Foxtel, a pay TV provider, initially said that it supported same-sex marriage and free speech, commenting: “We believe this debate should be won by the force of the argument in favour of reform, not by refusing to engage in debate or allow contrary opinion to be put”.
Some people took to social media to accuse Foxtel of homophobia and the company has now, according to a homosexual news website, cancelled further airings of the advert.
A spokesman for Channel 7 said it was unable to accommodate Marriage Alliance’s booking request, while Channel 10 said it did not comment on commercial arrangements.
Channel 9 said that the advert was airing, “but in very selective timeslots”.