Advocates for same-sex marriage have fired back at an opposition ad which claims that changing the marriage act could lead to radical gender studies programs being taught in schools.
The Coalition for Marriage has released its first television ad, which featured three mothers and argued that children would be exposed to compulsory classes on gender theory if same-sex marriage was legalised.
Late on Wednesday, Australian Marriage Equality released its own ad, featuring Kerryn Phelps.
“Over the coming weeks we’ll be hearing a lot about whether our family and friends who are gay or lesbian can get married,” Dr Phelps says in the ad.
“Sadly, some are trying to mislead us, like this ad does, by saying it will have a negative impact including on young people.
“The only young people affected by marriage equality are young gay people who, for the first time, will have the same dignity as everyone else in our country, and they deserve that.”
Lyle Shelton, the head of the Australian Christian Lobby and a spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage, defended his campaign’s ad.
“We want Australians to see the consequences for when the laws around marriage change,” Mr Shelton told the ABC’s 7.30.
“This is what has occurred overseas.
“Parents had rights before the laws were changed, after the laws were changed their rights to have their children free from radical LGBTIQ sex education was taken away.”
‘Disgusted’ by No campaign claims
Dr Phelps said she was disgusted by the claims.
“I think that the ads are dishonest,” she said.
“I’ve been seeing messages like this for 20 years now and the Australian community is now seeing these crazy messages about the implications of marriage equality.”
Dr Phelps said she felt compelled to respond to the No campaign’s ad.
“Certainly in my role as a doctor, I think it’s very important that I actually set the record straight and say to people, ‘these ads are misleading’,” she said.
“Marriage equality is not about whether a boy is going to wear a dress to school.
“Marriage equality is about two people having the equal right to marry in the same way as every other Australian.”