The head of Shepparton’s LGBTI support group has slammed a TV advertisement advocating a ‘no’ vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey has been slammed as ‘‘hurtful’’ and ‘‘dishonest’’.
The advertisements that were produced for the Coalition for Marriage campaign features parents concerned about how same-sex marriage may impact their children.
Goulburn Valley Pride president Georgina Poort said she was quite shocked when she first saw the advertisements, which premiered on Australian TV on Tuesday night.
‘‘I found it quite hurtful,’’ Ms Poort said.
‘‘I felt like they were aiming it at children, and it’s not about children, it’s never going to be about children.’’
The 30-second TV spot features four mothers talking about concerns they have for their children if Australia changes laws on marriage that currently restricts same-sex couples from marrying.
The ad claims that children are being forced to roleplay same-sex relationships at school, and that if same-sex marriage plan succeeds, parents will lose their rights.
‘‘To be honest, it feels like they were aiming it at Safe Schools, which has had a lot of media attention as of late,’’ Ms Poort said.
The Safe Schools program is an education initiative aimed at increasing the safety of LGBTI students at school and decreasing bullying.
The program has come under fire by many conservative politicians including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and South Australian senator Cory Bernardi over accusations it introduces children to inappropriate material.
In a statement, Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York said millions of Australians were concerned about what could happen if the Marriage Act changed.
“In Canada and the United Kingdom, radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs start to become mandatory, even for primary schools, once the law changes,’’ the statement said.
Ms Poort feared the campaign would be harmful to vulnerable members of the LGBTI community.
‘‘I think we have to rise above it and not pay attention to these sort of things,’’ she said.
The Australian Marriage Law postal survey is planned to be between September 12 and November 7.