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Backlash after anti-marriage equality ad debuts on Mardi Gras night

“We hear a lot about marriage equality, but what about equality for kids?” a woman says in the ad. David van Gend, the president of the Australian Marriage Forum, is described on-screen as a “family doctor”.
Nanjing Night Net

A “traditional” couple is seen walking in a playground with children.

Broadcaster SBS pulled the Australian Marriage Forum’s anti same-sex marriage television advertisement from its Sunday night telecast of the 37th Sydney Mardi Gras.

The 43-second TV ad aired on Channel 7 and 9 on Saturday while the parade was under way and shows a mother sitting at a playground table with her young daughter while her husband and son play on a slide in the background.

“We hear a lot about marriage equality, but what about equality for kids?” the woman says.

The advertisement also features David van Gend, the president of the Australian Marriage Forum and a family doctor, who is described on-screen only as a “family doctor”.

“So-called marriage equality forces a child to miss out on a mother or a father,” Dr van Gend says. “That’s not equality for the kids who miss out. That’s not marriage.”

The ad was part of the Forum’s campaign opposing same-sex marriage, called “Think of the Child”.

Dr van Gend said the ad was booked and paid for but he received an email from SBS on Friday saying they had pulled it.

“Our review board has instructed that SBS has the right to choose what ads we run, and I’ve unfortunately been instructed to advise you that we choose not to run this TVC for the Marriage Forum during the Mardi Gras telecast,” the email from SBS sales manager for Queensland, Nick Belof, said.

An SBS spokesperson told Fairfax Media that it reserved the right “to determine what advertisements it broadcasts”.

Dr van Gend said the pulling of the ad was a “suppression of free speech”.

“It is outrageous for a taxpayer funded broadcaster like SBS to apply censorship to one side of the debate on same-sex marriage,” he said.

“SBS gives free airtime for them to make their political point on ‘marriage equality’, but refuses to show even one minute of a paid ad presenting an opposing view.”

The advertisement had received regulatory approval as a political advertisement in February, the Forum said.

Dr van Gend has asked the advertising agency the Forum was using to obtain a further explanation from SBS. The agency has been told SBS will give a further explanation next week.

Not-for-profit organisation Australian Marriage Equality’s national director, Rodney Croome, said the ad was “actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples because it defends discrimination against their families”.

“I challenge Croome as to who is “actually harming” children here. A large peer-reviewed study published in January drawn from over 200,000 children, found that emotional problems in children are four times higher in same-sex households than in households with both biological parents. And the difference had nothing to do with social “stigmatisation,” Dr van Gend said.

The Australian Marriage Forum’s website was registered by the Australian Christian Lobby in 2011.

 

The advertisement triggered a social media backlash, with a Change.org petition set up to remove the ad from television. @9NewsSyd Australian Marriage Forum ad shown tonight is bigoted scare mongering rubbish! Very disappointed this trash was aired on nine! — Melissa Power (@MelissaPower6) March 7, 2015 Australian Marriage Forum airs out of touch ad, driven by irrational homophobic prejudice. The Ad insults far more than the gay community. — Scott Norton Taylor (@norton_scott) March 8, 2015 Parenting, not promiscuity is worth celebrating. #teamnile#MardiGras2015pic.twitter南京夜网/p04pia1BHV — Fred Nile (@frednile) March 7, 2015This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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