Over three-thousand flyers displaying statistics showing that gay people have a lower life expectancy than straight people have been distributed in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart ahead of a key gay marriage vote this Saturday.
State electoral commissioner Julian Type described the flyers as 'hateful and scurrilous' and said they could be a breach of the Electoral Act because they are not authorized.
The flyers are not attributed to any particular group or political party, and only have a cryptic email address as a clue to who made them.
'Scripture rejects homosexuality as utterly abominable,' says some of the text on the flyer.
'On the other hand secular media and academia say homosexuality is just fine but they cannot both be correct. The following FACTS and statistics for 4,805 obituaries in 15 US homosexual newspapers compared to obituaries from two major US newspapers.'
The flyer then presents graph showing 'lifespans' (pictured) of 'males', 'homosexuals' and 'females'. The bars for 'homosexuals' is split into 'AIDS' and 'non-AIDS'. Those bars and one for 'lesbian' are considerably younger (39, 42, 43) than the bars that are presented as for heterosexual people (74, 57, 79, 71).
'Some people will dismiss these flyers as a joke but they have a dramatic impact, especially on young people coming to terms with being gay,' spokesperson for Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, Rodney Croome.
'If there were flyers that treated blacks or Jews in the derogatory way these flyers treat gay and lesbian people there'd be an outcry. My hope is the inquiries currently underway will determine where the money has come from to pay for the printing and distribution of these flyers.'
Tasmania's Upper House are set to vote on same-sex marriage legislation on Saturday.
Last September the Upper House narrowly rejected a same-sex marriage bill. In March independent Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Ruth Forrest tabled a motion to bring the bill back to the house.
'The fact there's still this kind of hate in parts the community shows why it's important we remove all discrimination from our laws, especially when we're dealing with something as important as marriage,' added Croome.