Complaints against a billboard with the message that ‘marriage equality is every family’s issue’ because any child could be born gay have been dismissed by the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau.
The billboard, erected by the group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), depicts an expectant couple getting an ultrasound of their baby and the slogan ‘Surprise! You’re having a lesbian!’ was the subject of two complaints.
The billboard, erected next to Brisbane’s Inner City Bypass at Bowen Hills, also resulted in hate mail being sent to the offices of GOA billboards, who had donated the space for free.
‘We’ve had some negative feedback, as you would expect, but we have also had some very positive,’ Argent said following the complaint.
‘ One was from a young couple having their own baby. They thought it was a very good idea. Some people have taken the view that it’s evil and all this, but of course it’s not – it’s just to make people think.’
One complainant claimed the billboard was illegal, claiming it sexualized children, while another claimed that it would confuse children and possibly encourage expectant mothers to abort their child.
‘If a child saw this advertisement and asks about it, what does one tell a child?’’ she wrote.
‘If science can prove one is having a lesbian/homosexual should one abort?’
The billboard is to draw people’s attention to the WhatRUHaving.org campaign and a viral video on YouTube which has been watched by over 316,000 people.
The board’s decision comes a month after it threw out a complaint about an anti-same-sex marriage billboard in Tasmania.
The complainant complained that the billboard was in breach of the code for discriminating or violating people based on their lifestyle choices and sexual orientation, and misrepresented that it was supported by all of the churches in the town it was erected in.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart and other churches in the towns of Somerset and Wynyard distanced themselves from the billboard which stated it was sponsored by unnamed churches in the towns.
The billboard’s author argued that it merely stated what the law was right now in Australia.
Then board found that the billboard did not breach its code and dismissed the complaint.