Now Reading
Does this hate pamphlet show what the ‘No’ campaign will argue if Australians vote on gay marriage?

Does this hate pamphlet show what the ‘No’ campaign will argue if Australians vote on gay marriage?

A copy of a pamphlet aimed at swaying the views of Australian voters if a public vote is held on whether to legalize same-sex marriage may be an indication of the ‘No’ campaign’s argument against it, advocates fear.

The pamphlet, titled ‘You Have A Choice,’ was authorized by former Liberal Party MP Chris Miles and claims that legalizing same-sex marriage will result in adult children of same-sex parents experiencing ‘unemployment, sexual victimization, sexually transmitted disease [and] drug use/abuse.’

It then goes on to claim that the ’emotional and mental health outcomes’ of same-sex couples being able to marry will be ‘anxiety in family [sic], depression’ and ‘suicidal thoughts.’

The pamphlet also warns that same-sex marriage will result in an increase in ‘the number of girls becoming mothers without having a mother’ and ‘the number of boys becoming fathers without having a father.’

It also claims that legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to instructions on how to have gay sex being added to the sex education curriculum in schools.

The pamphlet also claims that marriage between a woman is ‘biologically, psychologically, emotionally and physically different from “same-sex” unions.’

The pamphlet goes on to encourage voters to vent their homophobia in ‘the privacy of the ballot box’ where they will be safe from the ‘intimidation … threats … bullying’ and ‘demonizing’ of people who support same-sex couples’ equal right to marry.

The pamphlet is authorized by Miles via a PO Box in the New South Wales state suburb of Round Corner – which means it is in breach of Australia’s electoral rules which require campaign material to be authorized to a street address.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in Australia have been calling for the suspension of anti-hate speech and vilification laws for the duration of any campaign in the lead up to a popular vote on the issue and the ‘Yes’ campaign fears the pamphlet is just a taste of what is to come.

‘This is just the start of the anti-gay misinformation campaign millions of Australians will have to endure if the government spends $160 million on a marriage equality plebiscite,’ National Director of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome said.
 
‘Australia can avoid a damaging plebiscite campaign, and we could have marriage equality by mid year, if parliament is simply allowed to do its job and has a free vote.

‘Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.

‘In contrast to the negative tone of this material, we will continue to run a positive campaign about the importance of marriage equality and the equal dignity of all loving relationships and families.’
 
The pamphlet has been condemned by Dr Liz Short from the Australian Psychological Society (APS) who lead that organization’s review of LGBTI parenting research.

‘This leaflet is factually incorrect and deeply damaging,’ Dr Short said in a statement.

The APS’s review of research in this area shows the children of same-sex couples are likely to be at least as well adjusted, socially, emotionally, and academically, as other children. It also shows their mental health is vulnerable to exactly the kind of prejudice and hostility to be found in this leaflet.’
 
‘The APS opposes a plebiscite on marriage equality and prefers a vote in parliament because we fear there will be much more of this damaging misinformation.’

The pamphlet was also condemned by Anglican minister the Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt who leads the group Progressive Christian Voice.

‘This kind of material is very divisive for faith communities. There are views on both sides of the conversation and neither side should be claiming to speak on behalf of all of us,’ Dr Catt said.

‘A plebiscite is totally unnecessary and this leaflet is just a sign of what is coming, in particular in terms of the damage that could be done to young people. It’s one thing for politicians to use electioneering to sledge one another but it’s a very different thing to use that same mechanism to hurt vulnerable people in the community.’
 
Miles has said that he would not rule out printing and distributing millions of the pamphlets to Australian voters.