Australia’s LGBTI community is reeling after homophobic posters appeared around Melbourne over the weekend.
The posters were part of a ‘no’ campaign against same-sex marriage ahead a proposed national postal survey on the issue.
They feature the hands of two adults holding rainbow coloured straps standing over a cowering child. The poster’s text reads ‘Stop the Fags’ and argues children with same-sex parents are worse off than heterosexual parents.
The posters – incorrectly – claimed ‘92% of children raised by Gay Parents are abused’, ‘72% are obese’ and ‘51% have depression’.
Other posters that appeared around Melbourne featured the symbol for nuclear power with rainbow colours and another cowering child.
— Dan Leach-McGill (@DrDanLMcG) August 19, 2017
Opponents of a public vote have long argued that a public debate in its lead up would open up LGBTI people to hate speech.
But Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull argued that Australian’s could be trusted to engage in a respectful debate.
‘I mean, do we think so little of our fellow Australians and our ability to debate important matters of public interest that we say: ‘You’re not able to have a respectful discussion about the definition of marriage’, which is a very significant, important, fundamental element in our law and in our culture,’ Turnbull said at a media conference in early August.
LGBTI rights advocate and just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, called on the PM to condemn the poster. Croome wants the PM to ‘set out the parameters for respectful debate’.
‘The hate displayed in these posters will shock and disgust the overwhelming majority of Australians,’ he said.
‘We have long warned the Government that a plebiscite or postal vote on marriage equality would amplify extremist and hateful views – yet the Prime Minister assured us of a respectful debate.
‘It is now incumbent on the Prime Minister, who initiated the postal vote campaign, to take responsibility and denounce anti-LGBTI vilification like this poster.’
Croome said the government’s own Australian Institute for Family Studies (AIFS) has found children raised by same-sex couples have the same outcomes as other children, contradicting claims made in the poster.
‘Overall, research evidence indicates that children raised in same-sex parented families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as other children,’ the AIFS report said.