Money shouldn’t buy airtime for a message like this, especially on a night that is about celebration.
Last night, while Sydney celebrated our LBGTQI community at the annual Mardi Gras, an outrageous advertisement was aired on Australian commercial television.
The advertisement, which aired on Channels 7 and 9, claimed that same-sex marriage would mean children “miss out on a mother and father.” It implied that this equated with oppression, and suffering for the chillden of gay and lesbian parents.
The ad was sponsored by the Australian Marriage Forum, and asked viewers “You hear about marriage equality a lot, but what about equality for kids?”
The timing of the advertisement was no accident.
It was deliberately televised during the Mardi Gras parade, in an effort by the Australian Marriage Forum to draw maximum attention from and deliberately provoke the LBGTQI community and their supporters.
Sydney’s Mardi Gras is as rare a celebration, as it is wonderful.
It is the largest parade of its type in the world and an acknowledgement of the diversity, the intelligence, the creativity, the joy and yes the love, within our gay and lesbian community.
To use the biggest day of celebration within the Australian gay and lesbian community to make a political point that is deeply hurtful and insulting to that very community, is appalling.
Sadly, it is behaviour expected of the Australian Marriage Forum, closely associated with the Reverend Fred Niles, whose bigoted views are well known.
But for Channel 7 and 9 to take money to run the advertisement, particularly on such a terribly important night for the gay and lesbian community, is surprising and incredibly disappointing.
SBS, who broadcast the parade, refused to run the 43 second advertisement that points the finger at the children of gay and lesbian Australians, suggesting that their lives are somehow lesser because of their parents sexuality. Other networks did the same.
And rightly so.
Congratulations to those networks which refused to run this offensive material at a time designed to maximise hurt and insult. It’s a shame that dollars won out over respect, for the decision makers at Channels 7 and 9 this week.