On Tuesday evening the first anti same-sex-marriage ad from the ‘No’ campaign was aired on national television. In the 30-second-long commercial, three women spoke about their concerns with how the Australian school system could change if marriage equality is legalised.
Here, we break down and fact-check the claims that were made in the commercial.
"School told my son he could wear a dress if he felt like it."
The first concern raised in the anti same-sex marriage ad comes from Victorian mother Cella White, who says that Australian schools are now relaxing their dress codes and allowing boys to wear skirts and dresses - traditionally seen as girl's clothing - should they wish to.
This claim was also raised by White in 2016 when she appeared on ABC's Q&A program and said she had since removed her son from the school in question. The school, however, adamantly denies that any message of that kind was ever relayed to students.
Given that school uniform regulations and dress codes are set by school councils, not state or federal governments, this claim from White could well be true, however, what is not noted is that parents are entitled to petition decisions made by the school council.
No issue was raised in the ad about girls wearing pants and shorts - traditionally seen as boy's clothing.
It appears that White believes that the legalisation of marriage equality and the curriculum of her child's school are linked, something that no evidence supports.
"When same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this kind of program becomes widespread and compulsory."
According to Sydney GP and anti same-sex marriage campaigner Dr Pansey Lai, "this kind of program becomes widespread and compulsory" after same-sex marriage laws are passed. Which program she's referring to is unclear, but given its high profile in the media throughout the past year, it's fair to assume she's talking specifically about Safe Schools - an opt-in program that offers free educational and teaching resources to Australian schools that wish to educate students about same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people.
As stated above, it seems that both White and Lai are talking about the Safe Schools program, not same-sex marriage.
Listen: Mamamia is proud to support marriage equality.
"In countries with gay marriage, parents lose their right to choose."
What parents will and are losing their right to choose about it unclear.
It could refer to the previous two points about what their children can wear to school or what their children learn within schools, but as previously noted, if a parent is unhappy with their child's school uniform options they are able to either petition the school council, refuse to purchase certain items of the school uniform, or withdraw their child from the school specifically. Similarly, if a child's school is teaching a Safe Schools program, parents are able to petition the school to not do so, or again, withdraw their child from the school should they wish.
"Kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being in a same-sex relationship."
This claim comes from Victorian pastor and mother-of-two Heidi McIvor, and at best seems anecdotal. Mamamia reached out to the Australian Christian Lobby and the Coalition for Marriage to confirm the facts of this claim but we received no response.
"We have a choice."
This is factually correct. You do have a choice, and you'll be able to exercise that right from September 12. Additionally, thanks to privacy laws in Australia, you're completely at liberty to withhold your view on same-sex marriage should you wish.
"You can say no."
This is also factually correct. You can say no to same-sex marriage should you wish.
Mamamia is proud to support marriage equality and as such, will not republish the 'No' campaign's ad, however, a copy can be viewed in full here.