Australia’s marriage equality debate has a new talking point with a controversial new ‘vote no’ television advertisement causing strong reactions across Twitter and other social media.
Aired on Australian television networks on Tuesday, the Coalition for Marriage-commissioned advertisement depicts three Australian mothers divulging concerns about school programming, especially in relation to LGBTQI inclusive programs like Australia’s Safe Schools, if marriage equality becomes legal.
With 98K views on writing (with 426 upvotes and 2,000 downvotes), the ad is currently the third highest trending video on YouTube in Australia, sitting beneath only Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video and Katy Perry’s ‘Swish Swish’ video. Of course, the comments are disabled on the video.
Unsurprisingly, the ad didn’t go down too well. Many Australians flooded Twitter with less than enthusiastic reactions to the ad.
I want to know why the Coalition for Marriage is allowed to broadcast an ad that is manifestly incorrect and misleading. How is that legal?
— sarah mayberry (@MayberrySarah) August 29, 2017
wait did an anti gay marriage ad really play on my tv right now, channel 9 what the fuck
— aleks@QCSdistress (@captainbrie) August 29, 2017
Just saw the first vote no on same sex marriage ad on tv.. some of the stuff said was ridiculous.
— Mel 🌈 (@Mel_Johnson_01) August 29, 2017
THEY DISABLED THE COMMENTS ON THAT VOTE NO AD BECAUSE EVERYONE WAS COMMENTING THAT IT WAS BULLSHIT AHAHHAHAHAHAH
— Kate (@hardboiledkate) August 30, 2017
The ‘vote no’ ad comes amid a hotly contested debate over marriage equality in Australia. Conversation picked up in 2004, when an amendment to the 1964 Marriage Act was made by former Prime Minister John Howard, which stated, “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” Since then, a casual 22 bills dealing with marriage equality have been introduced into Australia’s federal parliament and failed.
Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in Australia, even though, according to Australian Marriage Equality, 72 percent of Australians support it. Marriage equality is legal in 23 countries around the world right now, including Australia’s next door neighbour, New Zealand.
Most recently, Australia’s government tried to push its marriage equality plebiscite (a public vote on an issue which doesn’t affect the country’s constitution) through parliament — and failed twice in the past two years.
So, instead Australians will be sent a voluntary postal survey to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for marriage equality in September, but this will be a non-binding, non-compulsory survey run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (not the Electoral Commission). A ‘Yes’ vote will result in a conscience vote in Australian federal parliament, while a ‘No’ result will see no government vote at all take place.
The future remains uncertain for marriage equality in Australia, and you can probably expect more ads like this to come.