The first television advertisement campaigning for a 'no' vote in the upcoming same sex marriage plebiscite has aired across the country overnight and has been met with heavy backlash from equality advocates and high-profile politicians.
The 30-second ad, organised by Coalition for Marriage, features three mothers highlighting their concerns about how changes to the Australian marriage law will affect their kids in the classroom.
"School told my son, he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it," one mother said in the clip. Another claims Year 7 students are being encouraged to role play being in a same sex relationship.
The ad ends with the bold statement of "You can say no".
Not surprisingly, equality advocates have come out swinging, labelling the advert "disgraceful" and "dishonest", while Labor leader Bill Shorten has told Fairfax Media the ad is "hurtful to LGBTQI Australians and their families". Social media users have also slammed it for "scaremongering" in schools.
On the Coalition for Marriage Facebook page and website, they claim the 'YES' campaign is an "attack on free speech" and "removing gender from marriage laws, means removing gender from the classroom".
"This ad will play an important role in helping Australians understand that saying ‘yes’ to gay marriage would mean saying ‘yes’ to radical gay sex education in schools," the group said in a statement.
"Same-sex marriage is a package deal that will lead to more gender-bending, politically correct programs like “Safe Schools”."