Australia’s anti-gay marriage activists ‘trying to dehumanise’ gay people

The head of Australia’s equal marriage campaign has accused opponents of running a concerted effort to “dehumanise” gay people.

The country is preparing for a public vote on same-sex marriage, after right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pushed forward with plans for a postal vote on the issue.

Ahead of the vote, the tactics of the ‘No’ campaign has come under fire with campaigners claiming that letting same-sex couples marry is ‘political correctness’ and ‘radical gender theory’, as well as nonsensically branding the issue ‘transgender marriage’.

Meanwhile campaign materials from the anti-LGBT Australian Marriage Forum describe equal marriage as “stealing children” from straight people.

Speaking at the National Press Club this week, the head of the Equality Campaign has accused the No side of “dehumanising” gay people.

Anti-gay marriage posters

Anti-gay marriage tactics seen during Ireland’s plebiscite are being replicated in Australia (Photo by Getty Images)According to Buzzfeed, equal marriage campaign chief Tiernan Brady said: “It becomes frustrating, too, because, of course, our opponents are out there and they are active and what’s so similar to Ireland as it is here is you can just see it is the same rule book here as it was in Ireland.

“If you want to discriminate against someone, the first thing you have to do is dehumanise them, you have to stop allowing people to realise this is a ‘who’, not a ‘what’ and start pretending it is a strange idea in the corner.

“We have seen that over the last few weeks here in Australia. References to ‘political correctness’, ‘political elites’ and ‘culture wars’.

“That’s all a very clever strategy because it’s all about making us not look like people, to start thinking of it as an alien idea.”

As the postal vote is set to go ahead without Parliamentary approval, it will not be subject to the laws that govern elections – including those that restrict misleading campaign materials.

The vote will be carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which means it will not be regulated under Commonwealth Electoral Act rules.

LGBT campaigners have warned that this means that the anti-gay marriage campaign will be essentially free to peddle outright mistruths and homophobic smears with little recourse when the vote goes ahead.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the PM: “I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash – not because the Prime Minister has said it, not because he agrees to it, he clearly doesn’t. But because the Prime Minister has licensed this debate.”

The government does not plan to publish a draft of the equal marriage bill before asking the public to vote on it.

This week the country’s High Court rejected a legal challenge against the vote.