Wade Kelly and Philip Paschke have a message for conservative columnist Keith Wheeler: “Go and meet a gay person”.
It comes as a storm erupts over a controversial column penned by Mr Wheeler, published in Monday’s edition of The Daily Advertiser, which appears to link same-sex marriage to a rise in HIV/AIDS.
The Advertiser has since been inundated with letters and posts on social media critical of the opinion piece.
Mr Kelly - who married Mr Paschke in his home country of Canada - was concerned the content of the column would have adverse effects on the city’s gay youth.
“I just feel sorry for him (Mr Wheeler),” he said.
“People have a right to their opinion, but their opinion needs to be based in fact. I know the impact this kind of misinformation can have on youth and children - and it’s dangerous.”
The column said the legalisation of same-sex marriage would “encourage” homosexuality.
It implored the revival of the “Grim Reaper” HIV/AIDS awareness campaign of the 80s as a “reminder of the consequences of homosexual sex”.
Mr Kelly said there was no evidence that linked the rate of HIV/AIDS to same-sex marriage.
“When Canada legalised gay marriage in 2005, it happened so quickly and rapidly that most of us don’t even remember the debate,” he said.
“The sky did not fall in. We still have a functional government, there is still religious freedom and there are churches that endorse and support same-sex marriage.”
PFLAG Wagga, which advocates for the city’s LGBTQ community, condemned the column as out of step with fair-minded Australians.
“One person does not knock the wind out of our sails,” publicity officer Mandy Crocker said.
“Most fair-minded Australians believe that this is our future and that everyone should be valued in our community regardless of their sexual orientation. These people deserve our support and not our ridicule.”
Mr Wheeler stands by the piece and said the “majority” of the Riverina community were not in favour of same-sex marriage.
“(Riverina MP) Michael McCormack would be hearing this message loud and clear,” he said.
“I fully appreciate that genuinely gay couples need to have a legal bond … but I don’t understand that having decided they are different from the rest of the community, they feel the word 'marriage’ – which has a special meaning – has to be attributed to them.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.