Marriage equality supporters have slammed a “hate-mongering” and “hurtful” pamphlet which has purportedly been produced by Wagga students supporting a no vote.
Printed on the back of the “Why Redefine Marriage” pamphlet, which has been left in regional letterboxes, is a line which reads “prepared by a group of students from Wagga Wagga NSW”, along with an email address.
Emails sent by The Daily Advertiser to this address have not been acknowledged, and there was no other claim on the pamphlet as to its authors, or whether it was really created in Wagga.
The pamphlet claims a change Australian law to allow same-sex marriage would hurt children and exploit foreign women as paid surrogate mothers.
“Same-sex marriage really does affect children. A child is being placed in a non-ideal situation, simply to satisfy the desires of two adults,” the pamphlet reads.
According to the material in the pamphlet, children raised by same-sex couples will grow up without knowing at least one of their biological parents.
The pamphlet also reproduced claims that freedom of religion and speech would be threatened by legalising same-sex marriage in the postal vote, for which ballots are now being sent.
“This would affect a great number of our schools and health care systems,” it reads.
For Holly Conroy, a former president of Rainbow Riverina, a social and support network for the LGBTIQ community and their family and friends, the claims made in the pamphlet were hurtful.
“I often wonder where some people get their ideas and concepts from,” Ms Conroy said.
“Even though I have every confidence it will happen, this stuff hurts.’
Addressing some of the claims made in the pamphlet, Ms Conroy said same-sex couples were already raising children.
She also said that marriage, as it is recognised today, is already different to that of ancient times.
“People are trying to make this debate all about hate. I don’t know why,” she said.
Ms Conroy said the feedback she was getting from the community was mostly supportive of a ‘yes’ vote.
“It’s only going to effect the people who want to get married,” she said.
Rainbow Riverina’s communications officer Kat van der Wijngaart said she “didn’t know where to start” in trying to refute the claims raised in the pamphlet.
“This is going into people’s letterboxes. How many kids would check the letterbox and find that in there,” she said.
"It just feeds the hate and the fear-mongering.
“This is so hurtful. We have been trying to promote an informed conversation.”