By Paul Dobbyn
AUSTRALIAN Marriage Forum president Dr David van Gend knew the organisation had hit “a raw nerve” in the same-sex marriage debate when a YouTube advertisement on the issue attracted 100,000 views in its first day.
The 30-second advertisement also caused a furore when it ran on Channels Seven and Nine in Sydney at the same time as the Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade was starting on March 7.
SBS TV had confirmed a booking to broadcast the ad during its exclusive telecast of the Mardi Gras Parade, and the deposit had been paid, but SBS management notified AFM on March 6 that it was not going to run the ad during the Mardi Gras.
There was no explanation given, with the email from SBS stating, “we choose not to run this TVC for the Marriage Forum during the Mardi Gras telecast”.
Dr van Gend took issue with an SBS decision not to run the advertisement.
“Although funded by taxpayers on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, SBS has taken sides on the issue of same-sex marriage and censored one side of the debate,” the Toowoomba-based GP (pictured) said.
“So here we have SBS broadcasting hours of the Mardi Gras protest march, free of charge, with its ‘Australian Marriage Equality’ float and other political themes.
“Yet the station refused to show less than one minute of the AFM-paid ad presenting an opposing view.”
Dr van Gend said the rights of the child were at the heart of the AFM’s multimedia campaign, Think of the Child, which aims to present the child-centred case against the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
“At present the debate is all about rights and demands of the adults,” he said.
“In the advertisement, I say that if equality for adults means inequality for kids, where’s the justice in that?”
Dr van Gend said the mother-child bond was the deepest relationship in human life.
“In the AFM advertisement, I point out laws allowing same-sex marriage would deny children even the possibility of relationship with his or her biological mother … or father,” he said.
“The creation of marriage without a woman is the creation by law of families without a mother. That is bad public policy.”
He denied allegations that the advertisement discriminated against same-sex couples.
“Nobody is questioning the competence of two lesbian women to raise a child but neither of them can be a dad to a little boy or girl,” he said.
“Similarly two men in a same-sex relationship may be fine citizens but they cannot guide a growing girl into womanhood the way a mother can.”
Dr van Gend also responded to claims by national director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, the advertisements discriminated against the children of same-sex couples.
“As I understand it, Mr Croome was saying that the only way to stop discrimination against these children is to pass laws allowing same-sex marriage,” he said.
“His proposed radical change to the nature of marriage is a very gross overreaction to an alleged problem of self-confidence in some children. There are other ways to help those children; we don’t overturn the foundational institution of society as a form of ‘therapy’.”
Dr van Gend was to be interviewed on the SBS show The Feed on March 9.
More advertisements are planned in the campaign, and views of the AFM’s first campaign advertisement on YouTube passed the 376,000 mark on the third day.
“Our hope is this and other ads will give moral support to the sensible middle of society who knows children need a mum and a dad,” Dr van Gend said.
“Another great hope is that Churches will use our ads on their websites to talk of the rights of the child in sermons, youth groups and so on.
“If Christians, and other people of good will, abandon the truth of marriage and family, our culture will be lost.”
What the Church teaches on marriage
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part II, Section Two, Chapter 3
1603 The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.
The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.
Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.
These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics.
Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures.
The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.