Dr David van Gend, President of the Australian Marriage Forum, wrote in Queensland's Courier Mail newspaper this week about the censorship and demonisation faced by those who defend a child's right, where possible, to both a mother and father.
TO SAY a baby needs a mother would once have been considered a motherhood statement. Not now. If you are more “radical” and say “children have an equal right, wherever possible, to both a mum and a dad” and turn that into a 30 second TV ad, you will be banned by the government broadcaster, your personal Facebook with years of memories and pictures will be shut down without explanation and you risk being attacked by a columnist in the largest newspaper in Queensland.
We in the Australian Marriage Forum think the public debate on marriage needs to focus more on the rights of the child than the demands of adults. So we developed an advertising campaign, which is one way free citizens argue their case, and launched the first TV ad on Channels 7 and 9 in Sydney Saturday a week ago as the mardi gras parade got under way.
We did that because the parade is a protest rally, and “marriage equality” is one of its themes. Our ad was a gentle counter-protest, pointing out that so-called “marriage equality” forces a child to miss out on a mother or a father and that’s not “equality” for the kids who miss out.
Of course some kids already miss out on a mum or a dad, through the death or desertion of a parent, and many single parents I know do a remarkable job. But nobody wants a child to miss out. Laws for same-sex marriage make it impossible, ever, for a child to have both a mother and a father. Is that fair?
SBS TV confirmed on February 17 that our ad would be shown during its telecast of the mardi gras parade. Then on the day before the parade, SBS announced they were not going to broadcast our ad, breaking their contract with no reason given.
Is SBS an activist organisation or a neutral broadcaster? It had its own float in the parade and encouraged its employees to march. It broadcast hours of the mardi gras with its “marriage equality” float and other political themes, but banned our 30 second ad with its opposing viewpoint.
This is censorship of free speech on a matter of public importance. SBS is funded by people on both sides of the marriage debate and has no right to use its power to silence the side it doesn’t like.
Meantime, other enemies of free speech were at work this week. Some 15,000 signed a change-org petition to have our ad — with its half million views in just four days — taken off YouTube. And on Tuesday an unknown number succeeded in having my personal Facebook page, a treasury of private memories, “disappeared”. This again, like SBS, is the strategy of silencing any message you don’t want to hear.
Equally important to this strategy is demonising the messenger. So last week Paul Syvret, in his weekly column in this paper, turned a blow torch on the AMF ad but also me personally. It was puzzling to read in his diatribe that I am “anti-stem cell research”, given that I am the longstanding spokesman for Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research and interesting to be told that I am “anti-Islam”, given that I have written respectfully on the distinction between Islamic faith and the Islamist death cult. It was also irritating to see my critique of the “cult-like” terrifying of children by Deep Green propaganda falsely conflated with my views on climate science itself. I was also labelled homophobic, which I am not. I am anti-gay marriage. Full marks to Syvret for breadth of invective, all for my “offence” of defending a child’s right, wherever possible, to both a mum and a dad.
By all means let’s disagree about same-sex marriage and argue our case, because that’s what free people do in a free society. But it is time for the side with all the media power to stop censoring, silencing and demonising the rest of us.
David van Gend is a GP and President of the Australian Marriage Forum.