Last night while thousands of people tuned in to watch SBS’s coverage of the Sydney 2015 Mardi Gras, there was an ad being shown on two opposing channels. Channel 7 and Channel 9 both aired an ad entitled “Think of the Child” about so called ‘equality for kids.’ This ad was delivered by the Australian Marriage Forum which is a group advocating that children who are ‘forced’ to ‘miss out’ on a mother or a father are not experiencing equality. The website is registered to the Australian Christian lobby.
If you haven’t seen the ad please watch below.
I first saw this ad this morning on social media and thought it must be a joke or maybe a throwback ad from the 1940s. I couldn’t believe that this was a real ad which was aired on commercial television in 2015. The fact that they aired it the one night of the year that the Mardi Gras is on, is, in my opinion, disrespectful and antagonistic.
Well done to SBS for refusing to air this ad, especially during their coverage of the Mardi Gras. Congratulations on putting people and morals above the almighty dollar.
This is an issue which is close to my heart. I have a lot of gay friends and I am an ally for the LGBTIQ community. I myself am Godmother to two beautiful children who have lesbian mums and a gay dad. I also know a lot of other same sex couples who are raising children and are doing so in solid and respectful family units.
The children from these families are some of the most well balanced, kind, caring, tolerant and most loved children I have ever seen.
And really, isn’t that all a child needs growing up? Love, guidance, kindness and someone to nurture them. It doesn’t matter if that child has same sex parents or a single parent or a foster or adopted parent or the grandparents are raising them, as long as they are loved and cared for that’s all that matters. Having both a mother and a father and being good parents are not mutually exclusive; one is not a precursor for the other.
This ad is offensive on so many levels. Not only does it imply that same sex parents are somehow inferior but it also makes sweeping generalisations about single parents. Children in Australia grow up in all sorts of situations; what if the parents divorced or if one died, what if they were never a couple to begin with. There are many different types of families in the world today and as long as the child’s needs are being met who is anyone to judge?
The harm this ad will do actually goes beyond the face value of the ad condemning the parents, it is also telling those children from same sex parents or single parents or orphanages or with carers or any other myriad of family units that somehow they are not equal. That they are inferior. That they have “missed out.” That they’ve been deprived a Mother and a Father. That this life has been “forced” upon them. And that is not right.
Ads like this make life harder for children of same sex parents who already face bigotry and prejudice in our world. The fact that their parents can’t get married is proof of that.
Having a male and a female parent does not guarantee that a child will be looked after and loved unconditionally. Take into account instances of abuse, rape, domestic violence; this ad would have us believe that none of that matters as long as there is both a mum and a dad. But being a good parent is not gender specific and just because you can make a child doesn’t mean you are good at raising them.
The family unit is ever evolving and changing. The days of Mum and Dad and 2.3 kids (remember that other annoying ad from the 80’s “And I’m the point threeee!”) is not the only family model out there anymore. It’s 2015 people!
Those who agree with this ad being aired and the beliefs behind it are using the argument of ‘freedom of speech.’ They are saying that people should be free to say what they like and that the opposing view to marriage equality should be heard. And I agree with that. I agree with freedom of speech. But not when it is homophobic, bigoted and just plain wrong. Not when it promotes intolerance and incites hatred.
So, in short, we should do as the ad says and “Think of the Child” and just let all parents get on with the all-important job of raising their own children.
To the people out there so intent on telling others how to live their lives; Live and let live. Your sun will still shine tomorrow.
One thing I know for sure is that my gay friends who are raising children, are bringing up kids who are tolerant, kind, non judgemental and accepting. And I think that’s one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to a child; and now, more than ever, to the world.
A change.org petition has been set up for people who would like this ad removed. If you are interested, you can sign by clicking the link.
Petition- Remove the “Think of The Child” ad
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