As thousands of people celebrated the LGBTI community on the streets of Sydney over the weekend, an anti same-sex marriage advertisement was broadcast on two of Australia's major television networks.
While SBS decided against the broadcast during Mardi Gras, the 43-second TV ad aired on Channel 7 and 9 while the parade was underway and shows a mother sitting at a playground table with her young daughter while her husband and son play on a slide in the background, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"We hear a lot about marriage equality, but what about equality for kids?" the woman says.
The advertisement also features David van Gend, the president of the Australian Marriage Forum and a family doctor, who is described on-screen only as a "family doctor".
"So-called marriage equality forces a child to miss out on a mother or a father," Dr van Gend says. "That's not equality for the kids who miss out. That's not marriage."
The ad was part of the Forum's campaign opposing same-sex marriage, called "Think of the Child".
The advertisement triggered a social media backlash, with a Change.org petition set up to remove the ad from television.
Australian Marriage Forum airs out of touch ad, driven by irrational homophobic prejudice. The Ad insults far more than the gay community.— Scott Norton Taylor (@norton_scott) March 8, 2015
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, said: "Same-sex couples make excellent parents, and the children of same-sex couples deserve the right to have married parents.
"I would like to dismiss the ads as being on the fringe of public opinion and clearly not representative of the way in which a strong majority of Australians support the LGBTI [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex] community, but I think we also can't underestimate the damage that these ads can do to vulnerable LGBTI people."