Rainbow Families NSW has told a Parliamentary Committee what it was like being at the pointy end of the marriage equality debate last year, in a submission to the Inquiry into Arrangements for the Postal Survey. 
 
The Inquiry was established to examine the process of the postal survey, including the Parliament’s protections against offensive, misleading or intimidating material or behaviour, especially towards affected communities.
 
Rainbow Families co-chair Vanessa Gonzalez, said that postal survey was a tough time for many in our community, particularly parents of young children who were exposed to leaflets, advertising and discussions that painted our families in an extremely negative light.
 
“Even though the Parliament enacted protections against vilification, and to ensure that advertising aligned with existing electoral law, those protections were not enough to safeguard our families from ending up on the frontline of a divisive debate that caused great harm to many in our community.
 
“Once the door was opened to this debate by the Government it was our families ended up on the frontline.”
 
Co-Chair Mat Howard said that “When the idea of a plebiscite was raised, Rainbow Families campaigned against a divisive public poll, precisely because when marriage equality was debated in France, Ireland, the US and UK, the children of same-sex couples became the focus of some hurtful statements and campaigns. 
 
“We did not want that to happen here. And we do not want it to happen to any group ever again. 
 
Rainbow Families submission is comprised of the very real experiences of our community and includes stories of: 
 
·         Families who received flyers stating that homosexuality is “the curse of death”
 
·         Families who received homophobic letters from neighbours
 
·         People who were barraged with hateful discriminatory messages on social media from friends and family, saying that same sex couples are in the same category as paedophiles, bestiality and polygamy.
 
·         Parents exposed to negative advertising from No campaign targeting their kids and parenting.
 
·         The impact on children who were bullied at school because of the messages other children were receiving about LGBTIQ families.

Download a copy of the submission

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