Anti-LGBTQ protesters claim that if Australia legalizes same-sex marriage, they should be allowed to marry animals and children.
Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network interviewed marchers with the Party for Freedom, an Australian offshoot of the Dutch nationalist political party founded by far-right leader Geert Wilders. Ahead of a final vote in the country’s non-binding plebiscite, the group claims that marriage equality will lead Australia “down a slippery slope.”
“We’re just repeating the slogans of the gay movementthat all love is equal,” says Party for Freedom’s Jeff Pryor. “Love is love. So if love is love, I want to marry my child.”
“The right should extend to gay marriage, so why shouldn’t it extend to polygamous relationships?” asks fellow member Nick Falks, dressed in a white robe, a gold chain, and dark sunglasses during the broadcast. “Why shouldn’t it extend to bestiality? Where does it end?”
Marchers parade around with signs reading “Why Can’t I Marry My Goat?” during the four-minute long segment, which was aired on CBN this Wednesday.
The televangelist news networkwhich also airs Robertson’s infamous talk show, The 700 Clubinterviews Bill Muehlenberg, a right-wing commentator who has blamed Charles Darwin for the rise of Adolf Hitler. Muehlenberg claims that the passage of same-sex marriage in Australia will lead to the normalization of an LGBTQ agenda.
“A lot of people don’t know just how serious this is,” he says. “The so-called Safe Schools program, which is really a pro-homosexual program for our young children, all of this is a package deal.”
“If you get homosexual marriage, you’ll get all these other bits thrown in,” Muehlenberg continues.
The Safe Schools program is a surprisingly controversial government-backed initiative which promotes LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in K-12 environments. The program has been a frequent target of anti-equality campaigners, who liken it to propaganda. An October ad from the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage took aim at language from Safe Schools literature in South Australia telling students that “penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex.”
Mullenberg says that Australia’s children aren’t the only ones who will beharmed by legalizing same-sex marriage. He claims that the fabric of society is torn apart.
“Everything changes when you change the definition of marriage,” he tells CBN reporter Lucille Talusan. “It’s a whole complete change to your culture, it’s a change to your children and how they’ll grow up. The words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are taken out of the vocabulary because it’s seen as discriminatory.”
Early polls show that the “No” campaign toblock same-sex marriage is trailing far behind. An October tracking survey from the Guardian Essential Pollfound that 60 percent of those who had already cast a ballotin the referendum voted “Yes.”
The full results will be announced on Nov. 15. The final vote will advise Parliamentarians on whether to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex unions.
Despite the outcome, “No” campaigners call the vote a “blessing in disguise.”
“I’ve never seen the church in Australia be as active on any issue as this one,” Pastor Daniel Nalliah says. “Australia has proven that there are thousands of people who are standing up right now and saying: ‘This is not right. We want marriage to be kept between a man and a woman.’”
“Under our watch, we will not let the next generation slip away,” he continues. “We will stand and fight to the end.”
Ballots in the plebisciteare due by the Nov. 7 cutoff, but tracking indicates that the referendum is already drawing a record turnout. Following abrutal campaignin which gay couples’ houseswere targeted with graffiti and feces, more than 77 percent of the eligible votershave turned in their ballots.
Photography: Win McNamee/Getty Images