A gay Australian couple became the butt of joke made by John Oliver on his US late-night talk show after saying that marriage was ‘not their cup of tea’.
Mark Poidevin, a man from Wollongong who has been in a committed relationship with partner Ben Rogers for 15 years, voiced his support for the ‘No’ campaign on the ABC ‘7:30 Report’ in September.
The couple told the program said that they want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, and even if same-sex marriage is legalised, they have no desire to walk down the aisle.
Gay couple Mark Poidevin and Ben Rogers have voiced their support for the ‘No’ campaign
Host John Oliver slammed the same-sex marriage survey as ‘dispiriting’ and ‘a waste of money’
And after a call from a US researcher when Mr Poidevin reaffirmed his remarks and added that he fully supports civil unions for same-sex couples, his divisive opinion ended up on ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’.
The comments were featured on an episode where the comedian and talk show host launched a blistering tirade over the ‘non-legally binding voluntary postal vote at a public cost of $120 million’.
Oliver described the survey as an ‘odd thing to do because polls already exist showing around two-thirds of Australians support it’ and the ‘weirdest waste of Australian money since every Baz Luhrmann movie ever made’.
Oliver attacked the ‘non-legally binding voluntary postal vote at a public cost of $120 million’
‘The weirdest waste of Australian money since every Baz Luhrmann movie ever made,’ he said
During the take-down, John Oliver quoted avowed Catholic Mr Poidevin: ‘If we make one exception for one community, that being the same-sex couples, where does it stop?
‘Do we then see other cultures being allowed to have multiple marriages? Do we see the age of consent being lowered for another group of minorities? That is my concern, of where it would lead.’
The couple were heavily criticised at the time by Australians, but the backlash died down until the Oliver segment bough them back into the spotlight.
Oliver then brought up the fact that Mr Poidevin had actually proposed to Mr Rogers five years ago, but was told by his partner that marriage ‘wasn’t for him’.
‘Two things, Ben, you are cold-blooded and Mark you can do so much better than him. You deserve someone who’s committed to you, as you are to them,’ Oliver said, to laughter and a huge round of applause.
But Mr Poidevin didn’t find it quite so funny, although they admitted to laughing when they first saw it.
Mr Poidevin and Mr Rogers were criticised for their ‘slippery slope’ argument on ‘7:30 Report’
The couple said that John Oliver was ‘ignorant’ but they didn’t expect him to be ‘intelligent’
Mr Poidevin told 9NEWS said Oliver’s take on their stance was the ‘total opposite’ of what was conveyed by the ABC piece.
‘Anyone who knows me in real life knows it’s a complete joke and that’s how we took it,’ Mr Poidevin said, adding they didn’t expect an ‘intelligent’ comment from Oliver.
‘He is a comedian. We were not expecting an amazingly intelligent presentation on the whole discussion. It’s just a late night TV show.’
He also slammed Oliver as ‘ignorant’, saying that people’s voices deserve to be heard, as long as they are respectful.
An in response to Oliver telling Mr Rogers that he can ‘do better’, Mr Poidevin said, ‘Ben and I have been together for more than 15 years and will be together in the next 15 – none of this has any bearing on our relationship.’
Mr Poidevin proposed to his partner 5 years ago, but Mr Rogers said marriage ‘wasn’t for him’
With more than 10 million votes returned, the ‘Yes’ campaign seems to be headed for victory
With twelve days left until the announcement of the results of the marriage equality survey, the ‘Yes’ campaign is reportedly in the lead.
The informal postal ballot is entirely advisory and non-binding, but will inform Australia MPs in when the issue goes to Parliament.
‘Today’s result shows that Australians clearly want this issue to be dealt with as quickly as possible,’ The Equality Campaign director Tiernan Brady told Star Observer on October 24.
‘We hope that a strong YES result will encourage Parliament to ensure marriage equality is a reality in Australia by Christmas.
Gay marriage supporters hold ‘Yes Equality’ signs ahead of the announcement on November 1