An outspoken pastor, a Chinese-Australian GP and an anti-Safe Schools campaigner are the three faces of the ‘No’ campaign against same sex marriage.
Heidi McIvor, Dr Pansy Lai and Cella White are the women who featured in the first anti-gay marriage advertisement which aired on Tuesday night.
In the Coalition for Marriage video, Ms McIvor, a pastor at a Victorian church, shared a story of children as young as 12 being asked to role play being in a same sex.
‘Kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being in a same sex relationship,’ she said, with an aghast look on her face.
Pictured: Church worship leader Heidi McIvor, who appears on the Coalition for Marriage’s new advertisement against same sex marriage
Ms McIvor is a married mother of two who lives in south-east Victoria (pictured with husband Julian)
Ms McIvor is a former media advisor to Family First senator Steve Fielding, who in 2009 likened same sex marriage to incest
Ms McIvor, a mother of two, is vocal about her thoughts on same sex marriage on Twitter.
She is a former media advisor to Family First senator Steve Fielding, who in 2009 likened same sex marriage to incest.
Friends took to social media to praise her appearance in the advertisement.
Victorian man Michael Hunt commended the Christian group she is affiliated with, Sale City Builders Church for its ‘ongoing political campaign against SSM’.
‘In particular, I would like to commend the efforts of Sale City Builders Church members Heidi McIvor for her ad and her husband, Julian McIvor, advertising manager for the [local paper], for publishing articles opposing SSM,’ he continued.
The outspoken Christian has also lobbied against abortion in Victoria (pictured)
Ms McIvor appeared aghast in the advertisement as she spoke of teenagers being asked to role play a same sex relationship
Another woman who appeared in the advertisement is Dr Pansy Lai, is a Chinese-Australian campaigner against same sex marriage and the controversial Safe Schools program, which aims to reduce bullying of gay, lesbian and transgender students.
The general practitioner and Christian from Sydney’s north – whose last name was misspelt as ‘Li’ in the TV advertisement – recently founded a group called the Australian Chinese for Families Association.
In previous interviews about Safe Schools, the medical professional has claimed the program discriminates against Chinese culture.
She told local newspaper The Northern District Times: ‘(The program) is promoting views on gender and sexuality that Chinese parents find extreme’.
In a promotional video for her campaign, she said she hated bullying but opposed Safe Schools out of ‘love’.
Dr Pansy Lai (pictured) is an outspoken advocate against Safe Schools, and says she does it out of ‘love’
Dr Lai recently founded a group called the Australian Chinese for Families Association
‘I was bullied when I first came to Australia and there were people who yelled across the playground to me and said ‘go back to where you came from’.
‘We don’t want any kids to be bullied, transgender kids, kids from ethnic backgrounds, we don’t want anyone to be bullied. But I’m just not sure if Safe School is the answer to that.’
In the advertisement aired on Tuesday, Dr Lai shares her concerns about programs like Safe Schools becoming more common.
‘When same sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory,’ she said.
The third woman in featured in the campaign is Cella White, who made headlines after pulling her children out of Frankston High School.
She told viewers her son was told he could wear a dress to school next year.
Ms White appeared on Q&A last year, where she elaborated on a story she told in Tuesday night’s advertisement about her son being offered the option to wear a dress to school
It is an issue she raised on ABC’s Q&A last year, claiming the 14-year-old was given the controversial option in science class.
‘I have no religious affiliation, but I believe it is biology that defines what sex you are, not radical gender theory,’ she said at the time.
‘I did not feel comfortable with my daughter sharing rest rooms or PE change rooms with the boys who wish to identify as girls and withdrew her enrolment into Year 7 this year.
‘Frankston High had told me they didn’t have any transgender children so I just thought it is a funny approach for people sitting there that don’t have that affliction.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms McIvor, Dr Lai and Ms White for comment.
The advertisement, which the Australian Christian Lobby claims costs $35,000 each night it airs, was seen for the first time on Tuesday night.
Organised by Coalition for Marriage, the 30 second advertisement features the three mothers, who argue potential adverse affects on their children if the legislation is passed.
Dr Pansy Lai says ‘when same sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory’ during her cameo on the advertisement
Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady has labelled the advertisement ‘disgraceful in its dishonesty’ news.com reports.
‘The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else,’ Mr Brady told the publication.
Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York argued against ‘radical’ LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs becoming mandatory in primary schools, like they had in Canada and the UK, in a statement.
‘Every day across the country, on social media, in coffee shops, in mothers’ groups and at BBQs, hundreds of thousands of parents are speaking to each other about the impacts of radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs,’ Ms York said.
Cella White (pictured above) explained her concern at her son’s school telling him ‘he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it’ during her appearance in the ad
Heidi McIvor expresses her worry of how ‘kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being a same sex relationship’
‘Millions of Australians are now concerned about the consequences of changing the Marriage Act.’
The campaign has the support of the Australian Christian Lobby, which believes: ‘Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids’ classroom.’
In an online post, the group wrote, ‘If same-sex marriage becomes law, parents will not have a leg to stand on if they don’t want their kids taught radical sex education, and gender ideologies.’
The advertisement is set to continue airing on national mainstream television networks and pay TV stations.
The campaign has the support of the Australian Christian Lobby, which believes: ‘Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids’ classroom’
There has been a diverse reaction to the ad on social media with some arguing it fails to address ‘real’ issues of same sex marriage, instead, making it a discussion about children and the Government’s Safe Schools program.
‘The strange thing is that the Same Sex Marriage vote has absolutely zero to do with children, yet our supposed Christian lobbyists have somehow made it about children,’ a Facebook user wrote.
Another agreed, writing: ‘What has the safe school programme got to do with the SSM debate?’.
Social media users were quick to weigh in on Coalition for Marriage’s new anti-gay marriage ad
A Twitter user accused the campaign of ‘scare mongering’ in schools, while another added how they didn’t think the ad was an accurate reflection of the beliefs of the majority of voters, calling it ‘humiliating.’
‘Sometimes I feel ashamed to call myself Australian,’ one disgruntled social media wrote.
Another pointed out the irony of the ad and its role in reminding viewers they have the option to be a ‘jerk’.
A Twitter user accused the campaign of ‘scare mongering’ in schools, while another added how they didn’t think the ad was an accurate reflection of the beliefs of the majority of voters, calling it ‘humiliating’
‘I love that the no campaign’s slogan is ‘You can say no’. Like, they know you shouldn’t but want you to know you can be a jerk if you want.’
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed the ad, calling it ‘offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families,’ the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
‘This is exactly what was predicted when Malcolm Turnbull decided to waste $122 million on a postal survey. He gave the green light to this rubbish,’ Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media.
Adding: ‘This is not freedom of speech. This is freedom to hurt. I just want to tell LGBTI families that they are not on their own. Most people know this is total rubbish.’
One Twitter user pointed out the irony of the ad and its role in reminding viewers they have the option to be a ‘jerk’, while another suggested Christians were scared of the LGBTI community