Opponents of gay marriage have been mocked by campaigners in favour of same-sex unions because of a photograph showing elderly people gathered at the front of a rally.
Supporters of the ‘Yes’ campaign to legalise same sex weddings in Australia posted caustic comments online about photographs taken at the weekend rally of opponents of the idea.
‘Do all the nonnas know why they’re even there? There must have been cake,’ one man wrote about photographs taken at the Coalition for Marriage’s Family Festival in south-west Sydney Sunday.
One man suggested the elderly people were angry, even though it was politicians from their era who discriminalised homosexuality across Australia.
‘It is a sea of old and bitter,’ he said.
Some 10,000 people gathered at Fairfield Showground for the event, which was organised to campaign against redefining marriage as part of the $122 million postal vote survey on the issue.
Photographs from the event showed a crowded event hall with many people holding signs that read: ‘You can say no.’
Many of the people in the foreground of the photograph were seated on plastic chairs, and appeared to be middle-aged or older.
‘No’ case event organisers had an innocent explanation for the lack of age diversity in the photograph.
‘The reason for the elderly being in the main image is both practical and cultural… there were limited numbers of seats, and so the older people were obviously seated,’ a Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman said on Monday.
‘Respect for the elderly is strong amongst ethnic communities, and so it is not uncommon that older generations are given the more prominent positions.
‘Photos taken from the front of the crowd would necessarily show older faces.’
The spokeswoman added that younger people, including many parents, had been busy taking their children to rides or helping out as event organisers.
‘So many of the younger people with young families were spread out in these areas,’ she said.
‘Additionally, many of the young attendees spent their time volunteering for crowd control, security, information stalls and the like.’
This ‘No’ rally had also attracted 10 times the number of people who gathered at Sydney’s Oxford Street gay district on Sunday to hear 1970s popstar John Paul Young, 67, perform his 39-year-old hit Love Is In The Air for the Post Your Yes Vote Street Party.
This 1,000-strong Darlinghurst event outside gay nightclubs didn’t have much outdoor seating.
The Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman said the criticism of the elderly people in the photograph was a reflection on their critics.
‘To be frank, criticism of an image showing the diversity of Australians in terms of age and ethnicity is just plain offensive,’ she said.
‘It’s extraordinary but somewhat unsurprising that those who purport to champion diversity would make such criticisms.’
Several people praised the elderly people for at least being skeptical of social change, ahead of the November 7 to return postal votes.
‘It’s so great to see the very young and the elderly coming together to defend marriage,’ one woman said.