SEAMUS West says he is hurt and offended by an anti same-sex marriage pamphlet that has been distributed among letter boxes in Ballarat.
The 18-year-old bisexual Ballarat man received his letter in the mail yesterday.
“I was expecting it to happen because I had been warned by my friends – but I was still shocked and appalled when it actually happened,” he said.
The pamphlet was distributed by local surgeon Frederick (Peter) Denton.
On one side of the pamphlet, it shows a sad young girl. It says, “Catherine King voted for same-sex-marriage, but man-woman marriage is special because ‘I need my Mum and Dad.’ When you vote, put Catherine King last”.
The other side says, “Same-sex marriage will mean same-sex education in kindergartens and schools” with a picture of a black board listing same-sex marriage, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual under a sex education heading.
“Same-sex marriage, children and education are three completely different things. It doesn’t make sense,” Mr West said.
But the pamphlet stating children needed a mum and dad particularly upset him, as he has a gay uncle who has adopted twin boys.
“I hate the statement ‘I need my mum and dad’, because I know my uncle and his partner are such good parents,” he said.
Mr West travels to Melbourne every weekend because he feels safer and not as out-of-place.
“I get abuse and threats down the street in Ballarat from people I don’t know,” he said.
Mr West said he realised his sexuality when he was very young, but didn’t come out until he was 15.
“The fact they’ve put this in my mail is like rubbing it in people’s faces – they’ve sent it to my home.”
Mr West posted a status on Facebook after he received the leaflet: “To whoever wrote this, it is time to stop living in the dark ages and adapt to something called the 21st century.”
Mr West said he felt like the leaflet was bullying in a way.
“We want to live in a society that embraces diversity, not just tolerates it,” he said.
“Everyone has the democratic right to have their say – but this makes out the LGBT community are evil in a way.”
The leaflet was briefly discussed at yesterday’s Commerce Ballarat election forum when Greens candidate Stephanie Hodgins-May said she was disappointed by the hate campaign raised against our gay community.
“I really thought that Ballarat was beyond this,” Ms Hodgins-May said.
All the political candidates contacted by The Courier yesterday said they weren’t involved.