Anti Same Sex Marriage Billboard
Anti Same-Sex Marriage Billboard

A billboard erected by a Christian group has sparked anger amongst the Wynyard community in Tasmania.

An anti-same-sex marriage billboard has been erected in Wynyard, Tasmania which has been sponsored by some church groups.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome said:

“Church groups have every right to make their views known, but they also have an obligation to open their hearts to same-sex couples and listen to how exclusion from marriage hurts and disadvantages these couples and their families. Polls show 53% of Australian Christians support marriage equality and I believe this number will grow as more Christians come to see that many same-sex couples value marriage as much as they do.”

The sign was organised by Graham Hodge. Earlier this year Mr Hodge erected a similar sign in Camdale, Tasmania which was removed soon after.  He has said his design had been made freely available online.

“Since the Camdale sign was erected and allowed to remain for two days before loving and tolerant people vandalised it, the actual design, I am happy to say, has gone viral,” Mr Hodge said.

“The design has been made freely available online and is being used by Christian churches and groups who have had enough of the lies and deception about marriage from homosexual activists.”

Mr Croome called on community leaders in Wynyard to make it clear their town repudiates discrimination and prejudice.

“Following the erection of this sign, Wynyard will rapidly acquire a very negative reputation around the nation unless civic leaders make it clear their town welcomes everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from residents of Wynyard, and that some residents have already written to the local council with their concerns.

“I urge all those residents who are offended by this sign to make their concerns known to their local and state government representatives.”

The billboard has been erected in the main street of Wynyard west of Burnie. It features a male and a female symbol, an equals sign and then two interlocked gold rings. The text reads “Designed by God / Sponsored by Somerset and Wynyard Churches”

In response to this sign, one local has fought back with a sign of her own.  Eighteen-year-old Jocelyn Poke was not happy at all when she first saw the sign in her town and was offended by it.

Eighteen-year-old same-sex attracted Jocelyn Poke was upset when she discovered the sign on the corner of Goldie and Saunders streets, which depicted a male and female gender symbol and two wedding rings.

Poke and her partner Xyliah Walker posed for a photo with a sign which read  “love is love”. They posted this shot on Facebook and has received over 1500 likes.

In response to the sign being erected by Graham Hodge Poke said “It’s something that people have to drive past on the way to work, and for the people who are homosexual, it’s hard enough to come out, and now there is a big sign which makes it look like the town doesn’t agree,” she said.

“It’s a small town and the first thing you see is the sign on the shop – it’s not a reflection of the community. We can’t get married, we can’t get recognised as being an actual couple and this is a big kick in the guts It was not done to kick up a stink, but to put our point across that we do support marriage equality and not everyone in Wynyard is with Graham Hodge.”

Poke has been in touch with the council to lodge a complaint. The council said it was currently investigating the legalities of the sign.