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Exclusive: Regulator to assess claim Coalition for Marriage ad ‘misleads’ readers

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  1. Been in touch with ASA and they are taking my complaint forward.

    Basically, I don’t believe that the 70% who answered the statement on the ComRes poll will agree with what this advertisement is inferring.

    They changed the phrasing and the meaning significantly.

    1. gino meriano 3 Apr 2012, 2:45pm

      I agree and unsure to the possible hidden agenda here

  2. Such a shame that haven’t been able to amass a similar amount of signatories yet, even just to be able to show the amount of people in the UK who are in support of equal marriage!

    Then again, the chances are this is because equality advocates never seem to have the same amount of money at their disposal when compared to the Church and right wing Muppets who are still stuck in the 50’s!

    I really don’t understand how equality threatens anyone or how anyone can have the mindset to try and block it.

    Perhaps the money going to pay for misleading adverts could be diverted to a fund to pay for the counseling of their own issues.

    1. Well said.

      LGBT groups need to push this, it’s the most significant win in gay rights for years and there’s just not enough noise about it.

      Stonewall have apparently made a viral video (Ben S tweeted about it), but it’s yet to emerge.

    2. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 3:28pm

      Most of those people now signing c4m petition don’t live in the UK so therefore their petition is invalid and the web-stats don’t add up. It looks like they are manually adding names to the petition.

      When the petition comes to an end, I for one will be calling for the Police to investigate.
      Hey PN nice pic by the way!

      1. You will need a strong evidence to get the police to investigate them

      2. @Craig

        Information crime is the remit of the Information Commissioner (Usually not the police).

        They are already looking at the petition I understand. However, anyone else with concerns should contact them.

    3. “I really don’t understand how equality threatens anyone”. It’s really very simple, Emma – it doesn’t!! Bloody Xtians!!!

      1. That was supposed to be a smile!


        1. heheheheheh Works for me, babe :D xx

    4. GingerlyColors 4 Apr 2012, 6:51am

      Please don’t insult the Muppets! Kermit the Frog is married to Miss Piggy so how on earth can they be against marriage equality if an amphibian is allowed to marry porcine farmyard livestock!

  3. Staircase2 3 Apr 2012, 2:55pm

    …Someone should do a new poster with pictures of LGBT partnerships saying ‘And So Do I”

    1. Absolutely! xx

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 3:13pm

      And a contrasting video highlighting the real threat to marriage, i.e. serial adulterers and their serial marriages, using Sir Roger Gale as one classic example of hypocrisy and bigotry.

      1. And that luntaic MP for Thanet, not forgetting celebrities who have been married many times e.g. Liz Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor to name a few!

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 4:17pm

          The lunatic from Thanet is the one I mentioned above, Sir Roger Gale. He’s not alone, there are many others.

        2. Conspectus 4 Apr 2012, 1:30am

          Elizabeth Taylor was much married, she was however a true champion of LGBT rights and did a very great deal for people suffering with AIDS. She does not deserve to be placed in the company of homophobes because she was the furthest thing from being one.

  4. Thanks for this great journalism, PN.

    Have submitted a complaint to the ASA and they have said they will investigate.

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 3:09pm

    The controversial ComRes poll itself asked respondents whether they agreed with the statement: “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.

    Life-long commitment? Well, why doesn’t it mention the heterosexual serial adulterers and their serial marriages? If there’s any detriment to marriages, its them, not gay couples having a civil marriage. If anything, we’ll strengthen marriage. It’s good for the country and good for the economy.

    I believe C4EM are also working on a video but not sure if that’s in tandem with StonewallUK’s. Videos in support of equal marriage are vital Man of them helped win marriage equality in several American states. New York was a brilliant example. Stonewall needs to engage our straight celebrities, have them participate, every bit helps, especially straight allies.

  6. The advert says: “70% of people say keep marriage as it is”

    70% of respondents agreed to the ComRes poll statement “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.

    How is this add misleading? If anything its the poll that is technically flawed in that it is not specific enough.

    1. Firstly, it’s factually inaccurate. If this was an advert campaigning for the end and criminalisation of divorces and adultery and marriage indeed being a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman” then there would be no issue on that front.

      Secondly, it’s misleading in the sense that the question posed to those “surveryed” was flawed, the details of which can be found on here on previous articles. How can a question be used to oppose something when the question neither asks “Do you oppose” or mentions the group the question is supposed to oppose?

      1. Add reflects the poll’ findings. C4M is not responsible for validity of the poll ran by legitimate pollster company

        1. They are responsible for ensuring that the data they quote in their advertising is not misleading, not inaccurate, and does not use poor methodology or dubious analysis.

          If they do not take the responsibility of doing this, then they are misleading people.

          Thats exactly what they are doing – misleading people.

          But, then the anti gay Institute likes to lie.

          1. Data in the ad is not misleading because accurately reports poll’s finding

          2. It is pointless to try to explain to “me” why the advert is misleading. Not enough neurons in his/her brain.

        2. I’m not discussing the validity of the poll, that’s been done already. But their article clearly states “70% of people* say keep marriage as it is”. If this country permits divorce/adultery and does not punish those who take part in either activity then marriage cannot be defined as a life-long commitment. Therefore their article(and the poll) is not just factually inaccurate, but an outright lie, and that’s not down to the polling company, but the company that wrote this article. Nowhere in law does it state once a couple are married then that’s it, they’re committed until they die.

          1. I didnt know poll was officialy discredited prior C4M campaign. Can you post the link to an official investigation

          2. I have posted a story explaining in detail why the methodology to this poll has been demonstrated to be dubious, elsewhere in these comments. That story precedes the C4M use of the poll. Clearly you have chosen not to read the story, “me” … I suggest you do.

          3. @ stu

            This forum is not a legitimate body to decide whether poll is dubious or otherwise, your finding has no any bearing on validity of the poll

          4. @me

            If this forum is not a legitimate forum to discuss whether the poll is dubious or not (which I dispute and will address in a moment) then it would also be inappropriate for you to specifically ask (and I quote) “I didnt know poll was officialy discredited prior C4M campaign. Can you post the link to an official investigation” – which clearly sounds like you discussing the validity of the poll on this very forum.

            Its not my findings, but the findings of an eminent statistician, various investigative journalists and an eminent lawyer. I have read their comments and find them convincing – perhaps you can demonstrate the validity of the poll and how you came to determine that the methodology was unbiased?

            Personally, I think it is inappropriate to use rhetoric on these comments when you can not give evidence to sustain your position “me”, which is precisely what you are doing.

            This comments forum is about the misleading of the C4M, which is due to the dubious poll – it is

          5. … entirely an appropriate arena to discuss the validity of the poll.

            Perhaps you, now believe it is an inappropriate place (despite having tried to discuss it – with mere fluff and rhetoric) because you now can not respond to the detailed facts that have been supplied and can not give any evidence to substantiate your rhetoric, so you thrown a tantrum, teddy’s go out of the pram, and suddenly you decide it is “not an appropriate arena to discuss the poll” despite having been doing entirely this yourself until you lost your temper?

            Call me cynical, but I think I detect an significant element of hypocracy in your comments. Ah, what a surprise you are trying to defend the C4M – as they say, birds of a feather flock together.

          6. The poll and its findings were not officially discredited, so C4M wasn’t misleading when referring to it. It is correct that only mixed sex couple can marry and it is also correct that at the marriage ceremony they pledge ‘ from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.’

          7. The findings of the poll have been completely discredited (how does one officially discredit a poll?) in many areas of the media.

            The methodology has been looked at by eminent experts in polling and they find it (at best) “suspect”.

            The vows of marriage are irrelevant to this post.

            I thought you said this comment place was an inappropriate place to debate this (is that because you will lose “me”)

    2. Marriage remains the same for opposite sex couples whether or not same sex couples are also allowed civil marriages, they are deliberately misleading people to think that opposite sex marriages will be changed, they will not.

      1. Its your conclusion based on your interpretation

        1. No, it’s pretty damn’ obvious. Name one single way a mixed-sex couple’s marriage will be substantially changed by equal marriage.

          1. I’m all for equal marriage, but that’s not the issue here. What we discussing here is whether the ad breached advertising standards, I don’t thinks so since it accurately reported poll’s finding.The poll wasn’t discredited therefore they had every right to use it in their ad

          2. The poll was totally discredited


            I find it hard to believe that you support equal marriage, “me” with your approach to this debate.

    3. If you want to know how the advertisement is misleading then you need to understand how the controversial ComRes poll is doubtful and based on dodgy data.

      This is explained far more eloquently than I ever could, here:

      How this helps you see how the C4M are misleading and lying (shock, horror the anti gay Institute are involved what can we expect!)

      1. The ad is not misleading, it refers to a poll conducted by legitimate pollster. The poll has not been discredited therefore C4M had every inc. legal right to use its findings.

        1. We shall see what the ASA think.

          I don’t tend to just accept the word of someone called “me”.

          The C4M have used a poll which is known to have suspect methodology and twisted the answers that the polls found using suspect methodology.

          That is misleading.

          The ASA will make a view in due course.

          Until then, its important we keep this in the public eye, and demonstrate how much the C4M are lying and manipulating things – and discredit further their disreputable conduct.

        2. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 4:29pm

          The fact that Com.res was commissioned by Catholic Voices proves the poll was biased in their favour. Catholics are not the majority opinion in the UK and never will be. They are a minority too and always will be. As for the married for life statement, why didn’t it address the heterosexual adulterers and their serial marriages and divorces. Why did it choose to make mention of them, exclude them, the real threat to marriage, both religious and civil, long before same-sex marriage were a reality? Marriage doesn’t guarantee a life-time commitment even though it is the ideal. Heterosexuals have been changing the institution of marriage for hundreds of years and will continue to do so. Access to civil marriage by gay couples isn’t going to change heterosexuals’ ability to marry, commit adultery or divorce and they’ve been doing a great job of that for centuries without our help. thank you very much.

          1. Are you implying that minorities shouldn’t commission the polls? And where it says that poll was conducted only among Catholics?

          2. Are you implying that minorities shouldn’t commission the polls? And where it says that poll was conducted only among Catholics???

          3. The methodology of the poll was such as to be unable to demonstrate that it was not biased and suggestive that it would be targetted by those who felt strongly in a particular direction – rendering it a void and bogus poll in terms of opinion measuring.

    4. Quite simply, the poll statement doesn’t say ONLY men and women.

      Also, when same-sex marriage is legalised, the statement that they agreed to will still be true, it just won’t be the entire definition.

      The statement, the way it’s written, sounds as if it’s asking whether it should be changed to NOT include men and women, or to NOT be lifelong/exclusive, as opposed to the TRUE context. Of course people will say yes, it should continue to be defined like that.

      It’s possible that the 70% interpreted the statement in this way and that’s why an ASA complaint is justified.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 4:34pm

        Exactly. Heterosexuals are the ones who commit adultery and divorce without any input from us. They will continue to do it even if we are allowed to marry. The C4M hate group refuses to acknowledge it or address it if they care so much about marriage as a life-time commitment. Heterosexuals are the ones who changed (redefined) marriage, always have and always will, not us. If anything C4M needs to concentrate its efforts on saving hetero marriages as well as the serial adultery and divorce.

        1. Really good point!! I didn’t actually think about that part.

      2. You are complaining about the poll which wasn’t discredited prior the campaign. You obviously thought the poll was dodgy, C4M thought it was legitimate.

        1. Every piece of evidence mentioned about the bias, problematic methodology and concerns about this poll that have been mentioned on here were reported on PN and elsewhere prior to the C4M advertisement being released. You have been told this on this comments page. Your contention therefore that this has all come to light after the advertisement campaign began is wrong (and deceptive) – strange that you are supporting C4M and being deceptive … what a bed fellow you keep …

          1. You need regulatory body to officially void the poll. That wasn’t the case here.

          2. @me

            Which regulatory body officially discredits polls? Please explain – or are you setting goalposts that are impossible to reach because you know the facts support the argument you are trying to defeat with mere rhetoric (your facts do not stack up – oh wait, you havent proposed any facts, just rhetoric – whereas I and others have shown you examples of how the poll has been discredited and you continue to debate in this forum that you deem “inappropriate” and set goalposts that you know are impossible to fill because there is no such organisation. Try again troll.

        2. It was discredited. Heavily.

          C4M probably commissioned the poll via Catholic Voices: of course they’re going to think it’s legitimate!

          Anyone with a brain would label the poll dodgy without even considering its misuse in the C4M advert.

          1. Absolutely, James

            It is crystal clear to anyone with an open mind and who recognises fact, logic and reason that the poll was flawed.

            Of course, those who rely on rhetoric or indoctrination would not welcome or accept facts or reason.

            Bizarrely, some will try to reinforce their rhetoric by deception.

    5. Interesting that “me” is unable to:

      1) Explain which regulatory body is used to discredit opinion polls (as he/she seems to suggest should happen.
      2) Supply any evidence to support his/her rhetoric
      3) Explain why he/she continues to take part in this debate which they claim is an “inappropriate” arena to discuss the subject matter of the story (although only after facts repudiating their rhetoric were given)
      4) Justify how their claim to support equal marriage fits with their apparent support of the C4M

      Could it be that “me” is all fluff and no substance and full of deceit?

  7. I hope that someone will also be looking into the signatories on the Coalition for Marriage page when last I read, the signatories far out weighed actual website hits so something is amiss!

    1. I believe the Information Commissioner is looking into allegations that some people have seen their name on the petition and did not sign it, and when they approached the C4M to remove their details, this was refused. That (to my mind) is a clear breach of the Data Protection Act. As far as I can tell I do not appear on the petition, but I would encourage anyone who finds themselves on the petition to ask the C4M to remove it AND complain to the Information Commissioner:

      1. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 3:42pm

        They have disallowed people being able to search the site for names which looks very suspicious, see here:

        1. You can use this in google:

 Joe Bloggs

          and it will search for the name on the site.

          Interestingly, if you pick a name off C4M’s signatories and search for it, Google sometimes returns other petitions by the same people behind C4M – certain names appear on a number of petitions, to do with anti-abortion, Scotland for Marriage, etc.

          Might be worth seeing if they actually exist, particularly the clergy-like signatures.

        2. Well hopefully your name wouldn’t come up! It does work for me.

          1. Yep definitely still works:

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 4:22pm

        There’s such a thing as purchasing mailing lists, so it wouldn’t surprise me if C4M did just that. Plus, internet providers allow serveral accounts under one account holder. What’s to stop that person using all accounts and signing the petition using a bogus name and what about people who have more than one computer. The possibilities of pollster fraud are endless.

      3. Stu bullying again I see. Still off work Stu?

        1. On days off (some of us have to work shifts, so get days off in the week instead). Also on reduced hours on return given how long I have been recovering from being unwell – gradually building them up. Thank you for the concern.

          Bullying .. where – pointing out facts is what I am doing?

          If you want to debate deal in facts … seems some can’t, notably the anti-gay militants who are obsessed by gay websites – such an odd thing that.

          Makes you ponder, obsessed or in denial????

    2. NOT That I’m calling C4M a bunch of lying, hypocritical wankers, but if you SHOULD happen to go to their site, make sure they don’t leave a load of cookies on your system, as I found they had when I went to make sure MY name wasn’t on their misleading piece of crap!!

      1. Oh, go on, you’re among friends here, go ahead and call them a bunch of lying hypocritical wankers. If the shoe fits and all that.

    3. The web site has 140 pages of 1000 signatures – 140,000 in total, but claims that 384,000 or so people have signed it. So some 244,000 people have presumably signed paper copies.

      This might be true or might not be, but would bare some further scrutiny.

    4. They did paper petitions as well as online…

      1. They lied too … thats why the Information Commissioner and ASA are investigating them.

    5. The have conducted paper petitions as well, and the names from those paper petitions have been added to the website.

      1. Ah yes, but how many times?

  8. I have just complained to the ASA. I urge others to do so.  Make sure you explain what part of the advert caused you offence or you found to be misleading.  The 70% statistic is a good start.  Explain clearly why it did and is.  Eg. The advert is offensive as it is designed to gain support for a campaign opposing equal rights for LGBT people.  It is misleading as 6 polls over last few years including 2012 You-Gov poll show a majority of people support same sex marriage by a margin of between 10 and 20%. Take the opportunity to tell them what course of action you feel the ASA should take and justify it. Eg. They should not be allowed to use the statistic in promoting their campaign and they should have to make it clear they are campaigning against same sex couples having the right to get married.

    1. Or simply point out that nowhere in law does it state once a couple is married that they cannot seperate as neither divorce nor adultery is illegal in this country so the poll itself is based on a lie

  9. I’ve said it time and time again, but reading the bit of the article that the picture shows has made me angry. Calling marriage a ‘great national institution’ is so grossly incorrect and stupid that I had to read it a few times before I actually conceded that I’d read it correctly. Marriage is not a ‘national institution’, it is a worldwide rite that has changed and evolved as much with language and culture. Christianity does not own marriage – and it never has. To say that politicians are ‘meddling’ is like saying changing stamp prices is meddling. Stamp prices change to reflect the current economic climate, marriage changes to reflect the current social climate. I may be wrong, but I might be right in saying that this isn’t ‘changing marriage’, but rather ‘changing marriage BACK’. It’s a bully crying because they’re being made to give the toy back that they stole.

  10. I would love it if they’d look into all the people whose wedding photographs are on that banner and see just how many remained or remain in a ‘lifelong exclusive commitment.’ I think it’s safe to bet that it won’t be all of them (given the UK’s present divorce rates).

    1. Indeed did the C4M have permission to use their photos?

      Not that I am suggesting C4M would engage in disreputable conduct … as if …

      1. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 5:11pm

        It may be possible to search the individual images in Tineye.
        See Tineye here:

        1. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 5:36pm

          It worked!!!

          I have found one of the couples, they have a FB page with that image!!!

          Should I contact them or should I let PN do it?

          1. DO IT!! That’s brilliant!

            I was trying that with google image search before haha!

            They must hate that the gays are so clevah x

          2. I would contact them and depending on the response feed it back to PN

          3. Craig Denney 3 Apr 2012, 7:07pm

            Cross fingers & toes!
            It was only the second image I tried, so there are plenty of other images we could look at.

            If you think about it they would have had to get written permission to use the photos

  11. As a subscriber to Country Life I must say I am absolutely shocked that a magazine that is supposed to feature country issues and pursuits is placing political adverts in it’s pages. I don’t think this issue is anything to do with the countryside- why is it appearing in this sort of magazine? I have been a subscriber for years and I don’t recall ever seeing a political advert of this type in Country Life before. it’s disgraceful. What do other subscribers think?

    1. You should write to country life and tell them how you feel about this John obviously they’re to stupid to realise they have a gay readership.

    2. @John

      I agree with Joss, I would write to the magazine (ideally the editor) and point out how you feel about this.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Apr 2012, 7:03pm

      I agree. Could it possibly be that Country Life supports C4M or maybe its more about the nice piece of change it gets for printing it regardless of who it offends? Either way, I’d contact the editor for an explanation indicating that you and others might well cancel your subscription. I wouldn’t mind betting the response will be that what it accepts as advertisements, do not necessarily reflect the views of Country Life, short of explaining why it would even consider an advertisement that has nothing to do with the content of the magazine. I can’t for a minute believe that Country Life isn’t aware of the implications or what C4M represents. I wonder what the religious affiliation is of the editor, assuming he or she has any?

      1. Conspectus 3 Apr 2012, 8:14pm

        I have been a reader / buyer of Country Life for over 30 years, but I have left a message on their facebook page to say how disgusted I am at their pandering to bigots. They have lost my readership. The damn cheek of County Life to insult the many gay people who have been loyal readers over decades. Talk about shoot yourself in the foot! That’s one advert that will cost them dear.

    4. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Apr 2012, 6:54pm

      I just filed a complaint with ASA and received a response indicating the matter is being investigated.

  12. A bit OT but related. Has anyone noticed that anti -gay, anti-marriage equality bigot Delia Smith is advertising for Waitrose on the TV?
    Yes I’ve already complained.

    1. First I’d heard of Delia’s opinion on gay marriage… do you have a link?

      1. Its not specifically the issue on equalising of marriage and DElia that I found (although I do recall reading in the last week or so that she intends campaigning against same sex partners marrying), this article does show she itends to campaign against “militant secularism” though:

        1. As opposed to her militant god bothering – which she felt compelled to include in her last TV venture, “Deliah removes cardboard sleeve and pierces film lid.”

  13. Incidentally, good for the Women’s Institute!

  14. “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”. Marriage hasn’t ever been a lifelong commitment. Divorce has always been an option.

  15. GingerlyColors 4 Apr 2012, 6:49am

    I agree with keeping hetrosexual marriages as they are – what has the Coalition for Marriage got to fear? All we are asking is for equality. As for where they got that 70% figure from, then all I can say is that there are lies, dammed lies and there are statistics.

  16. @me

    So if I was to commission a poll asking

    “Prison sentences are to lenient. Do you agree or disagree?”

    then, assuming a majority agreement, use this to state that the majority of the country want to see capital punishment reintroduced the there is no problem there? At no point has my question asked about capital punishment but the majority agreed with the statement about prison sentences so therefore it would be correct, in your view, for me and others to use this to campaign for the killing of criminals?

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