Current Affairs

The star of Australia’s anti-gay marriage TV ad has links to gay ‘cure’ therapy

Nick Duffy August 31, 2017
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The star of an anti-gay marriage TV advert is facing questions over her links to gay ‘cure’ therapy.

Next month Australians will be asked to vote on whether same-sex couples deserve the right to marriage, in a controversial public vote pushed forward by right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Ahead of the vote the country has faced a tidal wave of misleading arguments from the ‘No’ campaign, with a much-mocked TV advert warning about the ‘consequences’ of the vote.

But the Coalition for Marriage was left facing serious questions today after it was revealed that one of the stars of the advert has ties to gay ‘cure’ therapy.

Appearing in the ad, Dr Pansy Lai pushes the group’s fears about ‘radical gay sex education’, insisting: “When same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program becomes compulsory”.

The star of Australia’s anti-gay marriage TV ad has links to gay ‘cure’ therapy

Dr Lai is the founder of the Australian Chinese for Families Association, which claims to “bring together the Chinese community throughout Australia who hold traditional family values”.

But and SBS have raised serious concerns over her group’s anti-gay marriage literature, which promotes ‘treatment’ for people who want to change their sexual orientation.

It claims such treatment can “result in lasting change for more than 50 per cent of people studied, with no increases in harm or distress”, while her website also promotes the idea of gay ‘cure’ treatments.

Speaking to SBS she insisted that she is not “personally” a supporter of conversion therapy, but did admit to posting information about it online.

She said: “There is no way in my website that we say people need to go through conversion therapies. I’m just saying the study results. I’m not personally saying that.

“For some people at least who wish to change, the study shows there is no harm.

“I am saying there are studies that have studied some people who have undergone these treatments and it has the results… that there is no harm or distress.”

Astoundingly, every single person who appears in the Coalition for Marriage ad has now been discredited.

The star of Australia’s anti-gay marriage TV ad has links to gay ‘cure’ therapy
Cella White

The ad also features Cella White, who claimed a “school told my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it”.

Her claim was rubbished by the principal of her son’s school, Frankston High School, who said such an incident never happened.

The third woman who appears in the ad is Heidi McIvor, who claims: “Kids in year 7 are being asked to roleplay being in a same-sex relationship”.

The star of Australia’s anti-gay marriage TV ad has links to gay ‘cure’ therapy
Heidi McIvor

It later emerged that McIvor is a pastor at extreme anti-LGBT church Sale City Builders Church, and a persistent fundamentalist activist with an active role in the anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion movements.

Explainer: What the hell is going on with same-sex marriage in Australia?

More: ad, advert, Australia, Australia, Gay, gay cure, LGBT, Television

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