The Australian postal survey on legalizing same-sex marriage is underway, and opponents are continuing to spread propaganda about the supposed consequences of marriage equality. Their latest ad relies on a Canadian extremist who tried to prevent his children from even learning that gay people exist.
Steve Tourloukis, identified in the ad as simply a Canadian dad, filed a lawsuit back in 2012 insisting that his children should not be exposed to “false teachings” in the school. Because of his Greek Orthodox faith, he wanted his kids’ school to notify him any time topics such as moral relativism, anything related to the occult or witchcraft, sex ed (including the effectiveness of condoms), homosexuality, transgenderism, or “environmental worship” came up so that he could remove them from those lessons.
Tourloukis told the court that he believes same-sex sexual relations are not God’s intention and that there are only two genders, male and female. It would infringe upon his religious liberty — and in fact, be sinful — if he could not protect his children from “false teachings” contrary to these beliefs.
In the extended version of the ad now airing in Australia, Tourloukis objects that the school curriculum was updated to be LGBTQ-inclusive, including that kids would be taught about anal sex. “This lawyer mentioned same-sex marriage repeatedly in her arguments for why my kids should be exposed to what I consider to be indoctrination,” he said of the school’s attorney. “She said, ‘In this era of legalized same-sex marriage, Christian students should be required to celebrate homosexuality in the schools because tolerance is not enough anymore.’”
What the ad doesn’t say is that Tourloukis lost his case. The school had countered that because LGBTQ inclusion had been woven into the curriculum at all grade levels, “it would be impractical if not impossible” to advise him every time such a topic came up in class. Likewise, it would stigmatize other students in the class to see some students leave every time those issues were discussed. The court agreed, noting that the priority of teaching about difference and creating an inclusive learning environment did not sufficiently interfere with his ability to teach his kids his own values.
There is nothing to suggest that any kid is being forced to “celebrate” homosexuality. It’s true that the curriculum was changed to be LGBTQ-inclusive, but that is because studies have consistently shown that schools are safer and LGBTQ students succeed better academically when LGBTQ people aren’t hidden from view. Likewise, a comprehensive sex education curriculum merely ensures that lessons of safety are being taught so that they benefit all students, not just those who might someday have heterosexual intercourse. Teaching kids that gay people exist is not the same as taking them to a pride parade.
The new ad is the latest propaganda attempting to use fear to convince Australians to vote “no” on marriage equality.