Safe sex ads to return to bus shelters

Both sides of Queensland politics slammed the ACL's motives. Photo / Facebook
Both sides of Queensland politics slammed the ACL's motives. Photo / Facebook

A safe sex advertisement featuring a hugging gay couple will return to Brisbane bus shelters after a backflip from the company that pulled them.

Adshel this week succumbed to a campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) against the Rip and Roll advertisements, which promote safe sex.

The couple pictured is fully clothed and hugging, and holding an unopened condom.

Also featured is the website address and hotline for Healthy Communities, which has been receiving state government funding for sexual health promotion since 1988.

ACL claims the ad depicts a couple in foreplay and is unsuitable for public viewing.

Adshel, billboard company Goa and the Advertising Standards Bureau received about 30 complaints within a week of the ads appearing.

Healthy Communities led a protest against the removal of the ads outside Adshel's Brisbane office on Wednesday, with about 30 people waving the poster.

More than 30,000 Facebook users joined an online protest.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Adshel CEO Steve McCarthy said the company was unaware the complaints had stemmed from an ACL campaign.

"It has now become clear that Adshel has been the target of a co-ordinated ACL campaign," he said.

"This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect."

Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin said the high support for gay rights was regularly shown in polling and the backlash when the ads were pulled was more proof.

"We keep drawing attention to that evidence but some people give undue weight to a vocal minority in the community like people connected to ACL," Mr Martin said.

"Most people don't have a problem with gay people."

The ACL campaign was led by the group's Queensland director, Wendy Francis, who said she objected to the ads' sexual nature, not the fact the couple pictured were gay.

She was disappointed by Adshel's reversal.

"I think it's another loss for our children, I really do," she said.

"It's a matter of people power, a lot more people complained that it came down than they were up."

Ms Francis was last year forced to apologise publicly after a tweet likening gay marriage to legalising child abuse.

Then a Family First candidate for the Senate, she claimed the tweet was sent from her office, but not by her.

Both sides of Queensland politics slammed the ACL's motives on Wednesday.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said Ms Francis' defence of her campaign was "rot".

"Check the calendar, it's 2011," he said.

"I think we should call it for what it is and this is basic homophobia."

Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman said he hadn't seen the ad.

"I have a very open mind about these things and I urge other people to be tolerant and open minded as well," he said.

- AAP

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