An anti-gay sign left on the streets of Ballarat has left a lesbian couple feeling distressed.

The sign (right) was discovered along Doveton St in the city’s centre last Friday. A 39-year old local female, who asked not to be named, said her partner of 16 years came across the sign and forwarded a picture on her phone.

“She was just minding her own business and came across it in the course of her day,” the Ballarat woman told the Star Observer.

“Outward homophobia like that can be damaging. It’s okay for us, we’re older and been together a long time and have probably experienced a lot of different things over the years, but the younger kids who are probably struggling with their sexuality, it could be confronting and disturbing.”

The woman said she felt that she couldn’t let the incident go unnoticed.

“I guess it was terminology and sentiment behind the sign,” she said. “You can put up with a lot through your life, but why should we? Lets make it an issue people need to discuss and bring out in the open.”

The couple have lived in the area for five years and had not experienced any difficulties.

“I think there’s an element of the community that has narrow minded views, but overall people are fairly progressive and open minded.”

The office of federal Labor MP Catherine King confirmed they had been contacted by a constituent and asked to notify police, which they did.

“While I respect that we live in a country of free speech, the sign is offensive and in the interests of community harmony would be better removed,” King said in a statement.

Recent polls showed Ballarat one of Australia’s more tolerant regional areas. The Roy Morgan poll showed only 21.4 percent of people int he area thought homosexuality immoral and almost half agreed gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

The woman said she believed the amount of media coverage on gay marriage had prompted the sign.
Ballarat Police could not comment on any action taken before print time.

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