AN Australian Marriage Forum television commercial that criticises marriage equality has sparked controversy after channels Seven and Nine aired the ad on the night of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, while SBS refused to broadcast it during its highlights coverage of the Parade on Sunday.

The ad asks viewers to “think of the children” by claiming that children from same-sex families are forced to “miss out” on having a mother or a father.

It quotes Dr David van Gend, a “family doctor” and the President of the Australian Marriage Forum (AMF).

“So-called marriage equality forces a child to miss out on a mother or a father,” he says in the ad.

“That’s not equality for the kids who miss out. That’s not marriage.”

SBS has come under fire for its decision to not air the ad on Sunday night, with some media commentators highlighting questions of freedom of speech and opinion.

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national director Rodney Croome said in a press statement that the ad was “actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples because it defends discrimination against their families”.

However, a Facebook post by AME this afternoon indicated a slight change of opinion by the organisation: it agreed with openly-gay WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who told Fairfax media that “obnoxious ads should be aired because they undermine the cause of their sponsors — the obnoxious views will be seen for what they are”.

“Fortunately Australia has come so far in this campaign that, at this point, he’s right,” AME’s Facebook post read in response to Smith’s comments.

“The overwhelming reaction has seen thousands speak up for equality and the dignity of all families.”

Meanwhile, the YouTube link for the AMF ad has received more that 10 times more “thumbs down” than it has for “thumbs up”.

In addition, at the time of print over 9200 people have signed a Change.org petition asking for the advertisement to be removed altogether.

Where do you stand on the controversial ad? Scroll down after the video to vote in our poll.

Watch the ad:

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