A marriage equality advocate is taking legal action against the ‘no’ campaign, claiming defamation over its depiction of her.
Jill Moran is claiming the use of her photo in a Coalition for Marriage media release about “the extremists of the ‘yes’ campaign” falsely portrayed her as a bully and political extremist, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported.
Moran said she tried to directly contact the Coalition for Marriage before involving lawyers but never heard back.
The Coalition for Marriage is showing no sign of backing down, saying that it is fighting for “freedom of political communication”.
“The accusations are pretty strong,” said Phil Johnson of Slater and Gordon.
“We’re talking about bullying and intimidating, violent protest. By putting her picture up there, [Moran] has been associated with this kind of conduct.”
The photo in the press release was taken at a Canberra demonstration against an anti–Safe Schools rally.
“When I first saw it I thought, what is this? I was shocked,” said Moran.
“It’s so obviously me in the photo that anyone can look at it and go, that’s Jill.”
The Coalition for Marriage denied it had defamed Moran, and accused her of “deliberately and brazenly disrupting a peaceful anti–Safe Schools event”.
The Coalition for Marriage has reportedly acknowledged the letter of demand and is seeking legal advice.
Johnson said he and Moran would be satisfied with a retraction and a published apology.
“This could end today if the Coalition [for Marriage] was inclined,” he said.