Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell has given unsuccessful Christian Democrats political candidate Peter Madden his marching orders, saying he and his anti-gay message are not welcome in the northern NSW town.
Mayor Dowell said she had spoken to Madden on the phone this morning following protests which forced local police to impound a truck featuring anti-gay signage which warns of the dangers of same-sex marriage to children and displays a grown man embracing a young male child.
“I told him he was not welcome with his message in Lismore,” Dowell told the Star Observer.
“I don’t condone the graffiti attack on the truck, but I do fully support the protest and understand the community does feel vilified by those messages.
Mayor Dowell said in the last few days she had received phone calls and Facebook messages from local residents expressing concern about the truck before it arrived in Lismore yesterday.
“There is no place for anti-gay sentiment here,” Dowell said.
“I understand there are a range of views on same-sex marriage and I support people expressing their views, but to suggest that if same-sex marriage is legalised children will not be safe, is just offensive.”
Lismore’s gay and lesbian community staged a protest throughout the night and this morning, blockading the truck by parking another vehicle in front it while a group of protesters sat behind it to demand the signage be taken down.
Overnight, slogans featuring the words ‘equal love’ and ‘love not hate’ were graffitied over the truck’s signage and the vehicle was covered with coloured streamers and glitter.
Two locals also chained themselves to the truck but were later removed. One of the truck’s tyres was also let down.
Madden, who clashed with protesters surrounding the truck this morning, has used his website to call for donations to assist the truck’s journey.
Lismore Police Sergeant Brett Lloyd told the Star Observer police will conduct further investigations into the graffiti
The truck was stationed in Lismore overnight on its way to target ALP electorates in Queensland with its anti-gay message, ahead of the March 24 state election.