A Melbourne resident has taken to social media to share an image of a new poster allegedly appearing in the city this morning, that reads ‘stop the fags’.

Twitter user Dan posted the image, claiming it appeared on Heffernan Lane.

“How is this for a unity moment,” he wrote.

The poster features a young man being approached by two people wielding rainbow belts in a menacing fashion.

It also lists ‘statistics’ claiming that 92 per cent of children raised by same-sex parents are abused. It also claims that 51 per cent have depression and that 72 per cent are obese.

Long-time LGBTI rights advocate and just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the hate displayed in the posters will shock and disgust the majority of Australians.

“We call upon Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to condemn this vilification and set out the parameters for respectful debate,” he said.

“We have long warned the Government that a plebiscite or postal vote on marriage equality would amplify extremist and hateful views – yet the Prime Minister assured us of a respectful debate.

“It is now incumbent on the Prime Minister, who initiated the postal vote campaign, to take responsibility and denounce anti-LGBTI vilification like this poster.”

In response to the poster’s ‘statistics’, Croome said the Government’s own Australian Institute for Family Studies has found children raised by same-sex couples have the same outcomes as other children, contradicting claims made in the poster.

“Overall, research evidence indicates that children raised in same-sex parented families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as other children,” he said.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said the anti-LGBTI posters found in Melbourne are a clear sign that a respectful debate will be difficult during a plebiscite or postal survey campaign on marriage equality.

“This is the type of hateful and inaccurate material that the LGBTI community warned would be publicised during any kind of plebiscite on marriage equality,” she said.

“Loving couples have been waiting far too long for discrimination to be written out of our marriage laws and for marriage equality to be achieved in Australia.

“We must correct the record and call out false information, especially when it is unrelated to the actual postal survey that is set to ask solely whether two people of the same sex should be able to marry each other.”

Since the federal government put forward the idea of a postal survey on marriage equality, advocates and allies around the country have criticised it for giving those in the “no” camp free reign to spout homophobia and transphobia to the detriment of the LGBTI community.

Australian voters have until August 24 to enrol or update their details to ensure they can vote in the upcoming postal poll for marriage equality.

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