A coalition of groups opposed to marriage equality removed an entry from a video competition they were running after learning it was made by a gay man. The group later reinstated it on appeal and it went on to win.

The Excellent Marriage video competition, held in the lead-up to yesterday’s anti-equality Excellent Marriage event in Hobart, asked participants to make videos about what constituted an excellent marriage. The winner, Rowan Carmichael, did not reveal that he was gay in his video and spoke about marriage in gender-neutral terms.

“I entered the competition because I wanted to show that a gay man can want an excellent marriage just as much as anyone else, and that we all have more in common than apart,” Carmichael said.

“When the organisers of the competition felt I was hiding something from them they removed my entry, but friends, family and some supportive clergy vouched that what I said in the clip is what I genuinely believe and it was allowed to stay in the competition.

“In the end I won by about 40 votes.”

Carmichael was congratulated on his entry by Cornerstone Hobart Presbyterian pastor and anti-same-sex marriage activist Campbell Markham and he has since been paid the $500 prize.

The Excellent Marriage forum was supported by groups including FamilyVoice Australia, the National Marriage Coalition and the Australian Christian Lobby. Speakers included former tennis champion Margaret Court, and former Liberal senator Guy Barnett who told participants same-sex marriage would cause profound injustices to children.

“Children should not be left vulnerable within a new and novel social experiment,” Barnett told the room.

A counter-vigil by marriage equality supporters outside the event, who held up signs declaring their relationships “equally excellent,” attracted a similar number of people.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the vigil was a great success.

“It was wonderful to see so many people from such a diverse range of backgrounds attending the vigil,” Croome said.

“As well as LGBTI people and our family members, there were representatives from the union movement, Young Labor and Amnesty International, and many young heterosexual families with children, and older heterosexual couples.

“Those attending the Excellent Marriage rally were under no illusion about how widely and strongly the pro-equality cause is supported.”


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