A Sydney couple who had just returned from their New Zealand wedding were shocked to see homophobic graffiti in their home city.

Scott McKeown and Bryce Kerr were driving through Alexandria when they saw the slogan ‘bash a gay today’ spray painted on a building.

“I was totally stunned that it was there,” said McKeown.

The couple suspect the apparent recent increase in hate speech is related to the marriage equality debate.

“We hadn’t seen crap like that for years until this bullshit so-called postal survey,” said Kerr.

The men said they were “gutted” by the graffiti.

“As a former Australian serviceman of 13 years I felt embarrassed to see this type of rhetoric in my own country,” said McKeown.

“In New Zealand, everyone was supportive from start to finish.”

McKeown is concerned that the anti-LGBTI sentiments surfacing as part of the national debate will be harmful to the community.

“Without the postal vote for marriage equality, it would still be homophobic and hateful, but now it’s critical,” he said.

“As people are being asked to vote, I have little doubt that graffiti like this will embolden bigots or unaware youth to attack [LGBTI community members].

“We already know young teenagers commit suicide due to fear of coming out or being picked on when they do, this will harm them as well.”

McKeown and Kerr photographed the homophobic graffiti so they could report it to their local MPs.

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