Investigated, simply for carrying pro-marriage ads

May 15, 2012

In a move that has attracted criticism from all sides, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating some websites that carry C4M advertising.

Apparently, some people think it is “offensive” to advertise a campaign that simply wants to uphold the current law on marriage.

If supporting the current law is “offensive”, what would happen to supporters of traditional marriage if the law on marriage is changed?

The ad in question (reproduced here) features images of C4M supporters on their wedding day with the headline “I do”.

The text says: “70% of people say keep marriage as it is. Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. Sign the petition. Click here. Coalition for Marriage.”

But the ASA says it has received ten complaints that the ad is “offensive” and so it has launched an investigation. It has written to the websites that displayed the ad, demanding an explanation.

It also asked the websites to keep news of the investigation quiet.

But one website that carried the C4M ad has chosen to speak out, because we don’t “live in Iran, North Korea or Soviet Russia”.

Archbishop Cranmer (a distinctive blog that discusses religion and politics) has published – in its own inimitable style – a robust criticism of the ASA’s actions.

Even supporters of the redefinition marriage think the ASA has lost all sense of proportion. The National Secular Society says the ASA’s “bullying tone” should be resisted.

At one level the ASA’s actions are plainly over-the-top. Most people will roll their eyes, shake their heads, and then get on with life.

And perhaps someone, somewhere at the ASA wishes they could do the same.

But on another level, it is a troubling sign of what may happen if marriage is redefined. Will the authorities pounce on every utterance in support of traditional marriage?

Will activists demand punitive action every time someone thoughtlessly uses the deeply offensive, heterosexist phrase “husband and wife”?

Yes, the ASA has lost all sense perspective. But a loss of perspective is what happens when ordinary people are ignored.

It breeds a superiority complex that looks down its nose at ‘other people’, and thinks it is acceptable to penalise them for their beliefs.

So, as long as we’re all confident that public bodies are in touch with ordinary people and keep a good sense of perspective, we needn’t worry.

But if you not confident about that, respond to the Government’s consultation and tell them to stop meddling with marriage.