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People Are Mad About A New Show Where Strangers Get Married

The show sets up total strangers to get hitched.

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A petition calling for Channel Nine to cancel its upcoming show Married At First Sight, which sends strangers down the aisle, has gained over 11,000 signatures.

Started by Adelaide woman April Murphy, the petition labels the show "morally unsound", and says it is "appalling" that such a show can air in Australia, where marriage equality is not a reality.

Married at First Sight follows four heterosexual couples who have been paired together based on a psychological assessment. The couples are then sent by the show's producers to get hitched, despite having never met before.

Murphy started the petition about a month ago, but it gained pace on Tuesday, gathering thousands of signatures overnight. By noon on Wednesday, almost 12,000 people had signed.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

In the comments left on the petition, people largely focused on the fact that gay and lesbian couples cannot marry in Australia.

"It is nothing short of a slap in the face that same sex couples in Australia can't marry to ensure the 'sanctity' or institution of marriage, yet we are expected to watch two strangers get married as a social experiment," wrote Steve Eeles.

Others left personal messages, saying they were upset by the show as they can't marry their same-sex partner.

"I'm signing because I can't legally get married to my partner in this country, but this mockery of marriage is allowed to continue," wrote Ashley Bonnell.

A spokesperson for Nine told BuzzFeed News the show does not actually conduct legal marriages.

"In order to comply with the Australian Marriage Act (1961) which requires one month and one day notification, a marriage in law was not conducted," they said.

"Each participant embarked on a commitment ceremony with a wedding celebrant with all due intention to commit fully to this union for the duration of the experiment. At the end of the experiment they are given the option to continue with the relationship or go their separate ways."

People have also taken to social media to express their distaste with the show.

@channel9 As a gay couple of ten years who cannot get married in Australia, I would strongly suggest you reconsider Married at first Sight?

"Married at First Sight" and all the gay folk in Australia roll their eyes.

Welcome to Australia, where we cant possibly let gays marry but we can have this kind of show #auspol #lgbt #equality

Despite polls showing a majority of Australians support marriage equality, legislative wheels have only been turning incrementally on the issue.

A bill to legalise marriage equality in Australia was introduced to the Senate by Liberal Democrat David Leyonjhelm in November last year. However, it has not yet been debated in parliament.

The Australian Labor Party supports equal marriage, but MPs are free to vote on the issue according to their personal beliefs.

The Liberal/National Coalition does not support marriage equality. However, there has been increasing pressure on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow a free vote on the issue.

April Murphy did not immediately reply to a request for comment.