On May 22, Ireland is due to become the first country in the world to hold a referendum on whether to legalize same-sex marriage. Here's a poster from one campaign group backing the No vote, featuring a stock photo of a young family.
However, on Thursday, the couple in the stock photo released a statement via Amnesty International saying they totally oppose the No campaign.
We were surprised and upset to see that the photo was being used as part of a campaign with which we do not agree. We completely support same-sex marriage, and we believe that same-sex couples' should of course be able to adopt, as we believe that they are equally able to provide children with much-needed love and care. To suggest otherwise is offensive to us, and to many others.
No one can convince us that life-long unions of so many loving same-sex couples here in the UK and in Ireland, are inferior to heterosexual unions, and it is important to us that our many gay friends know that we feel this way. Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality has no place in the 21st century.
They were alerted to the poster following a Facebook post by the Australian comedian Adam Hills earlier this week, who said his wife knew the couple and that their views were in no way in line with the No campaign.
The couple explained in their statement that they posed for the pictures for free last year for a photographer friend, and then agreed to let him upload them to a stock photo album. They have declined to give out their names, a spokesperson for Amnesty International in Ireland told BuzzFeed News.
Mothers and Fathers Matter, the campaign group behind the poster, said on Thursday that focusing on the models' opinions was a distraction from the bigger debate. It implied that it held this view partly because the couple weren't Irish.
Meanwhile James Larkin, an Irish graphic designer based in France, on Wednesday decided to make his own pro—marriage-equality version of the original poster using a slightly different stock image of the couple.
Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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