A robocall is telling Australians that legalizing same-sex marriage may lead to "radical gay sex education."
The automated call purports to be a survey, which asks receivers a series of questions related to the nation's upcoming postal vote on marriage equality, including whether and how the respondent plans to vote.
Afterward, The Guardian reports, the robocall asks if the respondent would change his or her response after hearing the following two statements: "Denying some people the option to marry is discriminatory and creates a second class of citizens" and "Legalizing same-sex marriage may lead to negative consequences, such as radical gay sex education being taught in school, threats to freedom of speech, and freedom of religion."
In addition, the poll asks respondents if they have favorable or unfavorable views of Malcolm Turnbull. The prime minister, who had been an ardent advocate of taking a vote, is encouraging Australians to vote "yes" on same-sex marriage.
The robocall, which began as early as Tuesday, has been criticized by the Australian Market & Social Research Society for "'push-polling' — an activity that attempts to impart information to individuals rather than collect information from individuals." The organization says the call, which does not state the source of purpose of its research, may violate its Code of Professional Behavior, which requires surveys to be "honest and truthful."
The poll is conducted by WPA Intelligence, an American company affiliated with the Republican Party. Ted Cruz, who employed the pollster during his presidential campaign, called WPA the "best in the business," a quotation listed on the company's website.
This is not the first appearance of "radical gay sex education" in the marriage debate. The phrase turned up in a fearmongering ad released last week by the group Coalition for Marriage. The ad warned that such school programs would become "mandatory and compulsory" if marriage equality were to pass. In it, a mother recounted a bizarre story that her son was told to wear a dress by an educator.
Australians will vote by November 7 on same-sex marriage through a postal ballot. However, the results will not determine marriage equality. The country's Parliament will vote on the issue, after taking the poll into consideration.