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The family in the No poster say they would vote Yes in same-sex marriage referendum

The couple said they were never paid for the images.

PastedImage-73639 Source: James Larkin

THE FAMILY USED in posters calling for a No vote in the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage has issued a statement to express their dismay at having their image used in a political campaign they don’t believe in.

The couple, pictured along with their young baby, asked Amnesty International to release a statement on their behalf.

Expecting a second child next month, they said they wanted to make clear that they had never been paid for the photos – it was a deal with a photographer friend that they could get some professional shots for free and they would allow him to upload the photos to some stock imagery sites.

On the use of the image, they said using stock images of children for political campaigns “seems a bit of a legal grey area” and that they are “interested to know more about this”.

They are also deciding whether to take Mothers and Fathers Matter up on their offer for dialogue.

Amnesty International tweeted the statement, along with a new poster of the couple, designed by web designer James Larkin, which calls for a Yes vote.

Executive director Colm O’Gorman said: “Earlier this week, the comedian Adam Hills posted on social media, saying that he knew the family in the Mothers & Fathers Matters poster, and that they were surprised and upset at the use of their image.

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“They are upset that an image of their family is being used to promote a message that they profoundly disagree with. The family, who are expecting their second child in June, do not want to be the poster family for the No side in this referendum.

“They want to ensure that when people look at those posters on lamp posts all around the country, and feel angry or upset because of how it judges them or members of their family, that the real family on the poster values them, values their relationships and ALL families. They want them to know, that they would vote ‘Yes’.”

Responding to the criticism about the use of the stock photo, Mothers and Fathers Matter said, “We’re just worried that next week Colm O’Gorman will be shocked and appalled as he discovers the family in the Coke ads actually likes Pepsi.”

Here is the family’s statement in full:

The background: in 2014, as a young family, we did a photo shoot with a photographer friend to get some nice shots for the family album. No money was exchanged – we got nice photos for free, they got nice images for their portfolio. As part of this agreement, we agreed to let them upload them to a stock photo album. We knew that these were available for purchase and we gave permission. Perhaps, naïvely, we imagined that on the off chance that any was ever selected, it might be for a small magazine or website.
To confirm, we have not received any money for the photo – then or now, and nor do we expect any.
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. If we were residents of Ireland, not the UK, we would vote Yes for marriage equality.
In a free society, everyone has the right to express their opinion and campaign for what they feel is right.
We are not lawyers and therefore cannot comment on whether the use of the photo violates any terms and conditions regarding use of stock photos of children for political use, though we are interested to know more about this.
We are unhappy that the image of us was used for a political campaign as legally this seems a bit of a grey area, and we would have expected that for a big campaign like this, Mothers & Fathers Matter might have sought out images of people who represent their views. We are aware of the offer from Mothers & Fathers Matter for dialogue and are deciding whether to pursue this.
We look forward to raising our son (in the picture) and our second child (due in June) to be open-minded and unafraid of change, and to respect all colours, creeds and sexualities etc. Above all we hope that children in Ireland, will be guaranteed the equality that our children enjoy, and will be able to grow up in a society which guarantees them full equality before the law, no matter who they love when they eventually go on to form adult, loving, committed relationships.
Finally, the poster uses a stock image to present a particular view of a family. Well, we are the real family in that photograph. So for the record, here is what we think. This family believes that every child deserves to be loved and cherished. This family believes that everyone has a right to marry the person they love regardless of their gender. This family believes that EVERY family matters. And this family would vote Yes.

Read: The Iona Institute have launched a new animated video to voice their ‘No’ arguments

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