The Nelson Mandela Foundation has lashed out at an Australian group that has used Mandela’s image and words to campaign against same-sex marriage.
The group, called “Children’s Future”, which is said to have strong Catholic links, distributed a pamphlet in Sydney that features a picture of the late human rights icon, along with his quote: “Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”
The pamphlet warns that if same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia, all schools will be compelled to adopt the Safe Schools Programme. Schools currently have the option to implement the programme, which educates students about sexual and gender diversity.
Government officials have denied that the legalisation of same-sex marriage would force schools or parents to adopt the programme.
In a statement, the Nelson Mandela Foundation noted that “the words and image of Nelson Mandela are being used to infer that he was opposed to same-sex marriage”.
The organisation insisted that, “Nelson Mandela was not opposed to same-sex marriage” and that it would “like to correct this misrepresentation”. It pointed out that Mandela had “signed into law a constitution that stood for the rights of all,” including the LGBT community.
The foundation said that, “Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since the Civil Union Act came into force on 30 November 2006,” adding that, “We object to the misuse of the legacy of someone who worked precisely for the recognition of such rights”.
Australia is one of the world’s last major Western nations without marriage equality. The government has controversially recently proposed plans to hold a national plebiscite on the issue, a move that’s been rejected by most LGBT rights groups.