A petition launched to deregister a doctor who appeared in a TV ad for the same-sex marriage “No” campaign has been taken down for breaching host website CommunityRun’s terms and conditions.
Sydney GP Dr Pansy Lai was one of three mothers who appeared in the Marriage Coalition advertisement, voicing concerns about the effects of legalising same-sex marriage.
The ad attracted criticism for misleading claims about the effects of same-sex marriage and conflating the reform with sex education in schools.
A petition launched at the weekend by supporters of the “Yes” campaign for same-sex marriage called on the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to review and deregister Dr Lai.
“She has used her standing as a medical professional to directly cause harm to the LGBTIQ population, in direct opposition to her ethical obligation to be supporting the health and welfare of people,” the petitioners wrote.
GetUp, who operates the CommunityRun platform, said in a statement that the petition had received dozens of complaints, which triggered a review process.
“GetUp does not support a petition targeting Dr Pansy Lai, which was uploaded over the weekend, nor did GetUp endorse or organise it,” a spokesperson said.
“Following the review, the petition was found to breach CommunityRun’s terms and conditions and was taken down on Monday morning.”
A Coalition for Marriage spokesperson said the petition was attempting to silence “no” campaigners.
“The petition against Dr Lai is a threat not only to her, but to any others who might try to voice their opinion. The message is loud and clear: agree on same-sex marriage or else,” the group said.
GetUp said that while the organisation was opposed to the same-sex marriage survey, it condemned personal attacks against individuals on either side of the campaign.
In May, the Australian Medical Association called on the federal government to legislate for marriage equality and end the “protracted and damaging” public debate over the reform.