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‘We’re young and we’re rooting for change … so don’t tell us who to love’

Fashion label Volley has prompted outrage among Christian organizations in Australia who are opposed to any change in the country’s marriage laws.

Australia does not yet allow same-sex couples to marry. A growing number of organizations have made their support for marriage equality clear, including the likes of Lush and Qantas.

Last fall, tennis shoe brand Volley produced a series of images and a video of couples cavorting semi-naked.

The message accompanying the video stated: ‘We’re sick of being socially engineered and we shun political correctness. We’re young and we’re rooting for change. We are children of the sun and are comfortable in our own skin, so don’t tell us who to love or how to be.’

Complaints were made about the adverts to the Australian Advertising Standards Board – not only because of the nudity and same-sex intimacy, but as the word ‘rooting’ has a double meaning as Australian slang.

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It ruled that the adverts did breach their code of ethics, so cannot be shown on TV. However, the video is still on the company’s website – outraging the Australian Christian Lobby. They say it is highly inappropriate for a company that sells tennis shoes to kids.
Yesterday, its head, Wendt Francis, took to Twitter to complain again about the adverts.

This prompted a huge social media response. Much of it mocking her stance.

Even Volley Australia’s social media account got involved.

Ms Francis tweeted that the mockery would not dissuade her from speaking out – including more images of the offending imagery in her tweet.

Today, the ACL posted a further message to its blog.

‘Parents need to be aware that Volley still sells shoes for school kids, but their website has adult only images and deliberate sexual innuendo,’ Ms Francis warned.

‘The Advertising Standards Board has already determined the advertising campaign breached the advertising code, yet the same campaign remains on the advertiser’s website.

‘Parents considering what shoes to buy their children for going back to school now have a new consideration apart from fit and durability; it’s about highly inappropriate sex education from a shoe supplier.’

‘It would be irresponsible for any company to ignore the wellbeing of children or the community. If the material is inappropriate to distribute via email, as the Advertising Standards Board has determined, it should not be online either,’ she said.

‘It is disturbing if Volley Australia is delighted that concerns raised by parents would drive publicity, as has been suggested in Fairfax media and by a tweet from Volley Australia.

Volley, which has also teamed up with Ansell condoms to promote ‘safe rooting’ as part of its campaign, is still carrying the #grassroots campaign on its website. GSN has approached the company for comment.

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