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Scout leader resigns after urging parents to vote 'no' to marriage equality

12 September 2017 12:54 AM
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A local scout leader has resigned after sending an email to shocked parents telling them to vote 'no' in the upcoming same-sex marriage postal survey.

Fred Merlo, leader of the Kilmore scout group in central Victoria, sent the email to about 50 families, telling them that changing the Marriage Act would have significant consequences for children.

"The biological family benefits society," said the email, obtained by radio station 3AW.

"Governments exist first and foremost to promote the true welfare of the entire community and evidence has shown that the natural and complimentary union of male and female is the optimum for forming and raising new life."

Mr Merlo quit his post on Monday night after parents raised concerns with Scouts Australia about the political nature of the email.

One upset parent, Fiona, said that she was shocked to receive the "horrible" email.

"I just don't think it's the right platform to be putting his view out," she told 3AW.

"Luckily there's a strong group of individuals that all have a mind of our own that feel strongly about marriage equality."

Scouts Victoria said the email was an inappropriate use of the organisation's database.

"I want to apologise to those who were offended by this message about the Australian Marriage Law postal survey," said Region Commissioner Alan Harding in a follow-up email to parents.

"Scouting is an apolitical organisation. We welcome people of all backgrounds, and our members hold a broad range of views."

Mr Harding wrote that some would agree with the email and others would not.

"But personal views are personal, and no one is entitled to use Scouting to promote their own position."


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