I think I speak on behalf of any gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Australian who lives in the suburbs of our big cities: being able to express who you are freely and without fear of judgement - or worse yet, fear for your safety - just because you are different is still an issue.
The controversy surrounding Parramatta Council’s homophobic approach to the allegedly “offensive’’ banners at Twenty10’s stall during the Rediscover the River event, only serves to exacerbate that issue.
Although I’ve lived in the Parramatta Council area - the gateway to western Sydney - since I was 11, it wasn’t until I became a journalist with the Parramatta Advertiser a year ago that I really saw it as gay-friendly and progressive.
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Same-sex parents are no different than other parents in wanting the very best for their children.
We know that removing legislative inequality is a very significant step in lessening the discrimination and social exclusion experienced by these parents and their children. All children, irrespective of the family units into which they are born or live, deserve the full protection of the law.
That’s why I’m proud to have chaired a year-long Social Development Committee Inquiry into same sex parenting for the South Australian Parliament, and why I’m prouder still of the wide-ranging reforms aimed at providing greater legal protection for children of same-sex parents recommended to Parliament yesterday.
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In Victoria alone, almost 500 single women and lesbians have used IVF and other fertility treatments since a law change in January last year made it easier. Some see this rise in fatherless parenting as a violation of children’s rights. Others say kids can cope without dads - although they still need male role models. Susie O’Brien’s story is in the Herald Sun today and she will be blogging live.
Do we really need dads?
Absolutely. In an ideal world all children would grow up with both male and female adults to care for them.
But in the absence of a father, a father figure who might be a close male relative or family friend can do the job just as well. It just takes time, love and commitment.
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