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Government bans gay parenting film being shown in schools

Joe Williams August 26, 2015

A school has been banned from screening a film during school hours about children with gay parents.

Burwood Girls High in Sydney planned on screening the film Gayby Baby to students on Friday morning as part of “Wear it Purple” day – a equality campaign aimed at encouraging LGBT inclusion and support in schools.

However, the film was today (August 26) banned from being shown during school hours, by New South Wales’ education minister Adrian Piccoli.

State Premier Mike Baird backed the move: “I understand the intent of that is to provide an example of tolerance and that’s something I absolutely support,” he said.

“Should it be in class time? No, I don’t think so. Should it be optional? Yes, I do think so.”

Amid uproar from LGBT activists, the minister claimed that he did not object to the content of the film – rather, he wanted to avoid students missing out on class.

However, some have argued that the ban is actually down to pressure placed on the Department of Education by some parents and religious groups.

The complainants included the local Presbyterian church, who criticised the school for screening a film which “promotes a gay lifestyle”.

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the decision to prevent the film from being shown during school hours was “absurd and deeply disappointing.”

“From a personal perspective, if I had seen a film that showed that gay and lesbian people can have loving and stable families and are just as normal as everyone else, that would have a positive and profound impact on my confidence and self identity.

“It is not a controversial film. It just shows that rainbow families are just as normal as any other,” he said.

According to its synopsis Gayby Baby “is a portrait of four kids with gay parents who wrestle with the challenges of oncoming adolescence as the world deals with marriage equality, and whether or not kids like them are at risk”.

Seats for the film – directed by former Burwood Girls High student Maya Newell – sold out at the Sydney Film Festival in June.

Newell has since responded to the ban on Twitter, “saying there is no place for bullying, homophobia or discrimination in Australian public schools or in the media.”

A number of same-sex marriage bills were set to come before the Australian Parliament this month, but anti-gay marriage PM Tony Abbott failed to afford a free vote for his MPs – binding them to vote against equality.

He also declared he will sack any ministers who defy him and vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

It was announced last week that the Australian state of Queensland may finally catch up with all other states, and equalise the age of consent for anal sex after being accused of discrimination.

The state is currently the only one to have a different age of consent for anal sex – 18, compared to 16 for most other forms of consensual sex, and was accused of discrimination for maintaining the unequal age of consent.

Watch the full trailer for Gayby Baby below.

More: Australia, Australia, gayby baby, New South Wales, Tony Abbott

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