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Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an opponent of marriage equality, hosted a dinner for two lesbian couples and a pair of gay men after an Australian activist group won a charity auction. GetUp! paid $33,270 for the dinner during a bidding war against a Christian lobby group. The couples used the meal at Gillard's official residence to lobby the prime minister to allow gay marriage.
Penny Wong showed her newborn to the world yesterday. Baby Alexandra, weighing 7.1lbs, was conceived from a donor known to the couple, and carried by Wong's partner. Her birth comes a week after Finance Minister Wong backed the Labor Party's stance on marriage equality. While same-sex marriages have yet to be legalized, gay people throughout Australia have celebrated Labor's support. And it has led to the resignation from the party of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's sister - Loree Rudd - who said she could not work for a party that endorsed gays marrying.
Australia's ruling Labor Party recently agreed to support marriage equality. The decision, which is at odds with Prime Minister Julia Gillard's support for a national ban on same-sex marriage, was met with rousing applause from the 400 delegates and hailed by supporters as historic. In Australia marriage is mandated by federal legislation, so although civil same-sex unions are recognised in five states, the couples are not seen as "married" by the federal government.
A school in Australia is in a hot spot after it asked its students whether being gay is "the sickest sin" in a home assignment. Experts agree discrimination through such teaching leads to mental health issues and even suicide. A question in a later assignment asked what God said about homosexuality and pointed to Bible quotes for the answer, which calls it an "abomination".
Once known as "Australia's worst lesbian", Finance Minister Penny Wong recently announced that her partner, Sophie Allouache, has conceived through in-vitro fertilization [IVF] and is expecting their first child in December. Wong shifted her public position against marriage equality last year by announcing she would advocate at a national conference for a policy change “to support equality including in relation to marriage for same-sex couples”.
At Egalia preschool, children are known as "friends" rather than girls and boys. There's also a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of GLBT people. There are no Snow White, Cinderella or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes. Nearly all the children's books deal with gay couples, single parents or adopted children. From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes.