Equality Australia – 50,000 call on Cumberland Council to reverse same-sex book ban at meeting tonight


This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

15 May, 2024 – More than 50,000 people have signed petitions calling on Cumberland Council to reverse a ban on books featuring same-sex parents, ahead of a vote on Wednesday night.  

Local grandmother Caroline Staples is being supported by national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia in her bid to reverse the ban, with the petitions to be presented by her to council tonight. 

In total, 40,861 people have so far signed the Equality Australia petition, including 2,194 from within Cumberland postcodes. Another 10,065 have signed a change.org petition, with the petitions to be presented to council together. 

Ms Staples is a long-time resident of the Cumberland area and a mother of four adult children as well as a proud grandmother in a rainbow family. 

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the volume and diversity of support for rescinding the ban,” she said. 

“Western Sydney welcomes people of different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. We don’t ban people or families and we won’t allow publicity-seeking politicians to play members of our community off against each other.” 

Ms Staples said her bid to reverse the ban was backed by peak bodies like the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Early Childhood Australia.  

“The book banners have demonstrated they don’t care about the wellbeing and safety of our children and families,” she said. 

“I’m optimistic that now councillors have had a chance to reflect on the consequences of their decision they will reject this divisive move.” 

Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh said the children’s book that sparked the ban was part of a series about different types of families. 

“The attempt to erase these loving families from library shelves is importing the worst of American-style culture wars and doesn’t reflect what modern Australia looks like or wants,” he said. 

“People should be able to go to their public library and find books that represent their families. If someone doesn’t like what’s in a book, they don’t have to borrow it.” 

Australian Library and Information Association ALIA CEO Cathie Warburton: 

“The message is clear: people should be free to decide what books they borrow from their public library. They should be able to walk through the doors to find stories that represent their culture, their families and their identities.  

“ALIA is committed to libraries providing access to information for all. There is no place for censorship. 

“The freedom to read and the freedom to choose what we read is a fundamental pillar of democracy.” 

Ashley Scott, Executive Officer of Rainbow Families:  

“LGBTQ+ parents and their families face systemic discrimination and invisibility every day and libraries should be places where we feel welcome and safe,” he said. 

“Reading helps children to understand the world around them. 

“All children should grow up knowing that love is what makes a family and that every family matters.”  

Petition: https://equalityaustralia.org.au/our-work/areas-of-work/cumberland-council/ 

Media contact: Mike Hitch 0426 812 115 

This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

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