Tue. May 28th, 2024

‘Clear and powerful message’: Sydney council votes to overturn same-sex book ban

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May19,2024
Key Points
  • Cumberland City Council has voted to overturn a ban on library books featuring same-sex parenting.
  • The council had come under scrutiny over the proposed ban, with the NSW government threatening to withhold funding.
  • Cumberland City Council Mayor Lisa Lake said she was pleased to see the books returning to shelves.
Advocates have welcomed the reversal of a ban on books featuring same-sex parents in libraries, describing it as a win for rainbow families.
On 1 May, the council had voted to “rid” publicly-funded libraries of any books that show same-sex parents, but the decision later came under scrutiny.
After the NSW government threatened to withhold funding to libraries, the council met on 15 May and spent four hours debating the ban.

Councillors Kun Huang, Sabrin Farooqui, Diane Colman, Suman Saha and Mohamad Hussein all voted to rescind the ban shortly before 11pm.

Cumberland City Council mayor Lisa Lake said she was pleased to see the book returning to shelves.
“I was appalled by the decision that came through at our last council meeting and I spoke publicly about that at the time,” she told ABC News Breakfast on Thursday.
“I think it was a very divisive and unnecessary debate about a little book that had been in our libraries for five years with no complaints.

“I’m sorry that this debate has caused such hurt and I’m hopeful that we can all move forward now with that reaffirmation that of course this is a welcoming community.”

At the council meeting, former mayor Steve Christou, the councillor who first put forward the motion, maintained the community wanted the book banned.
“I’m only echoing the views of my community,” he told the meeting while asserting it was “not an attack on gay or same-sex couples”.

“We cannot have toddlers just asking parents questions about genders and non-binaries,” he added.

A crowd of protesters rallying against Cumberland City Council's same-sex book ban.

Protesters from both sides gathered ahead of a council vote to overturn a ban on same-sex parenting books. Source: AAP / Paul Braven

Ahead of the council debate, two groups of gathered outside the council building, one calling for the book to be returned to library shelves and the other arguing its content amounted to a “moral sin”.

Caroline Staples, whose petition against the ban attracted over 42,000 signatures, said the reversal would ensure “all families feel welcome”.

“I have been overwhelmed by the volume and diversity of support for reversing the ban and I would like to thank every single person who signed the petition to ensure the children of rainbow families are seen and feel safe,” she said.

Ashley Scott, executive officer of Rainbow Families, said the vote sent a “clear and powerful message that rainbow families are welcome”.
“Our job as parents is to help children understand the world around them and reading plays a pivotal role in this, as does seeing their families reflected in the books on their library shelves,” he said.

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

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “‘Clear and powerful message’: Sydney council votes to overturn same-sex book ban”
  1. It’s truly heartwarming to see the council reversing the ban on books featuring same-sex parents. Education and diversity should always be celebrated, not censored. Kudos to those who stood up for inclusivity and equality!

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