Current track




40k sign petition to overturn book ban

Written by on May 15, 2024

Thousands of people have signed a petition to overturn a Sydney council’s ban on a same-sex parenting book.

Books featuring same-sex parents were banned in all Cumberland City Council libraries after a motion was passed by local councillors last week.

A petition started by local grandmother Caroline Staples has already attracted more than 40,000 signatures in support of overturning the decision.

“I have been proud to raise my children in a diverse multicultural community that seeks to welcome people of all backgrounds and belief,” Ms Staples said in the petition shared to Equality Australia.

“But last week my local council, Cumberland Council, passed a motion that made me fear for the safety of the rainbow families in our community and the future cohesion of our community.”

She said the ban crossed a “dangerous line” that could threaten her community that welcomes “people of all backgrounds and beliefs”.

“There is time to reverse this decision at the next council meeting, and I’ll be there to help make that happen,” she said.

The petition will be presented to council on Wednesday.

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

Equality Australia legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said councils should offer services to everyone in their local community without discrimination.

“Children in rainbow families are cherished and loved. Councillors who say otherwise fuel bigotry that makes their lives harder, not easier,” he said.

“The council seems to be clinging to some kind of backward stereotype that people in western Sydney are bigoted and can’t decide for themselves what to borrow from the local library. The local community and its rainbow families deserve better than this.

“This book is part of an age-appropriate series about different types of families, some of which may have two mums or two dads. The attempt to erase these families from library shelves is disgraceful, as is any suggestion they are anything other than loving and nurturing environments for kids.

“If you don’t want to borrow the book, you don’t have to, but don’t deny others the chance to access books that reflect modern family life in Australia in 2024.”

It’s not the first time Cumberland Council has been at the centre of protest surrounding the queer community.

In February this year, the council passed a motion to ban drag queen “story time” events in which drag queens read books to children.

The ban was moved by councillor Paul Garrard and seconded by the council’s former mayor Steve Christou.

Read related topics:Sydney