Pyne: Schools must teach tolerance for children of same-sex couples

On Thursday, Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, told the National Press Club in Canberra that schools should teach “respect and understanding” for the diversity of Australian society, arguing same-sex couples and their children deserve to be tolerated.

The Minister added that the number of children in same-sex households had ultimately changed his stance on the issue of marriage equality.

“The reality of the society in which we live is there are a lot of households with same-sex parents and one of the things that’s changed a lot in the last five to 10 years is the number of children in households of same-sex couples,” Pyne said.

“It’s the primary reason why I’ve changed my mind about marriage equality. There’s always a role for the school system to teach people respect and understanding of the diversity of the society in which we live.”

Pyne said that while he had not seen the Gayby Baby documentary, he acknowledged school programs that highlighted the importance of tolerance and diversity in society.

“I haven’t seen this movie – I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t comment – but we do have other programs in schools to serve this purpose,” Pyne said.

The NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has come out in support of the Gayby Baby documentary, saying it was the responsibility of schools “to provide students with an understanding of diversity, inclusion and respect”.

NSWTF president, Maurie Mulheron, said recent media had sought to “intimidate” schools into not showing the documentary, which he said gave “a human face to a non-traditional family setting”.

"The Federation is disappointed that the Murdoch press is attempting to intimidate schools into not showing the film, Gayby Baby,” Mulheron said in a statement.
“This award winning documentary shares the stories of children being raised in same-sex families as they each wrestle with the challenges of oncoming adolescence, and gives a human face to a non-traditional family setting."