Australian senator: Kids shouldn’t have to know gay parents exist

Senator Ian Macdonald, who has repeatedly asked his Senate committee about gay parents, makes a point of order during the debate of the marriage equality bill in the Senate at Parliament House on November 29, 2017 in Canberra, Australia

Australian senator Ian Macdonald has said that people have the right to stop their children from learning about gay parents.

Macdonald was chairing a Senate committee examining a bill which would ban religious bodies from discriminating against LGBT+ school students.

During a session on Thursday (February 7), he said, “The majority of families… might not want their children to think about children with two dads,” according to Australian news site Junkee.

A child looks at a book

Ian Macdonald was chairing a committee about a bill which would force religious bodies to stop LGBT+ discrimination against students (Pexels)

“Whether that’s right or wrong is irrelevant from my point of view, but it does show that other people have rights too,” he added.

Ian Macdonald has repeatedly asked how straight kids will feel about gay parents

Macdonald, who has been a Liberal senator for Queensland since 1990, also asked the committee on Wednesday (February 6) for more consideration to be shown to children with straight parents.

According to a Hansard transcript, he told Rainbow Families Victoria executive director Felicity Marlowe: “I think you said children would be discouraged in a faith-based school from saying they have two dads—I think you said something like that.

“Does that make the other children in the school uncomfortable about what would be, I suspect, strange to them—that one of their classmates can have two fathers and not be like them?

“What about the others? Would they feel uncomfortable or discriminated against?”

— Ian Macdonald about children of straight parents

“Does it make them feel uncomfortable, and do they then have rights or feelings that then become confused?”

Macdonald later revisited this line of questioning, referring to children of straight parents when he asked: “What about the others? Would they feel uncomfortable or discriminated against?”

Fellow committee member Janet Rice, who is also the Greens’ LGBTIQ+ spokesperson, responded to the comments by telling Junkee: “According to Ian Macdonald’s flawless logic, his personal uneasiness about two men sharing a bed means that school students shouldn’t know if their friends have gay dads. Or something.

“His comments demonstrate exactly why we need to remove discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people in schools. We LGBTIQ+ people exist, it’s time Macdonald gets over it.”

Australian Senator Ian Macdonald has gone viral before for all the wrong reasons

Macdonald is chairing a committee looking at The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, which is sponsored by out senator Penny Wong.

Wong, the first openly gay woman to sit in Parliament, went viral in 2017 with a retort to Macdonald after she was repeatedly interrupted during a speech.

The leader of the Opposition in the Senate responded by saying: “Senator Macdonald really does have an unhealthy obsession with me.”

After MacDonald challenged this statement, she quipped: “You’re not my type either mate, don’t worry about it.”

The put-down went viral, attracting more than 225,000 views.