Australia’s former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has asked for the anti-gay Australian Marriage Forum to apologize for linking her 2013 official apology to victims of forced adoption in Australia to their campaign to stop same-sex couples from being allowed to get married.
For decades in Australia unwed or single mothers had their babies taken from them against their will and given to other families, and the Australian Marriage Forum’s advertising campaign’s timing coincided with the start of the ‘Without Consent: Australia’s past adoption practices’ exhibition at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra.
Former Prime Minister Gillard opened the exhibition last week.
The commercial, which urges people to ‘think of the child,’ contains audio and video of Julia Gillard’s historic apology, in which she says the words, ‘the most primal and sacred bond there is – the bond between a mother and her baby.’
Notorious Australian anti-gay activist and ‘family doctor’ Dr David van Gend then quotes Gillard, saying ‘the most primal and sacred bond there is would be broken again’ if same-sex couples are allowed to marry in Australia.
Van Gend warns of a ‘motherless generation’ that will need to be apologized to like the estimated 250,000 victims of forced adoption in Australia ‘if we institute marriage without a woman which creates families without a mother.’
The Australian Marriage Forum also opposes lesbian couples from being able to marry in Australia regardless if one of the women is the mother of a child they are raising.
A spokesman for former Prime Minister Gillard told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was seeking legal advice about the commercial.
‘As well as being hurtful to those the subject of the apology, who have already suffered so much, Ms Gillard believes the video is offensive to gay couples, who are parents,’ the spokesman said.
Gillard is publicly opposed to same-sex marriage for what she has said are feminist reasons but she is not opposed to same-sex couples becoming parents.
Van Gend has said the Australian Marriage Forum has no plans to stop airing the commercial despite Julia Gillard’s disapproval of it.
‘We would expect Ms Gillard to see that her noble apology for violating that bond through forced adoption must still apply to not violating that same bond through instating marriage and adoption or surrogacy by two men,’ he told Fairfax newspapers.
Same-sex adoption has been legal in most Australian states for many years.
The campaign for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia, Australian Marriage Equality (AME) praised Gillard’s rejection of the Australian Marriage Forum’s misuse of her words but hoped that she would come to evolve in her understanding of the issue.
‘It is deeply offensive to compare children being raised lovingly and happily by same-sex couples to those who suffered the trauma of forced adoption,’ AME deputy director Ivan Hinton-Teoh said earlier today.
‘Generations of studies have shown the children of same-sex couples are just as well adjusted as other children, and that it is love, not gender, that makes a family.
‘We hope that Julia Gillard well recognize that the kind of condescending prejudices against single mums and poorer families that led to forced adoption also lay behind today’s campaign against equality for same-sex couples and their families.’