Australian Psychologists Push Teaching Gay Marriage Support, Gender Transition for Young Kids

(Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappell)Eight year old student Zachary Lanterman, who is home schooled, works on class work at the computer at the Pride School in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 7, 2016.

A group of psychologists in Australia have released a guide urging parents and teachers to be supportive of children questioning their gender identity and to back gay marriage.

Opposing ads from groups defending traditional marriage as a union between one man and one woman have warned that legalizing gay marriage could lead to boys wearing dresses in school, however.

The guide from the Australian Psychological Society, released on Tuesday ahead of September's nationwide postal plebiscite regarding the question of legalizing gay marriage, encourages parents to teach primary and secondary schoolchildren to support the practice.

"Another misconception is that some people worry that children will be harmed in same-sex families, and believe that children do better when they have both a mother and father. This is not true, but also irrelevant to the marriage equality debate," the guide claims in its advice to parents on what they should tell their children about marriage.

"What's important is to have a family that loves and cares for you (regardless of their gender or sexual orientation)."

What is more, the guide tells parents to let their children know "that it's OK to question one's sexual orientation (i.e., who you are attracted to) or one's gender identity, and that there are many different ways for people to 'be' in the world."

Groups defending the traditional definition of marriage have warned that schools are taking away parents' rights, however.

"School taught my son that he could be in a dress next year if he felt like it," one parent says in a video ad released by the Coalition for Marriage on Monday, which is urging Australians to vote 'no' on gay marriage.

Another woman says that "kids in year seven are being asked to role play being in a same-sex relationship."

Marriage advocates in the video further warn that "when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program becomes widespread and compulsory."

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest religious group in Australia, has rejected arguments that voting against gay marriage means that someone is homophobic.

"It is unworthy to suggest that those who argue against the proposed redefinition of marriage are homophobic or some way lacking in intellectual depth," Archbishop Timothy Costelloe wrote in a letter earlier in August.

"It is unfair to suggest that they are trying to force their views on others. It is cruel to claim that such people are devoid of love, compassion or understanding of those in same-sex relationships."

Costelloe added that the Church's longstanding position on marriage is based on its "convictions about the beauty and dignity of marriage understood as a union of a man and woman for life, and as the best way to provide for the upbringing of children."

Others, such as Hillsong Church Senior Pastor Brian Houston, have also urged Christians to participate in the nationwide plebiscite and make their voices heard.

"I believe God's Word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. The writings of the Apostle Paul in Scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear, as I have mentioned in previous public statements," Houston said in a statement.

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