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Gay Dads of Australia Say: It's Time for Marriage Equality

On September 12, the Australian public will be asked if they support marriage equality.

Why isn't same-sex marriage already legal in Australia?

The government has been stalling and the previous prime minister, Tony Abbott, had rejected calls to allow his MPs to vote on same-sex marriage, and instead proposed a plebiscite - a compulsory national vote. Abbott was removed from his party's leadership when Malcolm Turnbull, a supporter of gay marriage, led an internal coup and replaced him as prime minister.

But when Turnbull became the PM, he decided to stick with the plebiscite. Just last year, Turnbull's party was reelected, and the plebiscite is finally happening. Once they hear from the Australian people, the government will vote on the issue.

We're showing our support to all our families in Australia and raising our voices with them! And what better way to show that #LoveIsLove! than through the perspectives and photos of Australian gay families. We caught up with some dads to ask them what legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia would mean to them.

Dale and Paul with Alysia from Brisbane, Queensland, currently living in NYC

"Before our daughter came into our lives, marriage equality meant having the option to celebrate our love without difference and in the same way our friends and family could with their partners. Today we fight for equality so that our daughter's future can be free from discrimination and unnecessary hurt that comes from this ugly debate. Now and always we will stand by equality in every single way to pave the way to a kinder world for our children. Love is Love!" - Dale and Paul

Cohen and Murray with Charlee from Kiama, New South Wales

"[Marriage equality] would mean the world to us as it gives us legal security for our future as a family." - Cohen and Murray

Josh with his kids, Gold Coast

"My love is no different to yours. I want my kids to know that they can love whomever they choose no matter race, religion or gender. I will always be ready to support them and walk down the aisle. Vote YES and end this debate. #Loveislove." - Josh

David and Billy with Christian, South Australia

"The legalizing of same-sex marriage for our family means that our relationship would finally be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We would have the protection, security and certainty that if something were to happen (God forbid) to one of us, the other would be protected financially as well as our sons. This is also really important to pave the way for the future LGBTI generations to ensure they grow up in a country that is full of love and respect." - David and Billy

Andy and Simon with Adaline, Melbourne, Victoria

"It would mean the world to us. Firstly, for the simply joy of sharing our love and commitment with family and friends; but secondly to be recognised by the law and society in which we live - to have a world in which our family is no more or less than any other."

"Most of all, marriage equality is not just about us but the culture in which future LGBTI kids grow up. We know, first hand, that being "different" can be difficult and painful. However, kids who feel "different" at school don't have the same life experience as us to know that they'll be ok. Having same-sex marriage legalised would be a strong message to these kids that who they are is everything they need to be and that they are as good and as loved as everyone else. Life is for everyone." - Andy and Simon

Blue and Shaun with their kids, South Australia

"Australia has a duty to legitimize all love and acknowledge all families. Marriage equality will finally do this!" - Blue and Shaun

Holt and Simon with Olivia, Brisbane, Queensland

Legalizing same-sex marriage means we are another step forward in achieving equal rights just like every other Australian citizen. Holt and I may not feel a need to marry just right now, but if we do one day that should be OUR choice without any outdated law or debate or judgment." - Simon and Holt

Paul and Michael with Levi, Sydney, Australia

"It's so important for same-sex families like ours. It recognizes the fact that we've been married for 5 years (we were officially married in NYC) and that we can legitimately call each other husband without having to explain to our son that our country doesn't believe in our union. It will limit those who are against same-sex marriage from having a platform to disparage our family." - Michael and Paul

Mike and Colin with Jack and Maple, Sydney, New South Wales

"Australia is an amazingly beautiful country to live in. Legalizing same-sex marriage would allow the LGBTI community here to have the same basic human rights as everyone else and the option to love who you want to love. One day our family would be recognized as normal without negative bias or labels." - Colin and Mike

Drew and Joseph with their kids, Sydney, Australia

"Legalizing same-sex marriage would mean the world to us. Our children would love to be a part of our wedding, sharing in the whole experience that brings us closer together as a family. We lived in Canada for a couple of years, where same-sex marriage is a reality, and has been for over a decade. We got to meet a few legally married families who experienced what it's like to not have to worry about things that other people take for granted."

"We have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees ensuring that our family is protected in the case of one or either of us becoming incapacitated, giving each of us power of attorney and guardianship over one another. [That is] something we wouldn't have to consider if we were allowed to marry."

"For our children, it wouldn't change anything for them as they still see us as "Daddy" and "Da" and a piece of paper won't change that. It will however protect us all as a family, and that means the world to us." - Drew and Joseph

Answers edited for clarity.

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Gay Dad Life

Is Australian Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Soon to Be a Dad?

Ian Thorpe recently announced he and his long-term partner Ryan Channing hope to become dads via surrogacy soon.

Ian Thorpe, a former Olympic swimmer for Australia, recently announced that he and his long-term partner Ryan Channing are planning to become dads via surrogacy sometime soon. Thorpe, a gold medalist who came out as gay after he retired from swimming, says he and his partner are looking for a surrogate in Los Angeles because the laws in Australia remain too restrictive.

"Becoming parents is something that Ian and myself would love to make happen,' Channing said in an interview. "Unfortunately the laws in Australia are difficult for same sex males in regards to surrogacy — California state law has really progressed in this space which makes it the best option legally."

Since retiring, Thorpe has been a vocal advocate for anti-bullying and gay marriage in Australia, and now looks to use his platform to advocate for less restrictive surrogacy laws for gay couples in the country.

Read more here.


Male Penguins at Australian Aquarium Given Foster Egg to Raise

Staff at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium began to suspect that the penguins, Magic and Sphen, were bonding earlier this year when they started bowing to each other.

And now for your daily does of awwww.... Staff at a Sydney aquarium have provided two male gentoos penguins with a foster egg for the couple to rear.

Staff at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium began to suspect that the penguins, Magic and Sphen, were bonding earlier this year.

"We'd go over there and Magic and Spehn would be bowing to each other," said Tish Hannan, one of the aquariums keepers, according to ABC. Tish added that bowing is a way for gentoo penguins to say they love each other, "which is super cute."

The penguins were first given a "dummy" egg so they could practice their parenting skills. "They immediately knew exactly what it was and started incubating it," Tish said.

Interestingly, gentoo penguins split parenting responsibilities equally between the sexes. "We're not going to need to step in just because they're males," she said.

Read the full ABC article here.

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The dads say their star turn on the popular HGTV show is all thanks to their two-year-old son, Theo, who charmed the producers

"I'm really not sure what our lives were like before having our son," pondered Matt. "I remember always doing stuff, but I have no idea how I wasted all that personal time that I find so precious now. I took so many showers without someone trying to pull all the towels down to make a bed on the bathroom floor. It must have been nice, but also wasn't as memorable."

Matt DeLeva and fiancé Joseph Littlefield met in 2014 at a Pride event at the San Diego Zoo, and have a 2-year-old son Theo through adoption. For this Los Angeles-based couple, and like many others, becoming dads was an emotional rollercoaster. Before being matched with Theo's birth family, they had two other connections with birth moms that didn't work out. "Each was upsetting," said Matt. "When you talk to birth mothers, you start to get excited and mentally plan your future. When it doesn't work out, it feels like a loss."

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Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

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Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

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In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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