It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long, but at long last, there’s an Australian picture book about same-sex marriage. Yes, you read that right. Mummy & Mumma Get Married is their first one. Children’s books about alternative families are becoming increasingly common in countries like the U.S. and U.K., so it’s about time that Australian families had their own book to reflect their experience.
So why has it taken this long? Well, up until recently, the Australian Prime Minister was Tony Abbott, a conservative who’s pretty adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. While same-sex marriage is still illegal, it’s unlikely to be depicted in children’s books — and Roz Hopkins and Natalie Winter, the creators of Mummy & Mumma Get Married, found it difficult to get any support from publishing companies. (They ended up raising the money to publish through crowdfunding.) Australia has a new Prime Minister now, Malcolm Turnbull, but so far “the jury is out on whether or not he’ll help Mummy and Mumma to get married,” says Roz Hopkins.
Hopkins had the idea for Mummy & Mumma Get Married when putting her daughter to bed, and wondering how it must feel for her to have two parents not legally allowed to marry. “I wanted her to feel that she came from a structure that was recognized and validated,” Hopkins explained to The Guardian — and so she and her partner created this book to explain what was standing in the way.
Mummy & Mumma Get Married is a children’s book, but it’s also political enough for adults. It tells the story of a young girl called Phoebe, whose parents say they can’t get married until “you-know-who” agrees to come to the party. “You-know-who” is a less-than-subtle dig at ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott (whose illustrated likeness does show up at the end!) — but Hopkins and Winters were clear that it could be anyone. Whether it’s the government, family members, or another figure of authority in someone’s life, many same-sex couples face obstacles in their relationships, and this can be confusing for the children whose family structure is being called into question.
Here’s hoping that books like this one help children feel safe and secure — at least while we wait for an unfair system to change!