Rodney Croome TGLRG MR March 11, 2008

GAY RIGHTS advocates have called Tasmanian-born TV star, Jaason Simmons, a role model for young gay Tasmanians following Mr Simmons’ revelation that he has a male partner he intends to marry and that the couple have an adopted son.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said that many young gay Tasmanians still grow up feeling isolated and stigmatised.

“The success of Jaason Simmons, both in his professional and personal life, sends a message to young gay Tasmanians that they can achieve their goals, and need not be limited by other people’s prejudices”, Mr Croome said.

Jaason Simmons was the only Australian-born star of the 90s TV hit Baywatch. He has since starred in a wide range of acting roles and has also achieved prominence as a defender of Tasmania’s world-class environment.

In this week’s New Idea, Mr Simmons revealed he has a same-sex partner, Irish actor, John O’Callaghan, that they intend to marry in Canada, and that they have a six-year old adopted Ugandan son.

Mr Croome said it was a slap in the face to such prominent Australians as Jaason Simmons that the Australian Government refuses to recognise overseas same-sex marriages.

“Even after Jaason Simmons’ is married in Canada, his vows will be ignored under Australian national law and he will be treated as if he is single, Mr Croome said.

Mr Simmons’ home island of Tasmania is the only Australian state which allows gay civil unions.

As yet Tasmanian civil unions have no status in national law, although they are recognised overseas.