Our son has finally come out and told us he is gay.
We had suspected as much for some time but the topic was never broached. Then, when Tim came out on Facebook, it was time to talk. During his next visit, father and son decided to ride to Huskisson and Garry jumped in.
"You know, Tim, we talk about everything but we never talk about your sexuality," he said.
Tim gulped: "Well, Dad, you know I'm gay."
"Yes, and that's not a problem. I love you and I am so proud of you. I just want you to be open with me."
Being a fiercely heterosexual man, Garry initially struggled with the issue of his son's sexual orientation when it became obvious six years ago.
But he has come to accept that it is an intrinsic part of Tim's make-up; he is the same beautiful boy, he just happens to be attracted to the same sex.
Garry's also stopped blaming himself and the fact that he was not a constant presence after the marriage to Tim's mother broke down. Instead he has accepted this wonderful young man for what he is and reaffirmed his love for him.
Society generally has travelled a similar path of acceptance. In the late 19th century, homosexuality was still classified as a disease and 50 years ago it was still regarded as a mental disorder.
The turning point came in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association stated that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities".
But it took until 1990 for the World Health Organisation to remove its classification of homosexuality as a mental illness.
Today it is widely believed that homosexuality and bisexuality are normal variants of human sexuality. In Australia, laws regarding sexual activity apply equally to same-sex and heterosexual couples and same-sex relationships are legally recognised as de facto couples.
But there is still the hoary issue of marriage. In Australia, it is explicitly defined as a union between a man and a woman, denying gay and lesbian couples legal status.
This flies in the face of popular opinion, with a 2010 Galaxy poll showing 62 per cent of the population supporting same-sex marriage, and that number climbing to 80 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.
What is so surprising is the ill-informed comment surrounding the current political debate about legalising gay marriage.
Arguments against it include claims it will destroy the institution of marriage, encourage polygamy, lead to the spread of same-sex unions, harm children in these relationships and even bring about divine retribution.
At the heart of these arguments is the archaic belief that homosexuality is a chosen behaviour, it is immoral and does not deserve special protection under the law.
Our politicians have the power to set a new agenda and stop the flagrant inequality, but it's going to be a drawn-out battle.
A bill to legalise same-sex marriage was defeated in federal Parliament on September 19, as was another in Tasmania last week.
It is bizarre our gay brothers and sisters, sons and daughters continue to be denied the right to legalise their unions. Our hope is that Tim will soon have the right to formalise a union with his partner in the same way his sisters will with their future husbands.