FASHION designers Dolce and Gabbana may have backtracked – slightly – on their controversial comments that children not raised by a mother and a father or born using IVF are a “fad” and “synthetic”, but an Australian advocate for kids in same-sex parent families has said the damage has already been done.

Sydney-based Rainbow Babies and Kids playgroup coordinator Justine Maguire-Scarvelli told the Star Observer that children with same-sex parents were in all likelihood already being questioned – or even bullied – by their classmates about the comments due to D&G’s comments being all over social media.

Meanwhile, NSW shadow transport minister and openly-gay mum of three Penny Sharpe has said the only thing that should matter in a family is love and care.

In comments to Italian magazine Panorama, Domenico Dolce said: “You are born and you have a father and a mother.

“Or at least that is how it should be, that’s why I am not convinced by what I call chemical children – synthetic babies, wombs for rent, semen selected from a catalogue.”

The designer also said “procreation must be an act of love” and that “life has its natural course, there are things that must not be changed and one of these is the family”.

Dolce’s business partner Stefano Gabbana chimed in: “The family is not a fad.”

According to the UK’s Telegraph, the duo also said: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.”

Condemnation was swift, with celebrities lining up to concur with Elton John following an Instagram post he made.

“How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’” he said.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions.”

In the wake of the uproar D&G have tried to play down the remarks, with Dolce telling the UK’s Independent newspaper: “I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions.”

However on Monday, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Gabbana had called John a fascist for not respecting alternative viewpoints.

“This is just an authoritarian way of seeing things: if you agree with me, good, otherwise I’ll attack,” Gabbana reportedly said.

Maguire-Scarvelli, who has a four-year-old, said it shocked her the pair had seemingly failed to consider the effect their comments would have on school-age children who were part of rainbow families.

“Its probably all over Twitter and the kids are hearing it and it stirs up all this negative feedback,” she said.

“I’m so shocked they made these comments saying children need to come from love because it’s children they’ve hurt.”

She said she was also appalled two gay men would have made such comments: “That’s the things that shocks me the most – the fact that they are a part of our community and yet can be so discriminative”.

Victorian AIDS Council chief executive Simon Ruth agreed, pointing out the designers had received significant support from the gay community.

“We continue to fight for the rights of the GLBTI community to create nurturing and loving families in the face of continued opposition from the church, some political parties and now it seems, has been fashion designers,” he said.

Sharpe, who is running as Labor’s candidate for the Newtown electorate in the NSW state election, said families were formed in many ways.

“All families are doing their best but none of them are perfect,” she said.

“The only thing that matter is that families love and care for one another.”

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