We are over 1000 Australian doctors and student doctors. We take our responsibility to our patients seriously, and we advocate for the rights of all of our patients, particularly those who are marginalised in society. We support the legalisation of same sex marriage, and we believe this is in the best interests of public health.
Why do we stand for equality?
- We believe in the Declaration of Geneva, in that “[we] will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between [our] duty and [our] patient[s]” 1
- We believe that not supporting marriage equality means discriminating against our GLBTI patients and implying that their relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships 2
- Marriage has proven health benefits and these are currently being denied to same sex couples. Married adults have been shown to have less physical and mental health problems, less disabilities, and were less likely to smoke or drink heavily; compared to adults who were cohabiting, single or separated.
- Research has proven that non-heterosexual persons have higher rates of mental illness and suicide; and this is significantly worsened by discrimination within society 3
- Recent research has shown that the legalisation of same sex marriage has had positive impacts on mental health of non-heterosexual persons living in those communities 4; and the same research has not shown any negative impact on heterosexual persons
- Some individuals are born with disorders of sex development, or intersex, and others experience gender identity disorder, or transsexualism. The current legal definition of marriage, based on gender, obviously prima facie fails the human rights of these Australian citizens
- The rates of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, are reduced amongst homosexual men in monogamous relationships. Therefore promoting long term monogamous relationships such as marriage in this population will improve the physical health of the gay community. 5
- Over 30 years of medical research comparing children raised by same sex couples with children raised by opposite sex couples has not shown any significant difference in any outcome, including personality, peer-group relationships, self esteem, behavioural difficulties, academic success or any other measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial or behavioural adjustment. 6
We support marriage equality for same sex couples, to improve health and well-being in Australia.
- World Medical Association – Declaration of Geneva. Accessible at http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/g1/index.html ↩
- Schoenborn CA. Marital status and health: United States, 1999–2002 Advance data from vital and health statistics; no 351. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. ↩
- Hatzenbuehler, M. The social environment and suicide attempts in lesbian, gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics Vol 127; 5; 896-903 ↩
- King, M & Bartlett, A. What same sex partnerships may mean for health. J Epidemiol Community Health 2006; 60: 188-191 ↩
- Klausner, JD et al. Same-sex domestic partnerships and lower risk behaviours for STDs, including HIV infection. J Homosex 2006;51(4): 137-144 ↩
- Pawelski, J et al. The effects of marriage, civil union and domestic partnership laws on the health and well-being of children. Pediatrics 2006 118;349 ↩