A significant number of members of the Australian Medical Association have written a letter in favour of same sex marriage (although they are critical of those who use that term rather than ‘marriage equality’)
As a body of medical professionals we are concerned at the move by some of our colleagues to speak out against Marriage Equality. Referring to it as “same‐sex” marriage underscores some of the hurdles that are still to be overcome. The move for change is an issue of redressing a wrong, whereby the previous status quo has been to deny some sectors of our community the ability to access a fundamental right that is enjoyed by the majority. In much the same way as when racism was the norm people referred to “marriage” and “interracial marriage”, we now have individuals isolating some members of our community by placing their relationships in a different class: “same‐sex marriage.” As a group, our first step in addressing the injustices against this sector of our community is to be diligent in using the terms “marriage” and “marriage equality”
They are quite wrong here – ‘same sex marriage’ is a far more accurate descriptor than the loose words ‘marriage equality’. My wife and I have long practiced equality in our marriage.
But the most outrageous part of the letter is the claim
The emotional distress to the LGBQTI community of having a group of doctors publicly speak out against them being able to access fundamental human rights will show its effects in increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.
The footnote has three papers that have been cited, not one of which has anything to do with same sex marriage. One would hope that the many doctors who signed the letter had better research capacity, but apparently not. I want my doctor to understand clinical trials and good evidence, not make a claim which is not backed by evidence. There has been no scientifically valid study that shows that LGBTI people in Australia – who enjoy exactly the same protections in their same sex relationships as married heterosexual couples – are more likely to have depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal behaviours because they cannot call their relationship a ‘marriage’.
By all means argue for same-sex marriage. Even call it marriage equality if you must. But don’t try to submit Australians to emotional blackmail on the basis of a false claim of depression etc.
Do these doctors really believe that allowing same sex relationships – which have the same protections as marriage – to become marriages will suddenly reduce mental illness among LGBTI people? That’s absurd.
Perhaps Australians will vote in favour of same sex marriage. But they are more likely to vote ‘no’ if they feel bullied into a particular viewpoint.
I’m seriously considering voting ‘no’ because of the crap that the marriage equality lobby having been putting around. And yet I could care less about same sex marriage – I’m ambivalent and if a gay couple wish to call their relationship a marriage it doesn’t worry me in the slightest. But it concerns me a great deal to be subject to emotional blackmail and bullying.