AMA raises health concerns in same-sex marriage debate

The Australian Medical Association is the latest to put its weight behind the same-sex marriage campaign.

Releasing a position statement on marriage equality on Saturday, AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage had significant mental and physical health consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning Australians.

He has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten highlighting the association’s position.

“Discrimination has a severe, damaging impact on mental and physiological health outcomes, and LGBTIQ individuals have endured a long history of institutional discrimination in this country,” Dr Gannon said. “This discrimination has existed across the breadth of society; in our courts, in our classrooms, and in our hospitals.

“It is the AMA’s position that it is the right of any adult and their consenting adult partner to have their relationship recognised under the Marriage Act 1961, regardless of gender.”

It is encouraging to see a body such as the AMA taking a firm stand on an important issue.

It is also encouraging that Health Minister Greg Hunt openly supports marriage equality, and that more and more Australian politicians are stating their views.

People who oppose same-sex marriage, such as the Australian Christian Lobby, hold the view that it would impede on children’s rights. Given that gay couples can already legally adopt in Australia makes that argument rather redundant.

Homosexuality is no longer a crime or considered a psychiatric disorder. As Dr Gannon says, many of these inequalities have already been rightly nullified.

It’s time Australia took that final step to reach unconditional equality and allow two consenting adults to marry.