National Health Organisations Unite

11 Aug, 2017

We are proud to be one of 36 leading health organisations across the nation who have united together and called on the Federal Government to legislate for marriage equality and put an end to marriage discrimination.

Tiernan Brady, Executive Director, The Equality Campaign welcomed the statement, “It’s easy in the middle of all the politics to forget what or rather who this is about.

“Marriage equality is about real people, our friends and family, teammates and work colleagues who just want the same dignity as everyone else in their families. This statement by so many groups representing the people who take care of the health and well being of all Australians is an important and timely reminder of this.

“Our laws should never deliberately marginalize and exclude one group of people. It is time for our politicians to do their job and pass marriage equality. Our family and friends deserve better” Tiernan Brady continued.

Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON said, “There is conclusive evidence that LGBTI people experience higher levels of depression, anxiety disorders, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide compared to the general population because of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and exclusion. These health conditions are exacerbated by the ongoing marriage equality debate in this country. This protracted discourse is harming people, creating segregation and contributing to poorer health outcomes.

“We call on our elected representatives to recognise the negative health consequences of marriage discrimination, to legislate for marriage equality and to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people. Marriage equality is beyond politics – real people, Australian families, dignity and importantly, health, are at the centre of this issue” Nicholas Parkhill said.

“The Marriage Equality debate is harming the health and wellbeing of Australians. We do not need to debate any longer. We do not need a $160 million plebiscite. What we need is to treat LGBTI Australians with the same dignity and equal rights as everyone else,” Simon Ruth, CEO, Victorian AIDS Council. “Young people overwhelmingly support marriage equality and tell us it’s a really important issue to them. For ReachOut, supporting marriage equality is a ‘no brainer’," ReachOut CEO, Jono Nicholas said.

Relationships Australia WA is committed to social justice and inclusion and respects the human rights of all people regardless of religious views, political persuasion, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes the rights of all people to non-discrimination and equality before the law. 

Given that diversity of sexuality and gender identity are fundamental human rights, Relationships Australia WA celebrates people’s freedom to enjoy healthy relationships in all their diversity.

Terri Reilly, CEO of Relationships Australia WA, said: “We believe that marriage equality for same-sex couples is a matter of natural justice. It’s also in the interest of the Australian community and society will be enhanced once we remove this discrimination that stops gay and lesbian couples from becoming legally married.”

For information on the LGBTI communities’ response to the senate inquiry that provides a cross-party pathway for marriage equality click here.

ACON Marriage Equality Heath Statement

As leading health organisations we call on the Australian Government to legislate for marriage equality and put an end to marriage discrimination.

 It is our shared professional opinion, based on conclusive evidence, that denying people the right to marry is harmful to their health and wellbeing.1

The longer we delay marriage equality, the longer people in LGBTI communities will experience the negative health impacts of being denied access to the same rights, privileges, responsibilities and institutions as the rest of the population.2 This is a burden on these communities as well as our health system.

The evidence clearly shows that LGBTI communities have significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide than the general population.3

LGBTI people have poorer health outcomes not because of who they are, but because of societal stigma, discrimination and prejudice that results in their ill treatment and social isolation.

In addition, given past negative experiences, some LGBTI people are also reluctant to access healthcare services, resulting in delayed treatment, which further contributes to poor health outcomes.

Australians have always valued the principle of a fair go for everyone, but LGBTI Australians are not getting a fair go when it comes to marriage, and this inequality is negatively impacting their health.

Discriminatory legislation is an impediment to LGBTI people achieving the highest attainable standard of health. In line with our human rights obligations, Australia must legislate for marriage equality.

Our elected representatives have the opportunity to create lasting and positive change that the community supports. It is time to legislate for marriage equality, and help close the health gap created by marriage discrimination against LGBTI Australians.

1.  http://www.acon.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Marriage-Equality-Evidence-Review_web.pdf; https:// ama.com.au/system/tdf/documents/Marriage%20Equality%20-%202017%20-%20AMA%20position%20statement. pdf?file=1&type=node&id=46077; https://www.ranzcp.org/Files/Resources/College_Statements/Position_Statements/PS-83LGBTI-mental-health-2016.aspx; https://mhaustralia.org/general/marriage-equality-statement

2.  http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2604258

3.  http://lgbtihealth.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/SNAPSHOT-Mental-Health-and-Suicide-Prevention-Outcomes-for-LGBTIpeople-and-communities.pdf; https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/75106/report.pdf

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