Health organisations call on politicians to support marriage equality

Thirty six leading national health organisations have called on the Federal Government to put an end to marriage discrimination and legislate for marriage equality.

Tiernan Brady, Executive Director, The Equality Campaign welcomed the statement, saying the focus of the marriage equality debate should be people.

“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.”

Brady, who successfully lead Ireland’s campaign for marriage equality, said laws should never deliberately marginalize people.

“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”

Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON said the long running debate was harming the health of some Australians.

“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.

Parkhill called on all politicians to recognise the damaging effects of the long running debate.

“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.” Parkhill said.

His comments were echoed by his Victoria colleague Simon Ruth from the Victorian AIDS Council.

“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,” Ruth said.

The call for politicians to act has been supported by the following organisations.

ACON Health
AIDS Action Council of the ACT (AACACT)
Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM)
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
Australian Lesbian Medical Association
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF)
Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)
Australian Women’s Health Network
Black Dog Institute
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health
Chronic Illness Alliance
Drummond Street Services
EACH Social and Community Health
Family Planning Alliance Australia
Family Planning NSW
Family Planning Tasmania
Family Planning VIC
Family Planning Welfare Association Northern Territory
Life Without Barriers
Mental Health Australia
Mental Health First Aid
MIND Australia
Neami National
Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC)
Public Health Association of Australia
Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC)
Relationships Australia
Sexual Health Quarters (i.e Family Planning WA)
Shine SA (i.e. Family Planning SA)
Tasmanian council on AIDS Hepatitis and Related Diseases (TasCHARD)
Victorian AIDS Council (VAC)
Western Australian AIDS Council (WAAC)

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