The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) reaffirms its support for marriage equality and calls on the Australian Government to remove discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) Australians in same-sex relationships and their families.
RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland said: “We believe the public health case for marriage equality is strong and that changing the legal definition of marriage will be an important step towards ensuring legal, societal and health equity for all LGBTI Australians and their families.
“Importantly, we don’t support the claim that children raised by same-sex couples experience poor psychological health. If a child is raised in an environment that is characterised by love, consistency and stability, their psychological health and needs can be met. “In 2004, the Australian Government amended the Marriage Act 1961 to exclude same-sex couples from the institution of marriage by defining marriage as ‘the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’.
“This explicit exclusion is a significant example of institutionalised discrimination. It has served only to stigmatise and marginalise LGBTI Australians and their families and reinforce negative mental and physical health outcomes that result from socially isolating these members of our community.
“Evidence suggests that changing the legal definition of marriage to include LGBTI Australians and affording them the same social validation and legal status of committed heterosexual relationships will bring about improved health outcomes for this population.
“The RACP stands with LGBTI Australians on this issue. We call on the Australian Government to support marriage equality so that same-sex and transgender couples can marry, regardless of their gender identity.”
References that have informed the RACP’s position are below:
Bansel P, Denson N, Ovenden G, Davies C. 2014. Growing Up Queer – Issues Facing Young Australians Who are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse. Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre – University of Western Sydney. Crouch. S.R, Waters. E, McNair. R, Power. J, Davis. E. (2014) Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health2014 14:635. Available from: http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-635 Crouch, S. R., Waters, E., McNair, R. and Power, J. (2015), The health perspectives of Australian adolescents from same-sex parent families: a mixed methods study. Child Care Health Dev, 41: 356–364. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cch.12180/full Australian Institute of Family Studies (2013) ‘Same-sex parented families in Australia’. CFCA Paper No. 18 Published December 2013. 26 pp. Available at: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/same-sex-parented-families-australia/introduction Hatzenbuehler ML, McLaughlin KA, Keyes KM, Hasin DS. 2010. The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: a prospective study. American Journal of Public Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20075314 Hatzenbuehler ML, O'Cleirigh C, Grasso C, Mayer K, Safren S, Bradford J. 2012. Effect of same-sex marriage laws on health care use and expenditures in sexual minority men: a quasi-natural experiment. American Journal of Public Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22390442 Herdt, G. R Kertner, 2006 I Do, but I Can’t: The Impact of Marriage Denial on the Mental Health and Sexual Citizenship of Lesbians and Gay Men in the United States. Journal of Research and Social Policy, March 2006 Lennox, K. B. Acosta, K.L. Wright, E.R. (2015) ‘State-Level Marriage Equality and the Health of Same-Sex Couples’, Am J Public Health June 2015; 105(6): 1101–1105.