Australian doctors group opposes law change

Carolyn Moynihan
15 May 2012
Reproduced with Permission

A senior mental health professional in Australia is being hauled over the coals for signing a submission opposing same-sex marriage. A federal Senate inquiry was receiving submissions on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 up until April 2, and Professor Kuravilla George, Deputy Chief Psychiatrist of the state of Victoria and on the board of the state Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, signed one from the group Doctors for the Family, along with 149 other doctors.

The submission, headed by Perth GP Dr Lachlan Dunjey, was motivated by concern for the health of children growing up in same-sex headed households, reports ABC News Radio.

"It's well proven that children who grow up with a mother and a father in a biological mother-and-father family do better than children who don't have the opportunity to grow up in that kind of family," he said.

But the Australian Medical Association president has contradicted the group's claim, saying, "There is a growing body of evidence that says there's no difference in their psychological development, their general health, their sexual orientation." Dr Steve Hambleton says the opinions expressed by Doctors for the Family do not reflect the views of the wider medical community.

Gay and Green MPs have, of course, have attacked the submission -- one of a representative sample of 358 (from a total of 75,000) published on the inquiry website -- calling it "stupid" and discriminatory.

As for Professor George (pictured), word on Sunday was that Victoria's Mental Health Minister was seeking an urgent explanation from the former's boss over her deputy's decision to join forces with Doctors for the Family. Monday we read that the state's Deputy Premier Peter Ryan had absolved Prof George of all fault since he made his submission in a private capacity.

Today Prof George resigned from the HREO commission.

Would there have been the same fuss, and outcome, if he had signed up to the Psychologists for Marriage Equality submission?