Medical colleges and associations were quick to welcome the overwhelming vote in favour of legalising marriage equality in the national postal survey, whose results were announced yesterday morning.
Within minutes of the announcement in Canberra, the Australian Medical Association released a statement from its President Dr Michael Gannon. “It is time to end the discrimination and lift the health burden from our LGBTIQ population,” he said.
“Along with the majority of Australians, as shown by today’s survey result, the AMA believes that two loving adults should be able to have their relationship formally recognised.
“This is not a debate about same sex parenting or religious freedom or the school curriculum – it is about ending a form of discrimination. There are evidence-based health implications arising from discrimination.”
Dr Gannon said the AMA hopes to see an end all forms of discrimination against LGBTIQ Australians.
“It is now up to our Parliament to act,” he said.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) also rushed out a press release welcoming the majority yes vote in the postal survey.
“The RANZCP anticipates improved mental health outcomes for same-sex attracted people and their children with appropriate legislative change,” said its President Dr Kym Jenkins.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians tweeted that “the postal survey has confirmed what we already know: LGBTI Australians should be able to marry the person they love.”
The College, like the AMA and RANZCP, had already come out strongly in favour of marriage equality in statements prior to the postal survey, as had the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, which tweeted: “A momentous day for Australia, and a cause we’re proud to support”.
Conspicuous in its absence from the festivities, at the time of writing, was the Royal Australian College of GPs, which has not put out a statement or tweeted since the announcement. Nor has its president, Dr Bastian Seidel.
The RACGP had originally tried to remain neutral on the issue of same-sex marriage, but executed a dramatic U-turn under intense pressure from some of its members.
Dr Pansy Lai, a Sydney paediatrian and leading light of the “no” campaign said she hoped people’s parental rights would be protected.
“Now that the result of the marriage survey has come out, people will see the consequences that we have warned about (that will hopefully) not come about in a way detrimental to people who have a personal view about traditional marriage,” she told news.com.au.
Dr Lai said she hoped people’s livelihoods were not taken away if they believed in traditional marriage. She herself has been the target of a campaign to deregister her, following her appearance in a “no” television advertisement.