Petition now closed. Thanks for signing! Please see our website drs4equality.com for details of the next steps!
Facebook page is at - https://www.facebook.com/DoctorsForMarriageEquality
Contact e-mail address - email@example.com
We believe in marriage equality. We believe that marriage is about love, not gender. We believe that homophobia and intolerance leads to increased depression, anxiety, self harm and suicide. We believe as doctors we have a responsibility to stand up for our patients' rights, regardless of sexual orientation.
We want Australia to make same sex marriage legal.
Write your name and qualifications below to add your voice of support.
**Yes, we know the formatting of the letter is messed up - it will be fixed!
REFERENCE LIST (please contact me if you have more to add!):
1. Hatzenbuehler ML. The social environment and suicide attempts in lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. Pediatrics. 2011 May;127(5):896-903. Epub 2011 Apr 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21502225.1
2. King M, Semlyen J, Tai SS, Killaspy H, Osborn D, Popelyuk D, Nazareth I. A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people.BMC Psychiatry. 2008 Aug 18;8:70.
3. McNair R, Szalacha LA, Hughes TL. Health status, health service use, and satisfaction according to sexual identity of young Australian women. Womens Health Issues. 2011 Jan-Feb;21(1):40-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21185989.1
4. Meyer IH. Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychol Bull. 2003 Sep;129(5):674-97. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072932/?tool=pubmed
5. Hatzenbuehler ML. How does sexual minority stigma "get under the skin"? A psychological mediation framework. Psychol Bull. 2009 Sep;135(5):707-30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19702379.1
6. Carbone DJ. Treatment of gay men for post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from social ostracism and ridicule: cognitive behavior therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing approaches. Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Apr;37(2):305-16. Epub 2007 Aug 3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17674178.1
7. Burgess D, Tran A, Lee R, van Ryn M. Effects of perceived discrimination on mental health and mental health services utilization among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. J LGBT Health Res. 2007;3(4):1-14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19042907.1
8. McLaren S. The interrelations between sexual orientation, sense of belonging and dysphoria among Australian women. Women Health. 2006;43(3):123-37. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17194681.1
9. Plöderl M, Fartacek R. Suicidality and associated risk factors among lesbian, gay, and bisexual compared to heterosexual Austrian adults. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2005 Dec;35(6):661-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16552981.1
10. McNair R, Kavanagh A, Agius P, Tong B. The mental health status of young adult and mid-life non-heterosexual Australian women. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2005 Jun;29(3):265-71. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15991776.1
11. McAndrew S, Warne T. Ignoring the evidence dictating the practice: sexual orientation, suicidality and the dichotomy of the mental health nurse. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2004 Aug;11(4):428-34. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15255917.1
12. Bagley C, Tremblay P. Elevated rates of suicidal behavior in gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Crisis. 2000;21(3):111-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11265836.1
13. Herek GM, Gillis JR, Cogan JC. Psychological sequelae of hate-crime victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Dec;67(6):945-51. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10596515.1
14. Safren SA, Heimberg RG. Depression, hopelessness, suicidality, and related factors in sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Dec;67(6):859-66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10596508.1
15. Nanette Gartrell, Henny Bos; US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents. Paediatrics, Vol. 126 No. 1 July 1 2010 pp28-36 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/1/28
16. Timothy J Biblarz, Judith Stacey; How Does the Gender of Parents Matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 72, 1:3-22, Feb 2010. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00678.x/abstract;jsessionid=08EB4394CA79479599109E55BFAB0CBE.d01t04?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage
17. Pawelski J et al. The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children. Paediatrics. 2006 July 1; 349:364. - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/349.full
18. Psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic relationships of adolescents with same-sex parents
Author(s): Wainright, JL (Wainright, JL); Russell, ST (Russell, ST); Patterson, CJ (Patterson, CJ)
Source: CHILD DEVELOPMENT Volume: 75 Issue: 6 Pages: 1886-1898 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00823.x Published: NOV-DEC 2004
19. Richard G. Wight, Allen J. LeBlanc, Brian de Vries, and Roger Detels (2012). Stress and Mental Health Among Midlife and Older Gay-Identified Men. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300384. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/health-and-hiv-aids/stress-and-mental-health-among-midlife-and-older-gay-identified-men/
20. King M, Bartlett A. What same sex civil partnerships may mean for health. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006;60:188-191.
21. Herek GM. Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships in the United States: A Social Science Perspective. American Psychologist. 2006;61:607–21.
22. Adrien A, Beaulieu M, Leaune V, Perron M, Dassa C.Trends in attitudes toward people living with HIV, homophobia, and HIV transmission knowledge in Quebec, Canada (1996, 2002, and 2010). AIDS Care. 2012 Apr 26.
23. Jeffries WL 4th, Marks G, Lauby J, Murrill CS, Millett GA. Homophobia is Associated with Sexual Behavior that Increases Risk of Acquiring and Transmitting HIV Infection Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav. 2012 May 9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22569942.
24. Francis AM, Mialon HM. Tolerance and HIV. J Health Econ. 2010 Mar;29(2):250-67. Epub 2009 Dec 2. PubMed PMID: 20036431.
25. Transmission. Economists link bans on gay marriage to rise in HIV rates. AIDS Policy Law. 2009 Jul;24(8):3. PubMed PMID: 19702008.
26. Ducharme JK, Kollar MM. Does the "marriage benefit" extend to same-sex union?: evidence from a sample of married lesbian couples in massachusetts. J Homosex. 2012 Apr;59(4):580-91. PubMed PMID: 22500994
27. Hatzenbuehler ML, O'Cleirigh C, Grasso C, Mayer K, Safren S, Bradford J. Effect of same-sex marriage laws on health care use and expenditures in sexual minority men: a quasi-natural experiment. Am J Public Health. 2012 Feb;102(2):285-91. Epub 2011 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 22390442
28. Buffie WC. Public health implications of same-sex marriage. Am J Public Health. 2011 Jun;101(6):986-90. Epub 2011 Apr 14. PubMed PMID: 21493934
29. Rostosky SS, Riggle ED, Horne SG, Denton FN, Huellemeier JD. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals' psychological reactions to amendments denying access to civil marriage. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010 Jul;80(3):302-10. PubMed PMID: 20636935.
30. Riggle ED, Rostosky SS, Horne SG. Psychological distress, well-being, and legal recognition in same-sex couple relationships. J Fam Psychol. 2010 Feb;24(1):82-6. PubMed PMID: 20175612.
31. Patterson CJ. Children of lesbian and gay parents: psychology, law, and policy. Am Psychol. 2009 Nov;64(8):727-36. PubMed PMID: 19899878
32. Wainright JL, Patterson CJ. Peer relations among adolescents with female same-sex parents. Dev Psychol. 2008 Jan;44(1):117-26. PubMed PMID: 18194010
Doctors For Marriage Equality
We are a group of doctors and student doctors from all over Australia who believe in marriage equality. We believe that marriage is about love, not gender. More than that, we know that the health benefits of legalising same sex marriage far outweigh any perceived negative impact.
Legal marriage confers many benefits over and above simply living in a de facto relationship.i Social respectability, validation of the relationship and less societal discrimination will result for non-heterosexual persons if same sex marriage is legalised.i Legal marriage helps couples to attempt to resolve difficulties that inevitably arise rather than simply leave a relationship, and therefore increases the chance of a long term relationship lasting a lifetime. It would entitle same sex couples to the same protection against domestic violence, introduce rights to parents and children in terms of custody in the event of a relationship break up, and make it easier to recognise “next of kin” in a time of death or incapacity of their partner.
It has been well proven in medical research that the non-heterosexual community suffers with higher rates of depression, anxiety, self harm and suicide. This is exacerbated by increased stigma and discrimination within society. Specific laws excluding non-heterosexual relationships from marriage are a form of “legal discrimination” and this increases the burden of mental health problems for this population. Legalisation of same sex marriage and the societal recognition of the validity of these committed relationships has a positive impact on health. This has been shown recently in a study in Massachusetts, USA – non-heterosexual men were found to have significantly decreased expenditure on mental health in the 12 months after same sex marriage was legalised compared to the 12 months prior. This result was not affected by whether the men in question actually got married during that time – indicating that legalisation of same sex marriage was a validation of their sexual orientation and decreased discrimination and stigma, that was worsening their mental health.
The welfare of children is often brought up in arguments against same sex marriage. Over three decades of research into children raised by same-sex partnerships has not shown any significant difference in children in any measure, including personality, peer-group relationships, self esteem, behavioural difficulties, academic success or any other measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial or behavioural adjustment. While children of same sex relationships are slightly more likely to consider the possibility of a non heterosexual relationship themselves, there was no difference in the rates of children identifying as non-heterosexual compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics stated: “Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and supportive environment for their children...Gay and lesbian people have been raising children for many years and will continue to do so in the future, the issue is whether these children will be raised by parents who have the rights, benefits and protections of civil marriage.”
It is unfortunately true that homosexual men have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV when compared to heterosexual couples. However, it has been shown that men in domestic relationships have a significantly reduced rate of risk behaviours for STIs and this suggests that the encouragement of such relationships through the legalisation of same sex marriage would actually reduce the rate of STIs including HIV in this population. Of course, it must be stated that homosexual women have a far lower rate of STIs compared with the heterosexual population.
It is worth noting at this point that in all the decades of research, there is no evidence to suggest that any aspect of society or heterosexual marriage will be adversely affected by the legalisation of same sex marriage.
As doctors and student doctors, we take our responsibility to care for our patients seriously. It is our job to advocate for the best outcomes in health for society. Supporting marriage equality through legislation is good public health policy supported by the evidence-based literature.
(list of names)
King, M & Bartlett, A. What same sex partnerships may mean for health. J Epidemiol Community Health 2006; 60: 188-191
Wight, R et al. Stress and Mental Health Among Midlife and Older-Gay-Identified Men. American Journal of Public Health March 2012 Vol 102 No 3 pp503-510
King, M et al. A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry 2008 8:70
Hatzenbuehler, M. The social environment and suicide attempts in lesbian, gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics Vol 127; 5; 896-903
Mclaren, S. The interrelations between sexual orientation, sense of belonging and dysphoria among Australian women. Women and Health 2006 Vol 43;3;123-137
McNair, R et al. The mental health status of young adult and mid-life non-heterosexual Australian women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2005 29;3;265-271
Hatzenbuehler, M et al. 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 February 2012, Vol 102 No. 2 pp285-291
Wainwright, J et al. Psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes and romantic relationships of adolescents with same-sex parents. Child Development. Nov-Dec 2004 75;6;1886-1898
Gartrell, N & Bos, H. US National longitudinal lesbian family study: psychological adjustment of 17-year-old adolescents. Pediatrics 2010: 126;1;28-36
Pawelski, J et al. The effects of marriage, civil union and domestic partnership laws on the health and well-being of children. Pediatrics 2006 118;349
Klausner, JD et al. Same-sex domestic partnerships and lower risk behaviours for STDs, including HIV infection. J Homosex 2006;51(4): 137-144