Doctors, right wing MP support marriage equality
UPDATED 3:39pm: Former speaker Harry Jenkins and right wing Labor MP Gary Gray have both now confirmed they will vote in favour of same-sex marriage legislation.
Gray, the Special Minister of State and key member of the Labor’s Right faction, said allowing same-sex marriage will benefit lives.
''This change will improve the lives of people and the lives of future generations,” Gray (pictured) said.
''Every Australian should have the right to marry who they want, and every Australian should be able to marry who they love.''
Gray’s announcement came the same day as it was reported Labor whip Joel Fitzgibbon pushed the vote on same-sex marriage forward claiming a drawn out debate on the issue of marriage is damaging the government.
Australian Marriage Equality has since confirmed the vote on marriage equality legislation will not proceed until after parliament’s winter break.
“We have been assured by the government that there are still many Labor voices who want to put forward the case for marriage equality during this parliamentary debate, and a vote will not occur till August or September,” AME national convener Alex Greenwich said.
“Parliamentary support continues to grow, and highly respected people like Harry Jenkins supporting equality will certainly influence people on all sides of politics”
Greenwich added that the changing minds in politics on the issue of same-sex marriage shows how the issue is ultimately about people not politics.
"Research shows that denying marriage to same-sex couples only serves to increase stigma and a sense of social exclusion among gay and lesbian people, which has a direct negative impact on mental health.,” he said.
“Those Labor MPs who are pushing for marriage equality to be promptly debated and defeated are betraying the party grass roots who strongly support reform and want to see it achieved.”
Gray’s position on same-sex marriage is now supported by over 1,000 doctors and medical students who have signed a petition in response to the Doctors for the Family submission to the marriage equality inquiry.
The petition states that there are physical and mental benefits in allowing same-sex marriage and allowing it is in the public interest.
Doctors for Marriage Equality founder Dr Amanda Villis said that despite claims by Doctors for the Family there is evidence of ongoing discrimination in the Marriage Act.
“As doctors, it is our duty to advocate for the rights of all of our patients, regardless of their sexual orientation and I am pleased to announce that in only a few weeks our petition has been signed by over 750 doctors and almost 400 student doctors,” she said.
“The majority of Australian doctors, like the majority of Australian citizens, are in favour of marriage equality.
“It’s time for the federal government to listen, and make same-sex marriage legal.”
Doctors for Marriage Equality also refuted the claims by Doctors for the Family that children would suffer if same-sex marriage is allowed.
“30 years of medical research comparing children raised by same sex couples with children raised by opposite-sex couples has not shown any significant difference in any outcome, including personality, peer-group relationships, self-esteem, behavioural difficulties, academic success or any other measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial or behavioural adjustment,” Dr Villis said.
Doctors for Marriage Equality and Psychologists for Marriage Equality are preparing to speak to federal MPs and senators to present research which shows the mental health impacts of same-sex marriage.