The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has distanced itself from “Doctors for the Family”, a group of around 150 doctors who have written to the Australian Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 claiming that same sex marriage is a health risk and that children of same sex couples were disadvantaged (go here for an ABC report on this topic).
The AMA, which represents around 27000 doctors in Australia, has moved to counter these claims, describing them as unscientific. According to AMA president, Steve Hambleton “There is a growing body of evidence that says there’s no difference in their (children of same sex couples)psychological development, their general health, their sexual orientation.”
It is good to see the AMA has move quickly to counter the bigoted and unscientific claims of this small minority of doctors in Australia. The opinions of doctors can hold quite a bit of weight for the general public, no matter how absurd or ridiculous they might be (just look the small number who support alternative therapies) so to have a national organisation publically challenge these claims is encouraging.
One only has to look at the arguments put forward by this group to see how irrational they are. Their senate submission contains no reliable evidence to back up their claims. Their concept of “evidence” is reminiscent of that supplied by supporters of alternative medicine – largely quotes from newspaper articles and books. Any quotes of a scientific nature appear to be either irrelevant or cherry picked.
Furthermore, this group seems to conflate marriage equality with child rearing.
Same sex couples who want children, probably already have them, irrespective, of whether they are married or not. And just because some same sex couples want to get married does not automatically mean they will want to have children.
The bigotry of this submission to the Senate comes across loud and clear in statements such as
“We further submit that legalisation of same sex marriage will have significant ramifications that have been confirmed by research and events here and elsewhere.
- the further “normalising” of homosexual behaviour through education with all the health consequences of that behaviour for our children”
At this point they quote HIV infection rates from the USA, as evidence of the consequence of “homosexual behaviour” overlooking:
a) that surely same sex marriage would support monogamous relationships, reducing the risk of HIV infection
b) that this must make lesbian couples perfect candidates for raising children, given their extremely low risk of HIV infection
Of course, expecting rational arguments from those expressing such bigoted opinions, is probably too much to ask. Indeed, it is what makes it so easy to spot their bigotry.