AMSA President, James Lawler, highlighted the negative health effects of discriminatory marriage policies, with significant increases in psychiatric disorders amongst LGBTIQ persons living in states that banned gay marriage.
“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Australia are 2.47 times more likely to attempt suicide (4.28 times for gay and bisexual men) and are 1.5 times more likely to suffer depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and other substance dependence,” said Mr Lawler.
Mr Lawler quoted a 2010 study from the USA comparing lesbian, gay and bisexual populations living in states of the USA which instituted bans on same-sex marriage between 2001 and 2004-05. It found that in states where same-sex marriage bans were legislated, lesbian, gay and bisexual populations were more likely to experience worse mental health outcomes, including mood disorders, generalised anxiety disorders, alcohol use and psychiatric comorbidities.
“It has been well established that many of the factors which influence the health of individuals and populations are socially determined. It should come as no surprise that discriminatory laws regarding marriage are another example,” said Mr Lawler. “Much of this health disadvantage may be attributed to the phenomenon known as ‘minority stress’, which LGBTI persons experience in their struggle for validation and societal acceptance.”
“LGBTIQ youth are particularly vulnerable, experiencing more frequent and more serious suicide attempts than their heterosexual counterparts. We need to build an inclusive society which celebrates the union of two individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.”
“It would be appropriate for Sussan Ley to support marriage equality in her capacity as the Minister for Health. It is time for the Australian Parliament to stop considering this policy as a matter of ‘conscience’ and do what is in the best interests of the Australian people.”
For more information, visit: www.amsa.org.au for details.