North Richmond Community Health and the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health call for the Australian Government to legislate for marriage equality.
“The government has an obligation to protect the health and wellbeing of Australian citizens,” says North Richmond Community Health CEO Demos Krouskos. “However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) Australians are enduring significant mental and physiological damage as a result of continuing marriage discrimination.”
As leading health organisations, both North Richmond Community Health and the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health have witnessed the impact of discrimination on the basis of sexuality upon our clients and communities. Many of the people we work with experience compounded discrimination as migrants and refugees.
It is our duty to provide health, medical and social services to promote equity for all. However, equitable health outcomes for LGBTIQ individuals are not achievable while marriage discrimination persists.
Marriage equality, and other measures to reduce stigma, have been shown to improve health outcomes for LGBTIQ individuals. Currently, LGBTIQ people have the highest rates of suicidality of any population group in Australia, as a direct result of discrimination and exclusion. It is unacceptable for the government to perpetuate this discrimination.
Furthermore, we do not support any extra-parliamentary process which is likely to be divisive and cause further damage to the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Australians.
Instead, we urge our elected representatives to legislate for marriage equality at the earliest opportunity.
“This is a chance to make a vast improvement to the health and wellbeing of many Australians,” says Krouskos.
“It is a matter of urgency that the Australian Government ends the current discriminatory legislation which prevents same-sex couples from marrying.”
North Richmond Community Health joins a growing number of health organisations calling for marriage equality, including the Australian Medical Association.