Marriage Equality - Victorian Community Health Sector Joint Statement of Support

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The recent decision of the Australian Government to undertake a survey to ascertain the level of support for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people to marry, represents a significant risk to the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Victorians.

As leaders within, and advocates for, the health of our communities we want our LGBTIQ clients, community, consumers, families, and staff to know that we understand the sadness, anger and frustration this decision elicits, and that we stand with you in our commitment to contribute constructively to this process. We believe the case for marriage equality has been accepted in Australia and the vast majority of like nations.[1]

We appreciate that to require a popular vote on matters of equity is disrespectful and potentially divisive, and that for these reasons activists and advocates have strenuously sought to have the matter dealt with by the Parliament. Despite this, it seems likely that a postal survey may still proceed.

The benefit of equity to the health of communities is well established, as are the adverse impacts of discrimination.[2] As community and primary health organisations we will actively support individuals and communities to understand and participate in the survey process, and will advocate for a YES vote in order to help achieve community equity.

We will promote the opportunity this debate presents to optimise the social inclusion of LGBTI people. We will share what we know about the vital role rights and participation play in supporting good health and health equity.

We will be alert and ready to address the potential negative health impacts of stigmatisation, vilification, and discrimination, particularly on young people, children, those without support and those with mental health support needs. Where we can, we will offer support to LGBTI organisations and individuals to manage any adverse impacts.

We are optimistic that this public discussion will amplify the voices of those seeking more equitable and healthier communities. We call on our colleagues, community partners, professional associations, families and friends to join us in making clear their support at this important time.

[1] SBS News Article
[2] NCBI News Article
Marriage Equality Evidence Review

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