More than 35 leading health organisations across Australia have united to call on the Federal Government to legislate for marriage equality and put an end to marriage discrimination.
“The longer we delay marriage equality, the longer people in LGBTI communities will experience the negative health impacts of being denied access to the same rights, privileges, responsibilities and institutions as the rest of the population,” the organisations said in a joint statement released on Friday.
“This is a burden on these communities as well as our health system.
“The evidence clearly shows that LGBTI communities have significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide than the general population.
“LGBTI people have poorer health outcomes not because of who they are, but because of societal stigma, discrimination and prejudice that results in their ill treatment and social isolation.
“In addition, given past negative experiences, some LGBTI people are also reluctant to access healthcare services, resulting in delayed treatment, which further contributes to poor health outcomes.
“Australians have always valued the principle of a fair go for everyone, but LGBTI Australians are not getting a fair go when it comes to marriage, and this inequality is negatively impacting their health.”
The Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady welcomed the statement and said it was time for politicians to do their job and pass the reform.
“Our laws should never deliberately marginalize and exclude one group of people,” he said.
“Marriage equality is about real people, our friends and family, teammates and work colleagues who just want the same dignity as everyone else in their families.
“This statement by so many groups representing the people who take care of the health and well being of all Australians is an important and timely reminder of this.”