15 September 2017
‘It’s a health issue’: doctors to rally for marriage equality
Doctors will take over Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD tomorrow to add their support to the push to allow same-sex marriage.
“I am calling for us as a profession to help stop discrimination against our colleagues and our patients,” Dr Brad Frankum, president of AMA NSW, said.
“As a medical profession, we look after people without fear or favour. We are satisfied that discrimination in any form has adverse consequences on people’s mental health.”
Changing the marriage laws might go some way towards reducing discrimination and lowering the unacceptably high rates of mental illness in the LGBTQI community, Dr Frankum said.
The doctors’ rally follows hard on the heels of a 30,000-strong gathering outside Town Hall Square in Sydney last week calling for marriage equality.
Doctors were a respected authority in the community and hosting a separate rally would put a spotlight on the health issues at stake, Dr Frankum said.
“I think we are completely justified in holding our own rally and providing that unique voice.”
Dr Frankum will be attending the rally along with the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, Professor Kerryn Phelps, and former AMA president Professor Brian Owler.
The rally, organised by AMA NSW, coincides with the first week of the national postal survey on same-sex marriage.
The first ballots were mailed out this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, asking the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
Dr Bhushan Joshi, the chair of Glad Australia, an organisation that enters a doctors’ float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, urged doctors to attend the rally.
“If there are too few doctors, it looks silly,” he said.
Dr Joshi, an emergency medicine registrar, said he was using the Glad Australia network to drum up support for the rally, but was not involved in organising the event.
He encouraged doctors to wear scrubs and bring banners.
“It needs to look good and it needs to be bold,” he said. “We need to be standing in our own uniforms and saying … ‘this is who we are and we think it’s a health issue’.”
Spotted at the Sydney rally last weekend:
(Lead photo by Kiri Claudine Simon)