After previously holding a neutral position on what it calls the “prolonged and unnecessary marriage equality debate” the Council of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has expressed support for a ‘Yes’ vote on the same-sex marriage question posed in the national postal ballot.
Noting it could not speak on behalf of all members on the issue, the RACGP President, Dr Bastian Seidel has issued a lengthy position statement to members, saying, “In conclusion, and to be explicit”, that the College “As part of valuing diversity and inclusion… supports marriage equality.”
Explaining the changed position, he said the Council “acknowledges that discrimination, bullying and harassment of LGBTIQ people does have a severe, damaging impact on mental and physical health outcomes for affected individuals, their families and communities.
“The RACGP Council strongly endorses equality and inclusion regardless of race or ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, religion or disability in all aspects of life, in particular, education, employment, medical care, relationships and certainly marriage.”
With its position made clear, the Council added that it recognised “the absolute right of all RACGP members to hold and express their own personal views on this matter. However, we urge members to provide particular care and consideration to LGBTIQ groups during this trying period, and for themselves through the RACGP GP Support Program.”
This week, the RACGP will compile further material to support members in providing care to their patients and communities who have experienced detrimental mental health impacts of the prolonged and unnecessary marriage equality debate.
Dr Seidel added that, “Several other health groups and indeed medical colleges have published statements in favour of marriage equality. Council congratulates them on their leadership on this issue.
“We also urge these groups not to rest on generating just a positive media headline. If these organisations truly want to achieve cultural and societal change, if they really are committed to advancing the needs of the LGBTIQ community, we'd welcome them to access the vast resources the RACGP has developed over the last decades.”