OPINION: by Lachlan DunjeyNews Weekly
Doctors under fire for defending marriage
, June 9, 2012
There are many organisations in Australia and internationally that support marriage — the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others — as the basis for family and a healthy society.
Doctors for the Family was formed in November 2011 to highlight health aspects of marriage and family.
It has been accused of being a front for Christian organisations. Some opponents of our submission have researched and found that many of the doctors have religious connections and that therefore the submission should be discounted.
But neither the website nor the submission contains any religious argument at all. All doctors agreeing with the aims of the organisation — regardless of religious belief or lack of it — were welcome to be signatories.
Our opponents’ tactic — to dismiss anything that might be written by Christians (yes, I am one) — is of course not new. But we too are capable of rational argument and have a right to be heard.
The actual submission to the Senate committee is extremely brief (see supplementary article below).
Many accusations have been hurled at us in the media, including that we have used our position as doctors to unfairly manipulate the debate on same-sex marriage.
We would respond by arguing that doctors from time to time have seen fit to express opinions affecting our world when circumstances demanded — and some have failed. In matters concerning mental and physical health it is consistent with our professional responsibility that we have such a voice.
We have also been accused of “further marginalising” same-sex attracted people, and contributing to depression and suicide. This assertion implies that any submission defending marriage would be likewise guilty and would effectively neutralise all voices raised in protest against a change.
We have also been accused of saying that homosexuals are “abnormal”. But we have not said that — it is a deliberate extrapolation of “normalising” homosexual behaviour as per our submission. Please note that we said “behaviour”. This does not extrapolate to personality or function or status or intelligence or achievement.
And, yes, we are concerned about the effect of equalising (“normalising”) heterosexual and homosexual behaviour in our schools coupled with the invitation to experiment with different sexual behaviours to “find out what you are”. But in any case the question can then be asked of our accusers, “Are you saying that penis-in-rectum sex is normal, that the human body was made for this?”
If you are a person with same-sex attraction, you are free to choose this kind of behaviour; but by no stretch of imagination can you argue that the human body is made for this. You may also choose — along with people with heterosexual attraction — to abstain.
Our names have been published on Facebook and on a website with the invitation to “politely and respectfully write to them and let them know your feelings”. In light of the extremely abusive language to which we have already been subjected we can only hope that any such language will be muted. Perhaps the language will speak for itself.…
One of our doctors who was particularly singled out for attack by gay activists is Professor Kuruvilla George in Victoria. Since the publicity surrounding his position on the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission he has resigned from this position. (See my piece, “In defence of marriage, not pursuit of homosexuals”, On Line Opinion, May 17, 2012).
Any doctors worth their salt have always accepted people of different beliefs and behaviours with care and compassion. Psychiatrists in particular are trained to do this well. To even suggest that Professor George cannot objectively do his job as an equal opportunity commissioner is nonsense.
It is disappointing how many interpret our defence of marriage as attacking homosexuals. It is marriage that is being attacked and we are simply rising to its defence. In return we are being attacked with abusive language as being homophobic and — ironically — accusations of “hate speech”.
Dr Lachlan Dunjey is a Perth GP and convenor of Doctors for the Family: www.doctors4family.com.au
Doctors for the Family: submission to Senate inquiry
Doctors for the Family was established in November 2011 to highlight the health aspects of marriage and family and ensure a healthy future for our children.
We believe that marriage as reflected and proclaimed in the Marriage Act 2004 “…the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” to be the basis of healthy marriage and family.
We believe that marriage as defined is the basis of a healthy society. We submit that the evidence is clear that children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without.
We believe it is important for the future health of our nation to retain this definition and we oppose moves to alter this definition to include “same-sex marriage”.
We also believe marriage as currently defined is more stable than so-called same-sex “marriage”.
We further submit that legalisation of same-sex marriage will have significant ramifications that have been confirmed by research and events here and elsewhere:
• the further “normalising” of homosexual behaviour through education with all the health consequences of that behaviour for our children;
• denial of parental option to withdraw their children from that education — a fundamental rejection of the rights of the family;
• charges of “hate-speech” and vilification, if we voice our belief that every child needs a mother and a father, will gain further legitimacy;
• likewise freedom of speech and belief regarding the position we believe marriage has in society will be more limited; and
• further pressure on adoption agencies to approve adoption to same-sex couples and closure of agencies that fail to do that.
We trust that this Senate Inquiry will realise the significance of any distortion of what marriage really is, the continuing benefits of marriage to the Australian community, the place of marriage in history and our culture and we strongly recommend that there be no change to the definition of marriage as presently enshrined in law.
Doctors for the Family’s submission (no. 229) to the Senate inquiry into marriage equality. Full references and names of signatories may be found in the original, at: