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Brigid O'Connell

May 13, 2012

Herald Sun falsely implies that "doctors" think gay marriage "a risk to kids"

A shamelessly misleading story in today's Her

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Pure Poison IconA shamelessly misleading story in today’s Herald Sun headlined “Gay unions a ‘risk to kids’, say doctors“:

VICTORIA’S deputy chief psychiatrist – and State Government-appointed equal opportunities champion – has joined forces with doctors lobbying the Federal Government to ban same-sex marriage.

The word “doctors” in the headline clearly implies that “doctors” in general say this, rather than a tiny, tiny, tiny minority of partisan medicos completely out of step with the vast majority of their colleagues making a nasty claim completely unsupported by any credible research whatsoever.

I mean, according to the Herald Sun, this is the pro-discrimination doctors’ reasoning:

In a letter to the Senate’s inquiry into marriage equality, the group wrote that it was “important for the future health of our nation” to retain the definition of marriage as being between a man and woman.

“We submit 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,” they wrote.

The doctors also said they were concerned legalising gay marriage would “normalise” homosexual behaviour and the “health consequences” linked with it, such as HIV and syphilis.

Any unprotected sexual behaviour comes with the risk of HIV and syphilis, not just homosexuality. What’s wrong with homosexual behaviour being treated as normal? On what basis do they claim it isn’t and shouldn’t be? And as for the headline assertion that kids grow up better in families “with a mother and father” – unless Prof George has commissioned a brand-new study which genuinely would be actual news ( which the Herald Sun doesn’t claim that he has), then that long-discredited claim will without doubt be based on old studies comparing two parent families with one parent families, rather than comparing the the kids of homosexual parents with the kids of heterosexual parents. (You’ll note how George and his mates fudge the claim a little so it implies the latter but is sort of within the ambit of the former. That’s the level of honesty you get from anti-equality advocates.)

Lyle Shelton from the so-called “Australian Christian Lobby” was this afternoon twittering away his fears that one of the signatories to the submission – this “deputy chief psychiatrist Prof Kuruvilla George” – might suffer some consequences for signing up to such an outrageously stupid letter. For expressing such a dubious understanding of science. For, despite apparently being on the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, advocating against citizens’ human rights:

On the plus side for Professor George, we understand that no-one is proposing to amend the Marriage Act to stop the state recognising his marriage. There’s equally little evidence that his marriage is a risk to kids than there is that a gay couple’s is.

Meanwhile, could the Herald Sun not work to confuse its more gullible readers into thinking there’s any kind of credible evidence of a “risk to kids” from gay marriage until or unless it actually sees some? If the Herald Sun is going to have a story featuring a small group of anti-gay doctors vs “gay activists”, could it please include something from mainstream doctors’ organisations like the AMA – and not just from a former head who’s now expressly a “gay rights advocate” – clarifying that the vast majority of health professionals who know anything about the issue completely disagree with the assertions in that letter.

Clearly some readers were confused by today’s effort, hence comments like this one:

Glad to read this. Posted at 2:50 PM Today

Well the professionals should know, they hear people’s problems and see the fallout from these issues on a daily basis. I agree with them.

The vast majority of professionals who hold that there is no health problem with homosexuality, or the tiny number of anti-equality advocates who promote a view completely at odds with all credible medical science, despite the Herald Sun implying that they represented doctors in general?

Sadly, I suspect that letter represents someone misled into thinking it’s Prof George who represents most doctors’ views, rather than the reverse.

ELSEWHERE: The ABC covers the same story, but its report quotes the current AMA president (who says the evidence suggests the opposite and the majority of medical opinion agrees), and critically adds the word “group” after the word “doctors”, to indicate that it’s a subset of doctors, not doctors in general. (And a very tiny subset at that.) Surprisingly, “Professor George has declined the ABC’s request for an interview.” Which is unfortunate, because I’m sure many of us would LOVE to hear him questioned on what basis he made those extraordinary claims.

PS Also – “equal opportunities champion”? “Champion”? Merely being on the board of Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission doesn’t make him a “champion”, particularly if his advocacy work is against “equal opportunities”.

UPDATE: Here’s one of the “doctor” signatories to that submission, Dr Murray James-Wallace, writing on the website of Danny Nalliah’s “Catch The Fire” extremists about an incident when a lady with whom they were travelling had some kind of stroke or heart attack:

We are on the outskirts of Tiberius, I explain that clinically she requires a hospital. She could have had a heart attack, asystole or otherarrythmia, hypoglycaemia or a stroke or seizure. Danny says this is spiritual and has generational links to Freemasonry. John receives a word that this is an attack from Satan to end her life in Israel and that if she can get to Jordan the Lord will heal her.

I have 2 choices, professionally to pull rank and as the only qualified medical practitioner order the bus to a hospital in Tiberius. Having witnessed the miraculous recovery of the lady from death to life in that she responded to a verbal command. I explained that this lady is very sick, she ought to go to hospital but “I place myself under the authority of the pastor and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The lady continued to vomit and become incontinent. She was not allergic to anything, had a mild hypothyroid condition had no heart problems, but had had mild diarrhoea in the morning. My concern was that continued vomiting and diarrhoea might lead to hypokalaemia (low potassium in the blood) and that this would precipitate a further cardiac event. I asked her what she wanted as far as medical care: she chose to stay on the bus, I could have influenced this decision but chose not to. People continued to pray.

What a doctor!

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52 comments

52 thoughts on “Herald Sun falsely implies that “doctors” think gay marriage “a risk to kids”

  1. Lola

    I’m a polyamourous parent and I would prefer not to have Jesus as my poster boy.

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