Doctors accuse Australian Medical Association of misleading public on ‘marriage equality’

A former state president of the Australian Medical Association is among a group of doctors urging the AMA to retract its “fatally flawed” position statement on marriage equality. The AMA document was published in May and endorses same-sex marriage.

The spokesman for the group, former Tasmanian president Chris Middleton has resigned from the AMA. He says, “The AMA has strayed into social activism and has mortgaged its credibility.”

“The position statement has very little to say about medicine and was little more than a politically motivated, ideologically-driven opinion piece which is dressed up as evidence-based health policy,” Dr Middleton told The Australian. “In other position statements they have gone into it in a detailed way, there has been a rigorous dispassionate, careful, sober and professional analysis of all of the arguments for and against and usually what you get is a very thoughtful outcome.”

In a 15-page critique, the dissenting doctors identify a number of misleading clinical claims, in particular the AMA’s assertion that there is no peer-reviewed evidence of poorer outcomes for children of same-sex parented families. They say that this is “unequivocally false”:

We reference peer-reviewed articles that do find poorer outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples, and we also show that the AMA was aware of this evidence. By denying publicly that there is any such evidence of detriment to children, while admitting privately that there is, the AMA has misled the public on a crucial aspect of the marriage debate and must be held to account.

In addition, the critique analyses “politically sensitive” but unjustified AMA claims that our current marriage laws harm LGBT health. The AMA claims that “Measures which reduce stigmatisation, such as marriage equality, have been shown to improve overall health outcomes among LGBTIQ populations.”    

However, the dissidents contend that “marriage equality” has not “been shown” to do any such thing. “It is an abrogation of academic standards to draw an unequivocal conclusion from weak and inconclusive data.”

They point out that the AMA “gives only one reference to substantiate its claim and that is a study of a single clinic in a single city in the USA 14 years ago. The study is compromised since the sample group was not random and – most importantly – there was no control group to validate the findings.”

The working group believes that hundreds of doctors will sign a petition asking the AMA to back-track on marriage equality.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet


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