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Same-sex marriage inquiry hears conflicting views

The last day of a public hearing into legalising same-sex marriage hears from the Australian Psychological Society and Christian lobby groups
Dr Fiona Barlow of the University of Queensland addressed the senate inquiry into same-sex marriage today

The second day of the senate's hearing into legalising same-sex marriage heard conflicting views from psychologists and Christians.

Representatives of the Australian Psychological Society told the hearing in Melbourne that there is a direct link between allowing same-sex couples to marry and better mental health for same-sex attracted people.

Dr Fiona Barlow from the University of Queensland said:

'Research from the US has shown that the mental health of same-sex attracted people in states where same-sex marriage is not allowed is worse than in states where it is allowed.

'Research from Australia likewise shows that same-sex attracted people who are chronically exposed to opposition to same-sex marriage report higher levels of self-hatred, loneliness and feelings of inferiority.

'On top of this, we know that people in good marriages are healthier and happier.'

Christian Lobby Groups also spoke at the senate's legal affairs committee inquiry.

Australian Marriage Forum chairman Dr David van Gend said same-sex marriages damaged children. 'It means that a homosexual couple's child will miss out on either a mother or a father,' he said, as reported by The Australian.

Also today Endocrinology Update published an article by former president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Kerryn Phelps, which said that 150 doctors who signed a written submission against same-sex marriage for the senate inquiry should 'hang their head in shame'.

Gay News Network reports that the doctors' submission, headed by Christian GP Lachlan Dunjey said that same-sex marriage would contribute to 'the further "normalising" of homosexual behaviour through education with all the health consequences of that behaviour for our children'.

In Dr Phelps' article she responded to the submission saying the doctors who signed it 'disqualify themselves from having any competence in dealing with any issues of sexuality or relationships'.

The hearing is now at an end and the committee is due to report its findings on 6 June.

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