A LEADING human rights lawyer has labelled an anti-gay marriage submission by a medical organisation as uninformed.
Monash academic and human rights lawyer Paula Gerber has rejected claims by Doctors for the Family that marriage between a man and a woman "is the basis of a healthy society" and that "children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without".
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Associate Professor Gerber, who is a board member on the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, slammed the submission to the Senate for demonising homosexuality.
"One of the things I find particularly troubling about this is they use this line saying that children do better under all parameters if they have a mother and a father.
"That line comes from a piece of research that compares how children with two parents do compared to children with one parent.
"It was nothing at all to do with gay parenting," she said.
"They've misrepresented the basis of their opinion. It's been portrayed as a sound medical judgement based on scientific research, which is certainly not the case.
"All that research found is you're better off having two parents regardless of their gender rather than having a single parent."
Associate Professor Gerber's comments come as the state's former deputy chief psychiatrist, Professor Kuruvilla George, last week tendered his resignation after putting his name to the submission.
The chairman of the board, barrister John Searle said Professor George had decided to resign "due to time constraints and personal reasons that have emerged over recent months".
In a statement last Tuesday, Acting Commissioner Karen Toohey from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission denied the organisation had been aware of the Doctors for the Family submission until it was reported in the media.
"As the agency responsible for promoting and protecting human rights in Victoria, the commission sees the harmful effects that discrimination and inequality have on people and the hurt and damage caused by prejudice, vilification and damaging stereotypes," she said.
"We will continue our work towards a fairer Victoria where everyone's human rights are respected and protected."
Last Monday, the commission released a statement distancing itself from Professor George.
"The views of commission board members expressed in their individual professional or personal capacity do not reflect those of the board or the commission and are not authorised by the board or the commission."
Associate Professor Gerber said the comments by Doctors for the Family labelled homosexuality as unhealthy.
"They're trying to get other people to come onto their view on the basis of their standing in society as doctors.
"People look up to doctors and value their opinions. Whereas really what's informing their opinion is religion and ideology.
"When you talk about how same-sex marriage will normalise homosexuality, the suggestion is that it's abnormal and abhorrent. I think that's part of what their agenda seems to be."
Associate Professor Gerber said children of unmarried gay parents had been subjected to bullying at school.
"If the government were to say same-sex couples can marry, it immediately removes that sort of stigma that is attached to those families in much the same way as illegitimate children used to be bullied and teased at school."
The Weekly has contacted Doctors for the Family and Professor George seeking comment.