Anti-gay marriage doctor quits equal rights post
A SENIOR Victorian psychiatrist who caused outrage among his medical peers by lobbying against gay marriage has quit his post on the board of the state's equal opportunity agency.
Professor Kuruvilla George, the state’s deputy chief psychiatrist, faced calls for his resignation from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission after becoming one of more than 150 doctors who signed an anti-gay marriage submission to a Senate inquiry.
The submission – rejected by the AMA and other leading healthcare groups – said children of heterosexual parents were generally happier and better adjusted than those of same-sex parents. It also warned gay marriage would be a public health risk because it “normalised” the health “consequences” of same-sex relationships like HIV and syphilis.
Professor George gave no public comment other than signing the document, but a short statement from Victorian attorney-general Robert Clark today said:
“The Victorian Coalition government has been informed by the chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Mr John Searle, that Professor Kuruvilla George has expressed his intention to resign as a board member of the commission.
“The government thanks Professor George for his dedicated service to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission during his time as a member of the board.”
Victorian opposition attorney-general Martin Pakula had called for Professor George’s resignation on the grounds that the agency “regularly deal[s] with matters where people are alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and I don't know how Professor George can properly deal with those matters given the sentiments he's expressed”.
VEOHRC acting commissioner Karen Toohey and chair John Searle had previously issued a statement saying the views of individual board members did not reflect the views of the agency.
The CEO of the youth mental health agency, headspace, Chris Tanti, wrote an angry blog post accusing Professor George and the group behind the document, Doctors for the Family, of “peddling outdated and unsupported views” and “sending harmful messages”.
“These doctors abrogate their professional and personal responsibilities as medical practitioners by deliberately misrepresenting research to prosecute a homophobic, outdated and false argument against equal marriage," Mr Tanti wrote.