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Introduction

Evidence consistently shows that same-sex attracted people experience high levels of discrimination, including in the workplace, schools and hospitals.  Discrimination may result in conflicted family and other social relationships and diminished emotional and practical support, despite the support of family, friends and, to a lesser extent, professionals having been shown to lessen the destructive impacts of homophobia (Hillier et. al 2005, Green, 2004; Greenan & Tunnell, 2003).

The term ‘minority stress’ captures the negative effects associated with the adverse social conditions experienced by members of a stigmatised social group (DiPlacido, 1998).  Minority stress increases vulnerability to mental and physical illness.  This is not as a result of identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender per se, rather the associated interpersonal difficulties that arise from stigma and non-acceptance from the general community (Psychologists for Marriage Equality, 2012).

Same-sex attracted people are more likely to experience higher levels of abuse, violence and assault. There have also been strong links identified between legal bans on same-sex marriage and homophobic abuse, and higher psychiatric morbidity, feeling unsafe, excessive drug use, self-harm and suicide attempts, and decreased life satisfaction for same-sex attracted people (Barlow et al. 2012).

Same-sex couples also often face intense scrutiny over their capabilities as parents, based solely on their sexual orientation.  These beliefs are often not based on personal experience and evidence, but on culturally transmitted myths and stereotypes (Psychologists for Marriage Equality, 1998).

The focus of November’s online survey was to ascertain the views of visitors to the Relationships Australia website on marriage equality.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites