Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN) is concerned that holding a costly and non-binding plebiscite which is not legally necessary to make the changes to the Marriage Act and will only further alienate and victimise the Australian LGBTI community by giving anti-LGBTI groups a platform to voice their agenda, and consequently cause further harm to the mental wellbeing of an already vulnerable and at risk population group.
Granting rights to minorities should result from a recognition of their dignity and rights as human beings, not from an opinion poll. Equal legal protection under the law is a fundamental principle and not one that requires further democratic authorisation. The popularity of different family arrangements should not be relevant to the legal rights of their members. A campaign which gives people an excuse and a budget to allow people to voice strong negative opinions about the families of many young and/or vulnerable Australian’s could be extremely traumatising, with serious mental health consequences for little apparent benefit.
Research demonstrates that LGBTI Australians either delay or don’t access support services due to fear of discrimination and/or prejudice on the basis of their LGBTI identity (Barrett & Crameri, 2015). This is a concern for MHCN as instead of LGBTI carers accessing mainstream services to seek support, they are increasing their caring responsibilities by acting as the sole support of someone living with a mental illness, which in turn increases the likelihood that they themselves will develop mental health issues.