Health ambassador dumped over homophobic report

By Staff Writer

A newly-appointed men’s health ambassador has been sacked over a contentious anti-gay report, just days after the senate passed a bill recognising the rights of same-sex couples.

Two men’s health ambassadors, Lone Father’s Berry Williams and Warwick Marsh from the Fatherhood Foundation, are listed among the 34 authors of the report titled, 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters, published last year by Mr Marsh’s organisation.

The report describes homosexuality as “gender disorientation pathology” that mainly stems from dysfunctional families and childhood sexual trauma, and it leads to “a lifetime of misery”, increasing chances of drug abuse, partner violence and suicide.

It also argues homosexuality “encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children”.

“It must be stressed that most homosexuals do not abuse children, and most are not paedophiles, but it seems a significant number do, and are,” it says.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon dumped Mr Marsh, conceding the document’s view on homosexuality was “quite abhorrent”.

Mr Marsh said in a statement that he was vilified by journalists, and he abided by his belief that same-sex couples were incompetent to provide children with the best environment.
“If I am attacked it is because I believe that our children matter,” he said.

“If I am attacked it is because I believe every child has the right to a mother and a father. Children need a mother and a father, not two mummies or two daddies.”

Mr Williams, however, escaped the sacking as he denied his direct involvement in the publication.

Outraged gay rights groups called for the sacking of Mr Williams, but Ms Roxon defended her decision saying she was prepared to accept his explanation about why his name was included in the report without his knowledge.

Ms Roxon continued to be grilled over the ambassadors’ vetting process, with another claim that she had met Mr Marsh at a National Marriage Coalition conference three years ago, where he actively voiced his anti-gay stance.

Another contentious appointment was Tim Mathieson, hairdresser and partner of Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Mr Mathieson was named one of the six men chosen to shape Australia’s first national men’s health policy.

The Federal Opposition argued Ms Gillard influenced his appointment, but Mr Mathieson defended his new role saying he was qualified and understood men’s health issues well.

Meanwhile, the same-sex relationships bill 2008, known as the same-sex omnibus bill, was passed by the senate this week.

The bill aimed to eliminate discrimination against same-sex couples and the children of same-sex relationships, but stopped short of legalising same-sex marriages.

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