MULTIPLE studies prove the negative health effects marriage denial and a plebiscite would have on same-sex couples, according to a new report released by ACON and the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW.

The report brought together key pieces of research as a means to inform the current debate on marriage equality in Australia.

ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said he hopes the report will help to ensure the debate around marriage equality is informed by the public health evidence base.

“The positive health impacts of marriage equality for same-sex couples are clear, as are the potential negative health effects of marriage denial and a potential plebiscite,” he said.

“If a prolonged period of ongoing debate on marriage equality continues, Australians must be presented with pertinent and trusted evidence to make an informed decision about marriage equality.

“The health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people must be central to this discussion.”

One of the American studies highlighted in the report found that there were higher rates of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people with psychiatric disorders in states where same-sex marriage was banned.

Another study highlighted found that sexual minority populations living in high-prejudice communities showed elevated rates of suicide, homicide, and cardiovascular diseases.

Adversely, some studies focused on the benefits of achieving marriage equality on the mental health of LGBTI people.

One in particular suggested that the introduction of marriage equality in the US may have increased the number of LGBTI people accessing health services, where individual and social factors may have previously prevented them from doing so.

While the studies highlighted in the report were primarily conducted in the United States, Professor Carla Treloar from the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW said in Australia there’s little research into the impacts of marriage denial on LGBTI communities.

She added that a significant body of international research would help to indicate the positive and negative health outcomes for LGBTI people living in jurisdictions where marriage equality has and hasn’t been achieved.

“The higher rates of mental health issues and suicidality in LGBTI communities make these groups more vulnerable to the potentially negative rhetoric that may arise in the prolonged national debate on this issue,” she said.

“Some studies in this review demonstrate the negative impacts of anti-same-sex marriage campaigns on the mental health of LGBTI people.”

Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis and the Labor Party attempted to negotiate the terms of a proposed plebiscite this week, before the conversation broke down.

It is still unclear whether Labor will commit to blocking the proposed plebiscite.

The full report can be viewed here.

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