Health Minister Nicola Roxon has dumped one of the new Men’s Health Ambassadors for co-authoring an anti-gay, anti-transgender report.
Warwick Marsh, president of Fatherhood Foundation, was one of 34 co-authors of 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters, a report which calls homosexuality a mental disorder. He was also the author of a Senate submission opposing the recent same-sex equality reforms.
Roxon’s office quickly moved to distance her from the report when drawn to her attention yesterday:
These comments, relating in the main to homosexuality, are unacceptable and repugnant. I firmly disagree with the views expressed,” she responded to Sydney Star Observer yesterday.
Today, she announced that Marsh would be dumped from the voluntary ambassador role.
“Mr Marsh has not repudiated his offensive comments. This makes his position as an Ambassador untenable and I have made a decision to dismiss him from this role.”
But a second co-author of the report also named among six Men’s Health Ambassadors had “unequivocally disowned the views set out in the document” and would remain.
“[Barry Williams] has assured me of this directly, and has expressly stated this publicly. I accept his explanation.
“I take full responsibility for this setback in the policy development and engagement process. But I remain firmly of the view that to reach men that feel disfranchised, disengaged – and often at high risk – we will need to continue to be prepared to involve men with varying views and experiences. This is an attempt to consult with men beyond health professionals and academics.”
She added that ambassadors were needed from a variety of backgrounds and she would not always agree on all issues with everybody chosen to encourage men to talk about their problems and seek help.
Marsh was also the host of the 2004 Marriage forum in Parliament House at which then Shadow Attorney-General Nicola Roxon first announced that Labor would support a ban on same-sex marriage.