Gay rights groups have been outraged by the government’s decision to dismiss only one of the two men’s health ambassadors caught up in the furore over a paper which claims homosexuality is a mental illness.
In an embarrassing turnaround last week, Health Minister Nicola Roxon was forced to dump Fatherhood Foundation’s Warwick Marsh from the government’s health ambassador program after it was revealed Marsh was behind the paper, 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters, which claims homosexuality can be -œtreated.
Lone Fathers Association president Barry Williams, whose name also appears as a contributor, later denied he was homophobic and claimed he did not support the content of the document.
The 23-page document claims -œgender disorientation pathology or same-sex attraction is a symptom of family dysfunction or personality disorder.
In a press conference, Roxon admitted the views were -œabhorrent and -œnot appropriate.
Roxon defended not dismissing Williams, saying he had -œpublicly and unequivocally disowned the views set out in the paper and his only -œsin was not carefully reading the document he put his name to.
Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said it is not good enough and Williams should also be stood down.
-œIt’s either incompetent or deceitful and either way does not qualify him to be a men’s health ambassador, Croome told Southern Star.
Croome said Williams had also reinforced discriminatory attitudes by giving Marsh space for an anti-gay tirade in the Lone Fathers Association newsletter to lobby against same-sex couples and their children.
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria director Anne Mitchell also called for Roxon to stand Williams down and said she would like to see someone who can approach the issue of gay men’s health on the panel.
-œHe doesn’t strike me as a good representative for an important position in men’s health.