So it so happened that Ten News was on the T.V. at our place tonight (this is in Melbourne, Australia). Nothing remarkable until a story about 150 doctors issuing a warning that same-sex marriage poses “health risks”. The group behind this is called Doctors For The Family, which calls itself a “medical organisation to highlight the health aspects of marriage”. Ten just described them as “a conservative medical group”, a term that to me seems nonsensical. But I immediately thought “I bet it’s a Christian fundamentalist front”.
The Doctors For The Family web site is remarkably coy about who is behind it. But the group is run by the chap in the Ten story, who lists himself as the founder on his LinkedIn profile: Dr Lachlan Dunjey. From this and some other pages we learn some facts about Dr Dunjey that seem relevant:
- “He was the Senate candidate for the Christian Democratic Party at the 2004 federal election”
- Before scaring, sorry, educating us about the health risks of same-sex marriage he was campaigning for “freedom of conscience in health care”, a euphemism for permitting Christian medical professionals to refuse to perform abortions even when medically indicated.
- He says “we need to change people’s hearts and minds by bringing them into the Kingdom of God”
- He’s really upset about the depraved state of contemporary society, including such debauchery as alcohol being served at Christian wedding receptions.
Now, before I get accused of an ad hominem fallacy, it must be noted that none of this shows that Dr Dunjey’s claims are false. However, I do believe it gives us good reason to be very skeptical of his group’s claims, especially as to whether the term “medical” is merited.
The so-called medical evidence presented by Doctors For The Family seems very dodgy. Credible medical organisations generally don’t make claims about whether same-sex relationships are better or worse for children than hetero ones, simply because there’s no definitive evidence either way. Most studies seem to back the (to me, rather common sense) notion that when considering all the factors that effect child development, the sexual orientation of the parents doesn’t really register as significant.
Doctors For The Family is essentially another deceitful pseudo-scientific attempt to make fringe religious views appear scientific. Just like the Intelligent Design crowd, they start with a pre-determined conclusion and scour the globe looking for any scrap of data that supports that conclusion. In other words, they follow the scientific method, only exactly backwards. Just because this group is supported by some people with “Doctor” on their business cards doesn’t mean it deserves to be called “medical”.