Human Rights Commission member pressured into resigning after supporting traditional marriage
May 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A board member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) has resigned less than 48 hours after Australian media reported that he had signed a document supporting true marriage.
Professor Kuruvilla George, who is also Victoria’s deputy chief psychiatrist, signed a pro-marriage submission to a Senate inquiry on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 in March. (There are currently three bills to change the legal definition of marriage before Australian parliament, which are the subject of two separate inquiries).
When it was revealed on Sunday by various newspapers that Professor George had been one of a group of 150 medical professionals who submitted to the inquiry that “the evidence is clear that children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without,” there were immediate calls for his resignation.
Kerryn Phelps, the former national president of the Australian Medical Association said the group of doctors - who go under the name Doctors for the Family - should “hang their heads in shame”, and that Professor George’s position on the board of the VEOHRC should be reviewed.
“They should immediately disqualify themselves from dealing with matters of sexuality, as they clearly have no idea about its complexities,” she said.
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Although Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark defended Professor George’s right to free speech, opposition Attorney-General Martin Pakula said Professor George needed to explain why he should remain on the board. Victorian Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge similarly demanded an “immediate explanation.”
By Tuesday morning, the chair of the board of the VEOHRC, John Searle, announced Professor George’s resignation “due to time constraints and personal reasons.”
An official statement from the VEOHRC said: “In Victoria, our Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities enshrines in legislation that all people are equal before the law and have a right to equality.”
The Australian reported that Professor George’s contribution to the national debate on marriage polarized senior members of the commission, who held urgent talks on Monday to discuss the matter.
Ironically, the submission that Professor George signed predicted that if the legal definition of marriage was changed, charges of hate-speech and vilification against those who support a child’s right to a biological mother and father would increase, and freedom of speech would be curtailed.
Professor George remains as the deputy chief psychiatrist of Victoria.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Anna Brown told the Star Observer yesterday: “Professor George’s resignation is welcome and appropriate given the clear conflict between his public views on the supposed ‘heath risks’ of marriage equality and his duties to promote equality and non-discrimination as a board member of the Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission.”
The Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Jim Wallace, said “The pressure put on Professor George is typical of the gay activists, that once again they demonise alternate voices and clearly very creditable ones from the public debate. It is a tactic the public should reject. It’s time to put truth back in this debate and reject the demonisation and manipulation of public opinion which is as much a threat to our democracy as to this debate.”
In October last year, Toowoomba GP and pro-family activist David van Gend was compelled to appear before the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland after he wrote an article defending marriage in The Courier Mail.
After Australian tennis legend Margaret Court made similar comments to The West Australian last December, protesters organised to cover an arena named after her with rainbow flags during the Australian Open, while Kerryn Phelps argued that the arena should be renamed altogether.
In March this year, an ABC radio presenter was stood down after her superiors found out she was the voice behind a Queensland political advertisement critical of changing the legal definition of marriage.
In April, Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbot was ‘ambushed’ during a private dinner on a Sunday evening in Melbourne by six homosexual activists, who shouted “Tony Abbott, you’re a bigot, gay marriage you don’t dig it,” before being removed from the restaurant by a staff member.