Health ambassador sacked for standing by anti-gay comments

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Australia’s Health Minister Nicola Roxon has dismissed 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.

Ms Roxon announced today that Mr Marsh would no longer be an ambassador on the panel.

“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,” she said.

“I think these comments particularly about homosexuality are quite abhorrent.”

Mr Marsh came under fire last week along with fellow ambassador Barry Williams, whose name also appeared as one of the co-authors of the offending document.

Among other things, the report suggests that gay people are more likely to abuse children, be unfaithful or violent in relationships and abuse drugs.

Mr Williams has since denied he shares the views set out in the document, or that he wrote the articles in question.

“Because I contributed to that organisation, doesn’t mean that I put the words in that magazine or had anything to do with it,” he said.

“I have no discrimination against gay people – I have a lot of gay friends and I worship their friendship.”

While gay-rights groups have called for the sacking of both men, Ms Roxon has decided to keep Mr Williams on the panel, saying “He has publicly and expressly disassociated himself from any of these comments and I am prepared to accept that explanation.”

Mr Marsh however stood by the views expressed in the document.

“I believe it’s pretty accurate because it’s their research and figures,” he said.

“There’s a harm caused when you go outside the natural order.”

Mr Marsh was also the author of a Senate submission opposing the recent same-sex equality reforms.

He has released a statement saying he has been vilified for this belief that children should have parents of the opposite sex.

“If I am attacked it is because I believe every child has the right to a mother and a father. Children need a mother and a father, not two mummies or two daddies.” he said.

He added that he was baffled at the “sort of heterophobia” of certain journalists who claimed he was homophobic.

Ms Roxon said of the controversy over her appointments:

“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.”