Distressed by bishops’ call

A LOCAL support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people has voiced its outrage over a push from the Catholic Church to protest same-sex marriage.

Emma Paynter of So Wot?, a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) youth in Wellington Shire, said the Catholic Church’s new campaign to stop same-sex marriage, launched across Victoria last week, was risky, as it sent a message to homosexuals that they were “second class citizens”.

“As a member of the local GLBT sexual diversity youth group So Wot?, I’m constantly seeing firsthand the struggle of GLBT youth in this town,” Ms Paynter said.

“We reassure them over and over that their just as important as everyone else and that they have rights too.

“Then they see things like this and we go back to square one.

“Lack of equality has strong links to mental health issues among same sex attracted young people.”

Ms Paynter criticised the church for encouraging its parishioners to call for legislation change based on their spirituality.

“It’s a sad day when members of the church use religion and the church to voice their personal opinions,” she said.

“I’m not a second class citizen, nor are the rest of the local GLBT community.”