A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to "increased depression."
The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to "increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours."
But former Tasmanian president of the Australian Medical Association Chris Middleton hit back at the claims, saying he had been “smeared” as a racist and "abused," The Australian reported.
“May we suggest that such ad hominem attacks on any who question the LGBT orthodoxy is precisely what the public is repulsed by," he said.
"Any reasonable person who has read our measured critique of the research on same-sex parenting will be astonished at the intemperate attempt by this document to smear us as little different to racists.”
- Petition calls for doctor in 'no' campaign same-sex marriage ad to be deregistered
- Education officials claim mother in anti-gay marriage ad did complain son told he could wear dress to school
The petition has more than 2000 signatures from doctors and medical students.
"As doctors we must stand behind all of our patients, allowing them equal access to the determinants of health freely given to the broader community," it reads.
"To speak out against one sector of the community for wanting access to what everyone else can claim freely is discrimination in line with that historically practiced against non‐white people throughout the Western world."
This comes after another petition pushed for the deregistration of northern Sydney GP Dr Pansy Lai after she appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.
She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot "this week".
"It is clear that Dr Pansy Lai has misused her privileged position as a medical practitioner in the harmful and hateful 'no' campaign, which is a clear violation of her oath to the Declaration," the petition, which has since been pulled, said.