Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Observations Yankee Doodling

Does gay marriage improve health?

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8586

Rapid Response:

Re: Does gay marriage improve health?

It must be clear to all but the most socially ill-informed of people that Dr. Gardner's rapid response below is pure homophobia masquerading as a reasonable academic reply. You know, the way pseudo-scholarship was once used to justify prohibition of inter-racial marriages. (Just out of curiosity, did the BMJ ever publish those? Would it do so now?)

I suspect the editors indulged in those two fallacious platitudes, 'freedom of speech' and 'editorial balance,' when they decided to publish the response. But, when they did so, I wonder if they had asked themselves whether a rapid response which purported to argue the 'Bell Curve Theory' of racial intelligence, or one that suggested 'intelligent design' as the grounds for withholding palliative care, might have been published on the same grounds.

What this thread merely and clearly shows is that, even in the hallowed pages of the BMJ, homophobia is still tolerable, nay, even acceptable, provided you can dress it in sufficient academic jargon.

It affords me no pleasure to say this: but, I think the editors of the BMJ owe their readers, and their own editorial colleagues, gay or straight, an unconditional apology for this, an unpardonable decision.

Competing interests: I once used to work for the BMJ, and still occasionally write for the Journal. Oh, and I'm gay. Does that count, given the decision to publish Dr Gardner's response?

13 August 2013
Balaji Ravichandran
University of Oxford
The Queen's College, High Street, Oxford