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Posts for September, 2010

More amicus, more animus

Timothy Kincaid

September 27th, 2010

Those who oppose civil equality simply can’t restrain themselves from supporting the Proponents of Proposition 8. Although history is going to be rather unkind to them (and we will both document and remember), there is almost a sense of desperation to the compulsion to go on record as favoring inequality, supporting supremacist attitudes and expressing dismay that their views may be held up to inspection.

Today I have a whole long list of amicus briefs to add to those who previously have come down on the side of institutionalized discrimination. You can check them all out here.

Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson – You may recall that Robert George was one of the founders of the National Organization for Marriage. His argument is that the state does indeed have interest in enforcing private moral or religious beliefs. Further, “a belief that a relationship between a man and woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women” and “moral disapproval of homosexuality” are both legitimate bases for legislation. And because any position has some moral values assigned, then therefor the value of heterosexual supremacy is a perfectly fine one on which to base law. Oh, and Lawrence v. Texas only applies to criminal law.

NARTH (yes, NARTH!!) – Typical NARTHian science to argue that homosexuality is not immutable and therefore gay people should not have rights. Example “the study also found that those who report themselves as homosexuals showed variety in their sexual experiences when measured on a continuum: 65 percent of homosexual men and 84 percent of homosexual women reported having had heterosexual intercourse.” Lots of discussion of studies from decades gone by in which psychotherapy resulted in “functioning as heterosexual” and a lot of misrepresentation of the work of others (Spitzer and Jones and Yarhouse, for example.)

Pacific Justice Institute – The Greeks and the Romans didn’t allow gay marriage so neither should we. They started with “the Greeks and Romans were clearly not homophobic” but just couldn’t resist the impulse to put in every example of Greek or Roman condemnation that could be found and concluded “Hence, defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman reflects not only the collected wisdom of the citizens, but of the ages as well.”

The States of Indiana, Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. – More specifically, the attorneys general of these states. The argument: Walker exceeded his judicial authority; the Federal Courts have no jurisdiction over marriage. Loving was justified “to uphold the core guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment” but Perry would “recast the basic parameters of marriage.” The rest was a rerun of the Proponents’ failing arguments in court.

American College of Pediatricians – Remember this totally bogus group from the lie-ridden letter crafted by NARTH but sent under their name? They are back with the predictable “Think of the Children!! Children need a mommy and a daddy. Ignore what the real professional groups say” message.

Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (John Eastman) – Eastman was NOM’s special pick for CA Attorney General – he lost badly in the Republican primary, 16 points below Steve Cooley, who had opposed Proposition 8. Reading this political rant (it really can’t be called a legal argument), I am relieved that this guy has no chance of representing my state in court… or at least not this year. His argument: ” The Initiative Proponents have standing to defend Proposition 8, both as Agents of the State and in their own right”.

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty – Gay equality is incompatible with religious liberty. If gay people are treated as full citizens and granted equal access to civil marriage, then those religious individuals and groups that oppose civil equality and support heterosexual supremacy might be sued for discrimination. Those people who operate “job training programs, child care, gyms and day camps” would not be able to discriminate, and if they did, they might not get taxpayer dollars with which to deny gay people access. And that’s why the voters approved Proposition 8: to support “religious liberty” to discriminate against gays. (They got $500 K from the Knights of Columbus last year)

National Legal Foundation – These folk call themselves “a Christian public interest law firm” but are best known as the legal team who defended Cincinnati’s Issue 3, which would have amended the city charter to ban any city laws and policies that would prohibit discrimination against gay Cincinnati residents in employment, housing, and other areas. They disagree with Walker’s finding of fact and argue that the Ninth Circuit should revisit and reverse them. In the Cincinnati case, the Sixth Circuit reversed a number of the lower court’s findings and NLF gloatingly says that this court should do the same. They fail to mention that the US Supreme Court reversed the decision and found that Cincinnati violated the US Constitution.

Eagle Forum (Phyllis Schlafly) – The Proponents and Imperial county have standing. And if they don’t have standing, then there’s no case and the whole thing should be thrown out entirely, including Judge Walker’s ruling.

Concerned Women of America – Gays are politically powerful, have powerful allies, significant funding, and the public is growing in support. So discrimination against gay people should not be subjected to heightened scrutiny. “As of June 1, 2009, thirty-one states and the District of Columbia had state laws regarding “hate crimes” based on sexual orientation.” (I wonder what else 31 states had?)

National Organization for Marriage (NOM – Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher) – Ah, NOM, we knew you’d participate. NOM has a number of interesting arguments. Yes, there are “children need a mommy and daddy” and “marriage is about procreation” and “you’re redefining marriage”, but they also have these fascinating (and oh-so-classy) things to share:

Men will no longer be willing to support their children: “When society simply weakens its support for the ideal that children should be cared for by both the man and the woman who made them, children end up disproportionately in the care of solo mothers. What will happen when the law and society rejects that view altogether as irrational bigotry? If the district court has its way, we will find out.”

Same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy and incest: “If, as the district court suggests, marriage were to become an essentially private, intimate, emotional relationship created by two people to enhance their own personal well-being, it is wrong, discriminatory, and counterproductive for the state to favor certain kinds of intimate relations over others. Sisters can cohabit and commit, and so can best friends in non-romantic relationships. Three people can cohabit and commit, too. Why can’t these people claim marriage as well? Once a key feature of marriage has been deconstructed, other historic features of marriage will become much harder to explain and defend, both in law and culture.”

And my very favorite: Look at Massachusetts; If you allow gay marriage then – oh noes – people will support it. “Data from Massachusetts likewise does little to alleviate concerns that same- sex marriage could lead to negative consequences. To the contrary, the data relied upon by the district court actually suggests a weakening in the marriage culture in the years immediately following the same-sex marriage ruling in Massachusetts. … In 2009, amicus curiae National Organization for Marriage commissioned a survey in Massachusetts of attitudes about marriage five years into that state’s experiment with same-sex marriage. The survey found that ―in the five years since gay marriage became a reality in Massachusetts, support for the idea that the ideal is a married mother and father dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent.”

Paul McHugh – McHugh is perhaps best known for his anti-transgender activism. But he’s joining in amicus to declare that you can’t define “homosexual” and it’s not fixed or immutable (presumably unlike race which is always and ever immediately discernible). Because while many people fit all three definitions (attractions, behavior, identity) there are exceptions. So therefore someone who is same-sex attracted, in a relationship with another person of the same sex, and who identifies as being gay should not be considered to be homosexual because, after all, there are people in the closet.

And because you can’t define “homosexual” then a woman in love with her same-sex partner ought not be able to marry her. Further, because there is no gay gene (unlike the African-American gene). It may be caused by education (I love this one): Because “It may very well be the case that on average lesbians and gay men in the United States have a higher educational level than comparable heterosexual men and women”, there therefore, “Education and socioeconomic levels have also been suggested as contributing factors to homosexuality.” Really? By whom? That has to be the worst example of correlation = causation that I’ve seen in a while.

But to understand the depth of McHugh’s basic dishonesty and lack of any sense of moral character, you have to consider ” Identical twin studies confirm that homosexual orientation is not genetically determined.”
Actually, twin studies have found that genetics contribute 35-39% for men and 18-19% for women. In other words, while it’s not fully genetically determined, McHugh is implying the opposite of what the studies have found.

Eugene Dong – No idea who this guy is but his argument is this: It’s expensive to have children so the state benefits by subsidizing and benefiting heterosexuality so as to perpetuate the human race.

American Civil Rights Union (sort of an anti-ACLU) – fundamental rights are limited to those that are deep-rooted in American history and tradition.

Catholics for the Common Good – God’s definition of marriage pre-exists any state recognition. They make the usual arguments (including quoting the Pope as an authority), but their real objection is found in their request to file the amicus: “…because the district court’s opinion enshrined a re-definition of marriage in California law that may expose this and similar organizations and persons of good will to claims of discrimination…” It’s the Maggie complaint, “If you treat gay people equally under the law, then those of us who want to treat them as inferior will be called bigots.”

And one woman, Tamara L. Cravit, wrote in to say that the Proponents do not have standing. So far she’s the only pro-plaintiff amicus brief.

Minneapolis paper profiles doctor who refuted bogus pediatrician group

Timothy Kincaid

May 25th, 2010

When the anti-gay activist group NARTH masqueraded as a “Psychosocial Development Committee” of a fake pediatrician organization, we exposed the charade. Truth Wins Out then got a statement from Dr. Gary Remafedi, the researcher whom the bogus group cited for much of their claims in which he refuted and debunked their anti-gay positions.

Now an article in Minneapolis’ City Pages follows up and provides more information.

Remafedi also wrote a letter to the American College of Pediatricians, asking them to stop citing his research. But the college isn’t budging. Reached at his Florida headquarters, Dr. Tom Benton, the group’s president, says he has every right to use any research he wants.

“I have the utmost respect for Dr. Remafedi,” says Benton, who is a pediatrician. “He does good work. The fact is, his research supports our conclusions, even if he doesn’t.”

Which is why, Benton says, he won’t be taking down references to Remafedi’s work or making any corrections.

That is unthinkable. To have a reputable and respected researcher explain that you are misstating his position – and doing to in a way that in directly contradictory to his intent and his findings – should be cause for immediate correction and profuse apology. To do otherwise is not only disrespectful, but may indeed be libelous.

If there ever was any question about whether perhaps the “American College of Pediatricians” was perhaps duped by NARTH and not completely complicit in their campaign of fraud, this clears up the matter completely. Dr. Tom Benton and the rest of his pretend organization are dedicated anti-gay activists first and physicians a far distant second.

Rekers’ Defense (you may want to read this somewhere that it’s OK to laugh out loud… or cry)

Timothy Kincaid

May 4th, 2010

Dr. George Rekers, anti-gay activist extraordinaire, has now clarified to blogger Joe.My.God exactly why it was that he was vacationing in Europe with a gay prostitute. It was evangelism.

I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as “gay.” My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them. Mark 2:16-17 reads, “16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” In fact, in a dialogue with hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus even stated to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. ” (Matthew 21:31).

Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them (see I Corinthians 6:8-11). Contrary to false gossip, innuendo, and slander about me, I do not in any way “hate” homosexuals, but I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story: [1] It is possible to cease homosexual practices to avoid the unacceptable health risks associated with that behavior, and [2] the most important decision one can make is to establish a relationship with God for all eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, including homosexual sins. If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.

You know, Rekers may not have actually had sex with the kid.

And I don’t doubt that he did bore him with endless evangelism. That’s the justification that Rekers gives himself to try and rationalize his own urges to travel for ten days in the company of a twink. It was the excuse that allowed him to dance on the edges of his own unwanted desires but yet somehow see it as noble.

But behind all of the claims of being “like Jesus” is the sad truth: George Rekers, after all this time fighting “homosexual sins”, still is compelled to the company of gay men. And, unable to recognize and accept his attractions which would allow him to construct an ethical life and flow his attractions into a healthy response, he has pushed them down and smothered them and now has no power over them.

So instead there is George Rekers cruising Rentboy, telling himself that he’s only there for the evangelism, that he’s feeling compassion not lust, that it’s ok because he won’t go that far too far not quite not yet really it’s not sin really he won’t have sex with them.

This time.

Anti-Gay/Ex-Gay Activist George Rekers Vacations With “Rentboy”

Jim Burroway

May 4th, 2010

The Miami New Times has an explosive exposé revealing that anti-gay activist George Rekers has taken several vacations with a “rentboy” whom the paper names as “Lucien.”  According to the paper, Rekers was photographed on April 13, 2010 at Miami International Airport returning from an extended overseas trip with the twenty-year-old.

George Rekers has a very long history in anti-gay politics. He has worked closely with Paul Cameron and was the brainchild behind Cameron’s moribund online “Journal.” He spoke as a so-called “expert witness” in support of Florida’s adoption ban, in which he also said that he would consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. He is an officer at the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), where he also serves on their Scientific Advisory Committee and as an associate editor of NARTH’s  Journal of Human Sexuality. (NARTH, you may recall, has had quite a number of controversial figures connected with that organization. More recently, another member of their Scientific Advisory Committee, Arthur Goldberg, was found to have been a convicted Wall Street swindler. Goldberg has since resigned from NARTH.)

Rekers and Goldberg are also members of the “Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee” of the fake pediatrics group, American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused the American Academy of Pediatrics, which boasts 60,000 pediatricians as members). Rekers has worked closely with Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and is a cofounder wtih James Dobson of the Family Research Council.

And he likes his rentboys young and willing to travel:

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. “I had surgery,” Rekers said, “and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.” (Though medical problems didn’t stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Uh huh. Given the thousands of dollars per day plus expenses that is typically charged by rentboys when they travel with their clients, that’s one very expensive porter.

Yet Rekers wouldn’t deny he met his slender, blond escort at Rentboy.com — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

…In his interview with New Times, Lucien didn’t want to impugn his client, but he made it clear they met through Rentboy.com, which is the only website on which he advertises his services. Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual Rentboy.com profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or Match.com. You cannot just happen upon one.

“Lucien” was very protective of Rekers — as every good male escort would be — but he did say that Rekers “likes younger guys to hang out with.” New Times reports that Rekers “frequently takes in foster children and that four years ago he adopted a 16-year-old boy.” The son declined to be interviewed.

National Institutes of Health Director condemns anti-gay pediatrician group

Timothy Kincaid

April 16th, 2010

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is perhaps best known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project. He is also known for being a scientist that has written about his Christian faith and serves on the scientific academy of the Catholic Church. Collins is a man of intellect and integrity and is consequently an immensely respected man.

And it was this integrity and respect that the bogus anti-gay group American College of Pediatricians sought to coopt in the letter to school principals they issued a few weeks ago. They thought this would impress the reader:

Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.” He also states [that] “…the prominent role[s] of individual free will choices [has] a profound effect on us.”

But the ACP has now learned that with increased impressiveness comes increased risk. The more prominent the person you seek to misrepresent, the more prominent their rebuke.

Dr. Collins has now issued the following on the NIH Director’s Page:

Statement from NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in Response to the American College of Pediatricians

April 15, 2010

“It is disturbing for me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality. The American College of Pediatricians pulled language out of context from a book I wrote in 2006 to support an ideology that can cause unnecessary anguish and encourage prejudice. The information they present is misleading and incorrect, and it is particularly troubling that they are distributing it in a way that will confuse school children and their parents.”

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director

Well, I guess it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics takes on fraudulent letter from bogus pediatrics group

Timothy Kincaid

April 13th, 2010

Yet again, Truth Wins Out has done what TWO does so well: getting professionals to refute the nonsense claimed by anti-gay activist masquerading as scientists. In response to the letter that the bogus American College of Pediatricians sent to principals, the real representative organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics has set the record straight:

On or around March 31, 2010, school superintendents may have received another letter from the American College of Pediatricians, which is in no way affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The letter promotes another campaign titled “Facts About Youth,” which professes to offer guidance to educators on “approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.” Their campaign does not acknowledge the scientific and medical evidence regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual health, or effective health education.

The AAP encourages school administrators and officials, teachers, parents, and youth to become familiar with and utilize the AAP developed and endorsed resources on this issue for reliable, sound, scientific, medical advice

Bogus “American College of Pediatricians” distributes deliberately fraudulent anti-gay propaganda to schools

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics, an association of 60,000 pediatricians, voted to adopt a position in support of gay parents. Six pediatricians who opposed this policy on religious grounds rallied like-minded friends and, on October 19th, about 15 people founded the American College of Pediatricians. It would be accurate to describe this organization as a vehicle through which a small minority of anti-gay doctors advocate in opposition to gay rights, abortion rights, and euthanasia.

According to Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, at the end of March, the ACP sent out a letter to school superintendents. They don’t say how many schools received the letter, but even one is too many.

Despite the name, ACP is not a institute of higher learning. Nor is it a professional organization for pediatricians. This is an advocacy group dedicated to political goals which is using an authoritative sounding name to fool the unaware.

Yes, their officers and their board are all pediatricians (usually older gentlemen in the South), but their “Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee” reads like a members roster of the virulently anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

The connections don’t stop at the committee level. One ACP board member, Quentin Van Meter, was a featured speaker at the 2009 NARTH Convention. And Michelle Cretella, a real nasty piece of work, sits on both boards. She is also listed as the “chair of the Sexuality Committee, American College of Pediatricians”.

With connections this deep to an organization whose primary function is to generate anti-gay propaganda masquerading as scientific research, it should not be too surprising that the American College of Pediatrics uses the same tactics. Their letter to the schools is rife with lies, misrepresentations, distortions and outright fraud. In fact, there is little there that has any distant relationship to truth.

The letter – and the website it directs the reader – makes a number of claims. And the ACP has adopted Paul Cameron’s tactic of lengthy footnotes. But, as with Cameron, the supporting documents do not support the claims. Let’s take a look at the first three.

Homosexuality is not a genetically-determined, unchangeable trait.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and (that) whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predetermination[s].” He also states that “…the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us.”

Well that’s not the first time that Byrd has twisted Collins’ work to support his own agenda. And Collins has refuted this misinterpretation. Twice.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Misquoting once is perhaps an error in judgment. Repeating the process after you have been refuted is fraud.

Next:

Homosexual attraction is determined by a combination of familial, environmental, social and biological influences. Inheritance of predisposing personality traits may play a role for some. Consequently, homosexual attraction is changeable.

Consequently? Oh please dear God don’t let our nation have school superintendents so stupid that they don’t immediately burst out laughing.

First, while we know that genetics plays a role for at least some gay men (there’s less study performed on women), we do not know whether the other contributing factors include family, environment (in utero, social, chemical, or other), or social. Interestingly, other than a book by a NARTH member, all other footnoted sources were support for the role that genetics plays.

But as for “changeable”, the evidence suggests quite the opposite. And to find that orientation has a number of contributing factors does not “consequently” support that claim.

This is simply bait and switch deception.

Third,

Most students (over 85%) with same-sex attractions will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged. Most questioning students are experiencing temporary sexual confusion or are involved in experimentation.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual. Therefore, the majority of sexually-questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Impressive, right?

Except that the source they use for the “26% of 12-year-olds” doesn’t quite say what they pretend.

From the article:

The percentage of students who were “unsure” about orientation steadily declined with age from 25.9% in 12-year-old persons to 5% in 18-year-old students.

But what does this “uncertainty” mean? Are these same-sex attracted kids?

The percentage of students reporting predominantly homosexual attractions steadily increased with age, while the proportion with bisexual or predominantly heterosexual attractions decreased.

In fact, only 2.2% of 12-year-olds reported predominantly homosexual attractions.

These kids were not “sexually-questioning youth”. And they were not “students with same-sex attractions”. Rather, these 12-year-olds were not yet “sure” about their sexual orientation. Frankly, they probably weren’t exactly sure what it all meant. But they did figure it out over time.

And were they “involved in experimentation”? Not according to this study.

Overall, 1% of respondents reported some homosexual experience; and 52%, some heterosexual experience… For males, but not females, the prevalence of reported homosexual experiences increased with age, from 0.4% at 12 years to a peak of 2.8% at 18.”

Everything that ACP claimed is refuted by going to the source they credit. This isn’t a “perspective” or a “way of reading the data”. This is a lie.

They go on with the usual litany of lies. You know, that homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle wrought with physical and mental illness caused by sexual abuse. But therapy has proven to be effective in curing homosexuality (and behavior is a choice anyway) so you shouldn’t allow support groups on campus (they aren’t good for kids). It’s pretty evil stuff.

No school should rely on this bogus organization for truth. They have none to offer.

But what they have done goes beyond opinion. It goes beyond faith or values or religion. This was a deliberate attempt to deceive. It twisted the work of legitimate researchers and sought to establish positions in educational institutions that are the opposite of what their research found to be best for the kids. If school superintendents rely on this information, it could harm the lives of children.

The board of directors of this organization are licensed medical doctors. They are pediatricians. It is unconscionable what they have done.