Religious right nuts tells Sen. Portman to urge his gay son to marry a woman

Religious right nut Paul Cameron, whose “Nazi”-like research (that’s the word of the Southern Poverty Law Center, not me) forms the basis of much of the religious right’s anti-gay “science,” is calling on Republican US Senator Rob Portman of Ohio to “urge” his gay son “to marry a woman.” Cameron made the demand in a press release blasted around the Web.

Portman famously embraced his gay son last month when announcing his new-found support for gay marriage.

While it’s easy to laugh off Cameron’s nuttiness, he is a dangerous and influential man.  As I’d written before about him, he was kicked out of the American Psychological Association, and was publicly rebuked by the Nebraska Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. And he has been called the leader of a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, America’s number one civil rights organization for tracking the klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The Southern Poverty Law Center went so far as to say that “Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” And the SPLC tracks actual Nazis, so they have the right to make the comparison.

But that didn’t stop the religious right from using Cameron’s work up until very recently.  A House committee in Colorado in 2011 used Cameron’s testimony to kill a civil union bill.  And just this past year, John Boehner’s lawyer, Paul Clement, who argued against gay marriage before the Supreme Court recently, cited research that was in part based on Cameron’s nutty hate-science.

Paul Cameron

Paul Cameron

My point being that while Cameron is a lead nut amongst the nuts, his work, sadly, has had a profound impact.  Among other things, Cameron’s claim that gay men usually die by the age of 40 (or so) was parroted by the lead GOP religious right groups ad infinitum.  In fact, Cameron’s “study” involved reading the obits in some gay papers in the early 1990s, at the height of the AIDS crisis, and averaging out the dates of death.

Well, guess what?  In the early 90s, most of the obituaries in the gay papers were of young guys dying of complications arising from HIV/AIDS.  The guys who lived longer didn’t have obituaries. So, because the average age of the obituaries was 40 or so, Cameron, and much of the religious right, used that to suggest that gay men tend to die young.  It was a total lie, and one that the lead religious right groups were happy to spread.

But that doesn’t stop Cameron from citing his newest version of the lie to Senator Portman:

“Danish government statistics show that wedded gays and lesbians die 10 to 20 years earlier than the conventionally married,”said Cameron, citing a study of gay marriage by pro-LGBT researchers Morten Frisch and Jacob Simonsen which appeared in the March, 2013 issue of Oxford’s International Journal of Epidemiology.

Examining Denmark, which in 1989 became the first country with gay marriage, they found that the average age of death for homosexually married men and women was around 60; for the conventionally married, about 80 years.

Dr. Frisch was none too pleased that Cameron had totally abused his research, calling it “a tragic parody of science.”

Cameron continues in his press release directed at Senator Portman:

Cameron said, “In fact, twin studies show that homosexual interests are not DNA-determined like race, gender and eye color, so gay analogies to the Civil Rights struggles of the last century are inapt,” Cameron said. “How else does one explain how Ellen DeGeneres’ first ‘lifetime partner’ could abandon homosexuality for traditional marriage? Senator Portman’s son was no more ‘born with’ homosexual preferences than anyone is ‘born with’ a sexual taste for children — both are acquired and can be controlled.”

Yes, how else could we explain that Ellen Degeneres’ lesbian partner left her for a man.  Um, cuz she’s bi?

Among Paul Cameron’s other proud claims: that Obama was “probably” gay; that if AIDS spread, the extermination of gays might prove necessary; he’s advocated tattooing AIDs patients in the face, and banishing them to a leper colony (then again, he’s not very far off from Mike Huckabee’s position on the matter).

But perhaps Paul Cameron was at his best when he appeared to suggest that we could learn lessons from the commandant of Auschwitz as to how to treat gay people (you might recall that gays were among those targeted in the Holocaust).   Cameron’s long invocation of a Nazi even turned off Dr. Warren Throckmorton of the uber-conservative Grove City College.  Up until a few years ago, Throckmorton was a lead anti-gay voice in the religious right.

Again, it’s easy  to laugh off Paul Cameron as just another religious right nut, but when John Boehner’s lawyer is citing studies in his legal briefs that are based on Paul Cameron’s research, and when Paul Cameron is traveling to oppressive anti-gay countries like Moldova as an “expert witness” on sexual orientation, he’s more than just a nut.  He’s a dangerous nut.  Senator Portman should be clear on who he’s dealing with.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • cole3244

    to a degree that’s true but when you get down to those at the bottom of the economic & education ladder i think its pure hate, because hate is all some have to look forward to and to keep their juices flowing since their future & options are so bleak.

    thanks for the input.

  • Sweetie

    It’s not hate as much as it’s avarice. They think this will gain them money, power, and influence. It’s political opportunism more than anything. True hatred, stemming from fear, is rarely the primary motivator.

    These people are sociopaths.

  • Sweetie

    Freedom of speech is actually an illusion, but it is a nice thought nonetheless.

    You will not find a lot of views on any TV media outlet. Ever.

  • Sweetie

    “…the Bible is probably the most genocidal book in the literary canon.” — Chomsky

  • Sweetie

    They don’t understand the word lifestyle. They don’t understand illusory correlation. I suppose they should be thankful for being able to tie their shoes.

  • Sweetie

    They have no concept of illusory correlation.

  • Sweetie

    They’d have to do better. Remember, the crowd of gay male rapists expressed no interest in them. Or, maybe it was that they had faces only a father could love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.j.foster.9 John Jay Foster

    Mr. Cameron should be arrested, he’s inducing Sen Portman’s son into committing the crime of fraud.

  • Ted Hayes

    Hasn’t Paul Cameron done enough destruction of lives with his quackery? Now he wants to destroy two more by having a gay man marry a straight woman? Where are the squirrels when you need them?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    There will always be quacks. And pathologically homophobic lunatics like Paul Cameron have a right to say whatever they like.

    The problem, as ever, is men like him continue to be treated as if they have a legitimate and non-crazy point of view. It’s all fine and good to discredit his ridiculous assertions and phony “science,” but our real targets should be those media outlets that continue to give him a soapbox upon which to spew his hate.

    Each and every time he appears on one of these nationally syndicated programs, it lends legitimacy to his bigotry, especially when most or all of his bogus claims are allowed to remain unrefuted. The uninformed come away from seeing him, thinking, “Gee, I didn’t know that gays die young and that being gay is entirely a choice. I’d better sit my 7 year old down and have a talk with him about the dangers.”

    I never merely dismiss hatemongers such as Cameron, but there’s no getting rid of them. What we should be doing is every time he or someone like him appears on a program, write or call the show’s producers and let them know they just enabled the spread of bigotry and prejudice and to ask them not to make the same mistake again.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oooh, good one.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    They’ve already gone and claimed that being gay is a risk factor for depression and suicide — deliberately overlooking the fact the actual cause is the intolerance, societal rejection and anti-gay animus.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And of course to assume a wide stance in support of the heterosexual lifestyle choice.

  • BlueIdaho

    I’m gay and 61 so guess that makes me an exception to his theory.

  • kingstonbears

    Sounds pretty republican to me.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    fortune cookies?

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    Indeed. Whenever Jesus freaks start in with the smug assertions that homosexuals (or “homosexualists”) are merely exercising a “lifestyle choice” and therefore not deserving of equality under the law, I have to wonder if anyone’s pointed out to them that nobody was born a fundie Christian. Why should their choice rule over everybody else’s?

  • MoonDragon

    The last time I looked, religious belief (sectarian specific dogmas and ritual practices) were not shown to be encoded in DNA. Specific religious beliefs are a choice, and since it is irrational to protect lifestyle choices, the rational conclusion is that all protections of behavior that are a matter of choice (such as religious practices) should be removed from the constitution. Owning guns is a lifestyle choice, isn’t it?

  • nicho

    And religious “preferences”are not gene determined, so we probably shouldn’t grant any constitutional protection to them either.

  • nicho

    I believe that would be Rev. Moon’s “church.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.jankowiak.1 Jeff Jankowiak

    Thank you for continuing to remind us that Cameron is a nut. The good thing is I am not longer afraid of crazy. He is also lucky he doesn’ spew this crap to my face. As a community we need to continue to expose this guy at every turn. We also need to remind our public officials there is no place for this kind of false information in our society. I believe strongly in free speech but our judical system has determined over and over you cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater without consequences. We have so many great lawyers in our community. I hope they can find a way to start taking money out of this man’s pocket. When we finally do I am sure he is going guard his words more carefully.

  • Ninong

    This guy is a complete quack, which is why he was expelled from his professional association thirty years ago. He doesn’t have a medical degree, he’s a psychologist who taught psychology at Fullerton Theological University. He has made up a whole lot of stuff over the years out of thin air. He admitted that he made up the claim about a 4-year-old-boy being brutally raped by a homosexual to sway an election.

    His own personal sexual experience is bizarre, to say the least. He claims to have been sexually attracted to men since the age of 3, to have had his first homosexual experience at the age of 4, to have had a much more satisfying heterosexual experience at the age of 5 and to have become fully heterosexual at the age of 8. WTF? That is some of the craziest shit I have ever heard!

    As far as his references to twin studies, he’s nuts. The study he’s talking about showed that 51% of identical twin pairs with at least one gay were both gay. I’m not claiming that proves anything at all but I am pointing out that the percentage of gays in the general population is generally estimated to be at least 5% and no more than 10% at the most. Therefore, statistically speaking, we would expect somewhere between 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 twin couples with at least one gay to have a second gay, not half of them.

    The most recent research is pointing in the direction of early embryonic development. Being the son of an identical twin and having an identical twin couple as very best friends, I can tell you from personal experience that while identical twins are indeed extremely identical, they are not 100% identical. That might be due to differences in gene expression in very early embryonic development following the splitting of the zygote into two. The research being done now on the causes of homosexual orientation are looking at early stage embryonic changes that may not be completed.

    I guess most people know that we all start out as females and then, after the right chemical trigger (I don’t know the correct term), a prostate is formed in what is to become a male embryo, then that prostate puts out horomones that trigger the embryonic clitoris to become a penis, etc. It shuts down the development of an ovary and turns it into testes instead. That’s similar to the way most fish vertebrates start out, except that with them it is sometimes the female sex that is dominate, although most genera have males dominate. And some genera are hermaphroditic. In many fish genera, the change from female to male or from male to female takes place much later in their life and is triggered by social changes.

    Anyway, Cameron’s reference to those twin studies is completely bogus and proves nothing. If half of the gay twin couples had both members gay then that’s not what one would expect. What he’s trying to say is that if it was genetic, in the way we usually think of that term, then both members of an identical twin pair should be gay if one was gay. He fails to explain why half of identical twin pairs with one gay member were both gay. The twin studies just added more confustion to the issue of what causes homosexual attraction.

    We know that it is found throughout nature. In fact, it is extremely common. Does it serve some evolutionary purpose or is it just something that happens that doesn’t serve an evolutionary purpose? Is it possible for it to exist if it doesn’t serve an evolutionary purpose? It exists. That’s about the extent of it right now but I think we will know a lot more before the end of this decade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    It is the obvious duty of Sen. Portman’s son to enter into a traditional evangelical Christian wedding: one man, one woman, and a bunch of furtive affairs off to the side.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    It’s not proper research. It’s quackery.

  • cole3244

    if we could beat the hate out of the right like they want to beat the gay out of individuals now that would be an act i could support, calm down i’m being facetious.

  • Tor

    I assume Cameron would have no problem if Will Portman were to marry one of his daughters (if he has any).

  • Gary Harmer

    What business is it of ANYONE? Let them be…and stay the hell out of my bedroom!

  • wmforr

    Not that I wish for such horrible things to happen to anyone, but if there is another tragic school shooting, I would prefer the victims to be children of the the NRA officials and their employees in Congress. I would really like to see their reaction once they are James-Bradied.

  • sallyh

    We contacted Portman to the effect that while we agreed with his change of heart on gay marriage, we hoped it would not take a family member being a gunshot victim to change his stance on background checks.

  • wmforr

    Like Lot did?

  • Sally

    And I bet when he gets done eradicating gays, he starts in on women. Why all the hate, GOP? I thought the Christian God is a God of love? He is in my church anyway.

  • Hue-Man

    If proper research were to show that married lesbian and gay couples die younger, then we should all be concerned. One obvious explanation would be that the tax system and employer bigotry have denied gay couples access to reasonable-cost health care, favorable tax rates (leading to more poverty), and the other benefits that only married heterosexual couples are entitled to. Of course, Paul Kameron would claim that government and employers were only taking the morally correct actions (short of tattooing, pink triangles, and concentration camps)!

  • rerutled

    Perhaps one of them would like to offer up their daughter?

  • caphillprof

    Where apart from the medieval Stans does anybody get off telling anyone who he or she should marry.

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