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DOMA Prevents HIV?

I usually resist the temptation to spotlight over-the-top right-wing rhetoric related to LGBT issues or HIV/AIDS. My general impulse is to not fan the flames of ignorance.

Calling out such nonsense from time to time, however, can be a worthy exercise. It reminds me of how far we've come and how far we still have yet to go.

Matt Barber is director of cultural affairs with Liberty Counsel ("an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family").

He also co-hosts the Liberty Live talk radio program. In a video clip from his program posted by that I ran across at the LGBT blog Joe.My.God, Barber makes outlandish claims about parenting, marriage and HIV.

Watch the clip:

In the clip, Barber claims that children raised by lesbian or gay parents are 8 times more likely to be lesbian or gay themselves. A study in 2010 supports that assertion, but if it's true -- and that's a big if -- could it be that these children are just more comfortable accepting their sexual orientations? I'm no researcher, so I'll move on.

Citing a questionable study correctly is bad enough, but citing statistics from a legitimate source incorrectly is a big no-no. And that's what Barber does next in the clip. Barber claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says one in five gay men in the United States are HIV positive and 40 percent of them are unaware of their status.

So, since lesbian and gay parents are more likely to have lesbian and gay kids who are more likely to contract HIV, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids federal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples and interstate recognition of such marriages, should not be repealed. Ugh.

Barber almost got the HIV stats right, but he made a crucial omission that skews everything. From the CDC statement on the study: "Approximately one in five (19 percent) men who have sex with men (MSM) in a study of 21 major U.S. cities is infected with HIV, and nearly half (44 percent) of those men are unaware of their infection."

I added the boldface to the quote above. Those statistics refer to urban areas, not a nationwide average. In a previous blog post, I did some math that shows about one in 10 MSM have HIV nationwide. There's a big difference between one in five and one in 10.

And even if it were true that 20 percent of gay men had HIV (which it's not, see above), I fail to see the logic behind connecting HIV prevalence to the denial of civil rights for LGBT people.

Obviously, this crowd isn't done scapegoating LGBT people for all the ills of the world and isn't sparing the rod when it comes to people with HIV/AIDS. For anyone that thinks otherwise, replay the clip above. We must remain ever vigilant.

Oriol on:


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Comments on Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.'s blog entry "DOMA Prevents HIV?"

Wow, how ignorant does one have to be?

Could it be that a Gay or Bisexual person raised by GAy parents is much more likely to uncloseted than those raised by straight parents? On the other hand, could it be that a child of Gay parents who is straight might state they are Gay or Bisexual on a survey to identify with the struggles they see thier parents facing? Perhaps wanting to count themselves as Gay or bisexual to help in the struggle? Could it be a Gay person, raised by straight parents, perhaps straight parents who are Christian Fundementalists (let's say) who teach that Gays are evil, destined for Hell, and indicate they will disown their children, if Gay? Until things are indeed equal for Gays, no survey asking questions about one's orientation can be taken without a pound or ton of salt.

Seems hypocritical to suggest marriage REDUCES incidence of HIV, as the Christian Right does with thier abstinence before marriage message, but reverses this view re Gays. To them, it's just a matter of more Gays = more HIV, a view that disregards behavior over orientation. A totally unscientific view, consistent with all thier views actually. Two Gays, both negative, in a monogamous relationship, which most marriages, Gay or Straight, are, will not result in transmission of HIV. This, no matter how much sex they have. Perhaps, they don't believe this fact. Ignorance of scientific facts not considered a problem in the eyes of the Ultra=religious Right. In fact, this ignorance is considered a point of honor.

The survey referenced by the article that proposed that children raised by gay parents were more likely to be gay themselves has been debunked. Below is a link. It is based on a meta-analysis of literary works about raising children as gay parents and not on any randomized sampling. More pseudo-science from the hate brigade.

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This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on November 15, 2011 4:27 PM.

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