The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Insurance Service Quotes Anti-Gay Crackpot as Authority

By Casey Sanchez on July 21, 2008 - 10:08 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT

“It’s a loaded subject, but let’s get right down to it: gay men, on average, die significantly younger than the rest of the population.” So begins “Gay Men Die 20 Years Younger,” an article posted on insure.com, a publicly traded online insurance brokerage. The source for the article is identified as none other than “Dr. Paul Cameron, the President of the Family Research Institute, [who] published a study in Psychological Reports that confirmed a 20-year life expectancy gap for actively gay men.”

The study in question in fact did nothing of the sort. Its author is a notorious anti-gay propagandist who for more than 25 years has circulated bogus, homophobic “research findings” in pay-to-publish vanity magazines like Psychological Reports (which will publish most anybody willing to pay $27.50 a page). Cameron’s goal, as he says quite candidly, is to provide “ammunition for those who want laws adopted banning homosexual acts throughout the United States.” (In fact, such laws were struck down as unconstitutional by the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.) Cameron’s propaganda is so transparently false and aimed merely at defaming homosexuals that the Southern Poverty Law Center added his Family Research Institute to its list of hate groups in 2005.

One of Cameron’s most infamous works is his 1983 “gay obituary study,” for which he used obituaries published in gay newspapers at the height of the AIDS crisis to conclude that gay men die on average at 43. “Gay Men Die 20 Years Younger,” which was written by insure.com company blogger Joseph White, is obviously based on the gay obituary study, even though Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, thoroughly debunked the study in 1997 in the online magazine Slate.

The average age of death for AIDS victims, Olson noted, was about 40. For Cameron’s figure of 43 years old to hold true, he pointed out, gay people who never contract AIDS must have a life expectancy of no more than 46 years — a truly absurd proposition. “Looked at another way,” Olson reported, “if even half the gay male population stays HIV-negative and lives to an average age of 75, an average overall life span of 43 implies that gay males with AIDS die at an implausibly early age (11, actually).”

Despite Cameron’s total lack of credibility and professional accreditation — he was expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 for ethical violations — his work is often cited favorably by anti-gay hate groups, and it still pops up regularly in conservative religious sermons.

But what’s it doing on insure.com?

Although insure.com is a regular sponsor of conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly’s radio show, by all appearances it’s an established mainstream business website. Insure.com, which describes itself as “an online consumer insurance information service” that allows visitors to obtain insurance quotes from more than 200 leading insurers, regularly wins Web design and Web commerce awards. The site is not a public discussion forum. Its owners strictly control its content, and the vast majority of its articles — described as “a vast library of originally authored insurance articles … not available from any other source” —deal with topics like quarterly car insurance rate reports and tips for discussing rider policies with a homeowners insurance agent. It’s hardly a typical venue for promoting the work of a raving homophobe like Cameron, who once said: “Homosexuality is an infectious appetite. It is like the dog that gets a taste for blood after killing its first victim and desires to get more victims thereafter with a ravenous hunger.”

Last month, bloggers at boxturtlebulletin.com, which delivers “news analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric,” privately contacted insure.com CEO Robert Bland to make sure that Bland knew all about Cameron’s background, including his praise for Nazi Rudolph Höss, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, for how he “dealt with” gays. The bloggers went public after Bland wrote back, informing them he had no intention of removing the article from the website. “It contains no factual errors and no editorial bias or slant whatsoever,” Bland wrote in a July 12 post to the boxturtlebulletin.com comments section.

Addressing the implications of Cameron’s findings for the life insurance industry, the insure.com article concludes that despite the gross disparity in life spans, “no life insurance companies charge elevated rates to gay men. Then again, perhaps the issue is still too sensitive for such realistic evaluation.”

Bland, in his correspondence with the boxturtlebulletin bloggers, indicated his belief that such a “realistic evaluation” should be based at least in part on the work of Paul Cameron: “There’s a human interest story to be researched here on why all U.S. life insurers decline HIV-positive applicants (many of whom are healthy and have been for two decades) but will not even attempt to segregate gays who, according to a growing body of evidence, may have a much shorter lifespan than non-gays.”

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  • Johnny Long

    Bland I think perhaps you are taking it between the cheeks!

  • A.J.

    You are probably aware, but I will post this anyway. Bob Bland sold Insure.com a couple of years ago and re-established himself under the company Life Quotes with a contract as the life insurance affiliate for GEICO. I personally am boycotting both companies due to Bob Bland’s anti-gay stance.

  • Jake

    Even of he didn’t seem to care more about attacking gays than providing a legitimate product, that Bland guy seems flat out incompetent. Ridiculous.

  • http://rewinn.blogspot.com rewinn

    If insurance.com has ONE article that is so easily proven full of garbage, and upon notification, refuses to remove it … why would we trust ANY of its articles?

  • Joseph

    Get off your high horse Bland. All you’re trying to do is protect your profits.

  • BC

    Mr. Bland, “elevated cancer risk” does not equal an average life expectancy decrease of 20 years, even if the study you cite is accurate.

    That said, did any of your company analysts obtain peer reviews or look into the methodology of the study? After all, Kevin MacDonald is a psychology professor.

    Let me guess your answer: no.

  • http://none Gray Cat

    Hey Bland,

    Even your quote about Morten Frisch does more to debunk the idea of early mortality of gays, if you actually thought about it. Your own article says that gays are no more likely to have cancer, UNLESS they have AIDS. You debunked yourself. You proved that AIDS is a possible cause for early mortality, not being gay. The only evidence you have shown is that hatefulness twists all rational thought and fact.

  • Anadon

    How about someone in the actual mix of things says the obvious: what’s going on. The research is biased. Insure.com should, as well with all other submissions for articles, evaluate all sources. Currently there is nothing going on in the gay community to make a significant difference in life expectancy. Have a average life expectancy of 46 for gays without AIDS is far off. Several friends have come to and passed that mark without so much as arthritis.

    Defending such shoddy research is an act of defending anti-gay individuals and groups.

  • http://www.insure.com Robert Bland

    Noted mortality researcher Morten Frisch did baseline research on this topic and reported in 2003 that homosexual men were, in fact, at elevated cancer risk (see below):

    “Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Jun 1;157 (11):966-72 12777359 (P,S,E,B) Cited:1 Cancer in a population-based cohort of men and women in registered homosexual partnerships.
    [My paper] Morten Frisch, Else Smith, Andrew Grulich, Christoffer Johansen Department of Epidemiology Research, Danish Epidemiology Science Center, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark. mfr@ssi.dk Cancer patterns among broad populations of homosexual men and women have not been studied systematically. The authors followed 1,614 women and 3,391 men in Denmark for cancer from their first registration for marriage-like homosexual partnership between 1989 and 1997. Ratios of observed to expected cancers measured relative risk. Women in homosexual partnerships had cancer risks similar to those of Danish women in general (overall relative risk (RR) = 0.9, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.6, 1.4), but only one woman developed cervical carcinoma in situ versus 5.8 women expected (RR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.0, 0.97). Overall, men in homosexual partnerships were at elevated cancer risk (RR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.8, 2.5), due mainly to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma (RR = 136, 95% CI: 96, 186) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (RR = 15.1, 95% CI: 10.4, 21.4). Anal squamous carcinoma also occurred in excess (RR = 31.2, 95% CI: 8.4, 79.8).”

    Dr. Frisch’s research states that homosexual men have a deadly increase (RR=2.1) of carrying 3 deadly cancers.
    Will you be calling him a “Crackpot” anytime soon?

    We reported on this issue back in November 2007 as a matter of mortality interest to consumers and the life insurance industry. Our articles are accurate, fair, impartial and balanced and we have no political agenda on this issue whatsoever except to report the truth at all times.

    Robert Bland, CLU
    Chairman and CEO
    Insure.com

  • mikek

    Thank you for keeping Bland and Insurance.com on the front burner of Haterwatch.

  • Mike Menkes

    God bless Bill O’Reilly

  • SamDamnit

    I will not be visiting Mr. Bland’s website any time soon, and will make a point of blogging about his support for gay bashing rhetoric.

  • Tom3

    “Our articles are accurate,fair, impartial and balanced”.

    Okay, Bland…put up or shut up.

    Print an article that debunks that gay-bashing trash.

    You advertise for PervOreilly on your website, so I have a hunch you don’t have the guts to print the other side of this story.

    I am telling all my insurance colleagues to avoid your website like the plague.

  • Tom3

    Shame on YOU, Bland!!

    That was not a legitimate article with legitimate research.

    You should have done some fact-checking before posting such garbage on your website.

    I work in insurance. You are not being ethical by posting non-factual garbage that has been thoroughly debunked.

  • Sharon

    Paul Cameron, Family Research Center, AND Bill O’Reilly DESERVE to be posted on Hatewatch, whether their supporters like it or not.

  • Ed Weston

    Mr. Bland
    It took me all of five minutes to research M Frisch
    He appears to have a bone to pick with Mr. Cameron. To dipict him as supporting Mr. Cameron’s work is, ignorant and disengenius at the least.
    A recent survey said 75% of us would be infavor of eliminating the don’t ask don’t tell policy in our military. Where are you on this?
    If you want to consider the evil of the gay lifestyle, consider J Edger Hoover. If Mary Hoover hadn’t had to hide away, would the history of the FBI under his tenure been the same. Would the Mafia’s history been different without their ability to blackmail Mary?

  • High John de Conquerer

    Casey Sanchez calling people “crackpots” is him projecting onto others what he is.

    For example, he published a piece covering up the sex trafficking of Mexican children in San Diego because it would hurt their cause of hate against Americans who want the border secured.

  • http://www.insure.com Robert Bland

    Mr. Sanchez,

    Shame on you!

    Calling people “crackpots” and slaming my firm for its journalistic desire to report on relevant mortality issues of interest seems hateful itself, shortsighted and certainly contrary to your “hatewatch” million. The article that has you in a lather was published by us back in November 2007 and is one of 3,000 that we have posted at Insure.com since 1995. Insure.com has no political agenda and never has. Moroever, our article also describes the many Cameron critics in several places. And you conveniently left out my written promise to The Box Turtle writers that we’d soon be re-researching this topic in hopes of further expanding our article, which would take 3-4 weeks.

    Don’t like the Camerons, you say? Note to throw gas on your fire, but noted mortality researcher Morten Frisch did baseline research on this topic and reported in 2003 that homosexual men were, in fact, at elevated cancer risk (see below):

    “Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Jun 1;157 (11):966-72 12777359 (P,S,E,B) Cited:1 Cancer in a population-based cohort of men and women in registered homosexual partnerships.
    [My paper] Morten Frisch, Else Smith, Andrew Grulich, Christoffer Johansen Department of Epidemiology Research, Danish Epidemiology Science Center, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark. mfr@ssi.dk Cancer patterns among broad populations of homosexual men and women have not been studied systematically. The authors followed 1,614 women and 3,391 men in Denmark for cancer from their first registration for marriage-like homosexual partnership between 1989 and 1997. Ratios of observed to expected cancers measured relative risk. Women in homosexual partnerships had cancer risks similar to those of Danish women in general (overall relative risk (RR) = 0.9, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.6, 1.4), but only one woman developed cervical carcinoma in situ versus 5.8 women expected (RR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.0, 0.97). Overall, men in homosexual partnerships were at elevated cancer risk (RR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.8, 2.5), due mainly to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma (RR = 136, 95% CI: 96, 186) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (RR = 15.1, 95% CI: 10.4, 21.4). Anal squamous carcinoma also occurred in excess (RR = 31.2, 95% CI: 8.4, 79.8).”

    Dr. Frisch’s research states that homosexual men have a deadly increase (RR=2.1) of carrying 3 deadly cancers.
    Will you be calling him a “Crackpot” anytime soon?

    We reported on this issue back in November 2007 as a matter of mortality interest to consumers and the life insurance industry. Our articles are accurate, fair, impartial and balanced.

    Robert Bland, CLU
    Chairman and CEO
    Insure.com