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

The Illinois Family Institute Again Cites Discredited Research, Briefly

By Mark Potok on April 17, 2009 - 9:45 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Today is the 13th annual “Day of Silence,” an event organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to call attention to the bullying of sexual minorities in schools. And the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is mad.

So mad, in fact, that it put up a ham-handed propaganda video on its website Wednesday, complete with a wicked teacher (who it suggests is a member of the National Education Association union) tossing a Bible in the trash, miserable kids with taped-over mouths forced to participate in the “Day of Silence,” and references to how school calendars have replaced Patriot’s Day and Easter vacation with “Earth Day and spring break” (“a day honoring the bravery of our forefathers and a time marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ supplanted by political correctness and radical environmentalism”). It goes on to describe how homosexuals have worked to be seen as “victims” even as they insidiously promote “tolerance“ and suggests that all is not what it seems.

“Hiding beneath this glossy veneer is the truth that in nearly every study, it is the homosexual who is more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, to accept abusive relationships, to acquire and spread sexually transmitted disease, to suffer in depression and doubt, even to view suicide as a solution. The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65,” the narrator says.

Make that said.

Within hours of putting up the attack video, the IFI had snatched it down. First off, it had suggested the video was produced by a Baptist church in Arizona, but that church notified IFI that it was not the author and publicly denied being in any way involved.  IFI fixed that up pretty quickly, attributing the video to another church, this one in Illinois, when it put back up the revamped video a few hours later. But there was one other little-noticed change, too.

When the video reappeared on the IFI website, two lines of narration had been mysteriously edited out: “The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65.” What’s up with that?

Well, the IFI has for some weeks now been in a hot dispute with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes this blog and also began listing IFI as a “hate group” earlier this year. The group has accused SPLC, ironically enough, of “bullying” IFI by listing it as a hate group (apparently, that’s okay for homophobic kids and teachers, but not for critics of IFI). IFI official Laurie Higgins has angrily disputed the hate-group label, which was mainly based on the posting on IFI’s website of a laudatory story about the discredited work of anti-gay “researcher” Paul Cameron, a man who has been thrown out of two professional associations because, as one said, he “consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism.” IFI’s story on Cameron — “New Study Shows that Homosexuals Live 20 Fewer Years” — was preceded by what amounted to a full-throated endorsement of Cameron from then-IFI Executive Director Peter LaBarbera. (“Paul Cameron’s work has been targeted for ridicule by homosexual activists, and he’s been demonized by the left,” LaBarbera wrote, “but this should not discount his findings.”) Higgins wrote angrily that SPLC’s listing was based on a single article, posted in 2005, and that she would not remove it because it showed how “flimsy” SPLC’s characterization of IFI was.

As the SPLC noted years ago, the Cameron “study” cited by IFI was based on obituaries in gay newspapers and has been completely discredited. It was published in what IFI characterized as “the scientific journal, Psychological Reports” — actually a vanity publication that charges “researchers” a mere $27.50 a page to publish their work. Interestingly, it was another version of the Cameron study on gay longevity — the subject of the piece published by IFI — that was referenced in the video IFI put up this week. But now Higgins has apparently decided that IFI should avoid repeating the Cameron defamations, and thus the scrubbing of the video it published. The film also apparently managed to get something else wrong — if you believe IFI’s story on Cameron, that is. That article says that the Centers for Disease Control found that “9% of heterosexuals who died of AIDS were at least 65 years of age.” In the video — until it was scrubbed by IFI — the claim was that only 9% of homosexual men live past the age of 65. Needless to say, those are entirely different statements.

But who’s surprised by that? When an organization like IFI relies on the work of discredited crackpots like Cameron, what’s a fact wrong here and there? Higgins said weeks ago that she would look into SPLC claims about Cameron. But so far not much has happened — other than IFI’s obvious attempt to avoid the embarrassment of, once again, quoting the infamous Paul Cameron to support its homophobia.

  • Paen

    How is hatred a family value?

  • David Hart

    Higgins posted a relevant rant to our site as a comment.

  • LaTrice

    Hey IFI, in the past 2 weeks, in different parts of the country a10 year old boy and the 11/12 old boy both commited suicide. Why, because they were being bullied at school because a group of idiots said they were “acting” gay. Both the boys reported the harrassment to school official and told their parents, but the bullying continued. It cases like these that make the Day of Silence necessary, not any promotion of the “gay agenda.” Whatever the heck that is.

  • Carter

    I apologize for being flippant but even the IDEA that gays have anything to do with current social problems seems ridiculous to me.
    We have had gay men & women working in societies since the dawn of history!

    It’s like dealing with the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder (the honey bees dying off) as an insect emotional health problem.
    What are we to do; create a 12-Step problem for bees? Have them talk about their inner larva? Create support groups so honey bees can share their feelings? Or perhaps the bees in question should be referred to half-way hives? Maybe they should be treated medically with anti-depressants while dealing with issues with their Queen on a one to one basis!

    My goodness, this country makes itself look foolish in public so often, it’s no wonder we elected a President who couldn’t deal with public speaking & worked out his issues with his Dad in public by “creating a better war” than he did…. It would be damn funny if folks didn’t die in the process. There is enough grotesque things that Clinton did as well. But his childishness is too vulgar to toss about in public. It left a damn bad taste in the mouths of the American people to stick to him as it did others.
    We had better grow up. Americans have been in societal adolescence too long for it to be healthy!

  • Tom Shelley

    This raises two of the arguments that homophobes make.

    1. The drugs, suicide, depression, alcohol, abusive relationships. It’s the first I’ve heard of the drugs, abusive relationships and alcohol, but the suicide and depression I’ve heard of before, and the other three would be related to what I’m going to say. What the homophobes don’t say and might not understand is that that wouldn’t be any more common among gay people than it is with straight people if it wasn’t for the homophobia. I mean, it’s like breaking someone’s legs and then criticizing them because they don’t get around so fast on crutches.

    2. STDs. I’m not too familiar with homosexuals and STDs in GENERAL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is based largely/entirely on AIDS. The thing is, it seems like it was just bad luck that AIDs in America at first was vastly disproportionately among gay men. The fact that it’s still very dispoportionately gay men is not surprising since gay men like to have sex with gay men. And world-wide, at this point it seems like it’s not disproportionate at all (that’s based on And in general, it’s not the first time something like has happened- there are lots of diseases that are common to one or another group based on sex or ethnicity. No one says there’s something wrong with those groups.

    The thing is, what these homophobes ignore, is that you’re a LOT less likely to get an STD if you’re a woman having sex with another woman than if you’re a woman having sex with a man. The CDC doesn’t say anything about woman-woman transmission of AIDS ( because it almost never happens. And in general, women almost never get STDs through lesbian sex. I mean, how often have you heard people lecturing straight men to use some kind of barrier during oral sex? Never, and they never use one. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you are less likely to get an STD through lesbian sex than if you’re a woman having sex with a man.

    So, when are these homophobes going to tell women that they should be gay?

  • a. mcewen

    You know that neither Higgins nor the IFI will look into the complaints about Cameron because they are fully aware of what’s going on. The ducking and dodging they are doing only bring down their credibility.

  • Carter

    I think there are -=several=- issues here & one of them is school bullying of “different” children. Frankly, that is one that concerns me because adults have recourse while children are in our care.
    I think we have made mistakes in schools where children are given more power of choice and treated more like little adults in areas where their childhoods have grown much shorter. Children are marketed to by advertisers who sexualize them at a continually earlier age. They are thrust into political agendas, & used. The clothing manufacturers are a keen example of this.
    I do NOT put the weight of this on the school system however. By backing away from children & not being as active a parent as possible we have developed surrogates; the educational system being just one of them.
    Personally I DON’T want the government in my bedroom nor my decision making process. I have recognized that I had a choice whether to let the school raise my children or do so myself.
    Where this becomes very complex is the issue of school bullying & the natural element of experimentation that some adolescents go through. Children are not naturally sexually active but adolescents are. The less of a childhood we provide our kids, the more they are forced to deal with issues that may not be suited to their age & developmental level.
    This problem is furthered by the marketing agenda, natural curiosity, need to socialize (& fit in somewhere), & loss of a more relaxed & progressive childhood that we are continually providing less & less of to our children.
    I do not believe that this is an issue of whether Gay couples can make great parents; this is an issue of parents generally not doing their damn job!
    Gay or Straight; get you damn priorities right. If you both have to work to make a living, that does not provide an excuse for abdication of communicating with your kid & allowing that kid to be brought up by advertising media that has one agenda… make money [not to make a good parent].