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

Gay Bashers Use Myths to Deride New York’s New Marriage Law

By Robert Steinback on July 7, 2011 - 1:39 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Les Kinsolving, a conservative talk-show host in Baltimore who claims to be a White House correspondent for the fact-challenged online conspiracy portal World Net Daily, is among the latest to employ discredited myths that LGBT people risk early death and poor health simply for being gay.

Under the headline “Pandering to deadly-disease spreaders,” Kinsolving on Tuesday chided President Obama for praising New York’s decision in late June to legalize same-sex marriage. The commentator ludicrously equated homosexuality with paraphilia, an abnormal sexual attraction to objects, nonconsenting partners such as children, or dangerous or humiliating acts. Kinsolving defined attraction to dead bodies, animals, feces, urine and similar objects as “sexual orientations.”

Kinsolving then refers to LGBT people as “deadly-disease spreaders,” alluding to the higher rates of HIV-AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among LGBT people, particularly gay men. He misleadingly conflates sexual orientation and the behavioral factors that actually spread such infections among both gays and straights alike. “Such presidential pandering to deadly-disease spreaders is surely a despicable means of trying to attract votes by an incumbent who will apparently do anything to try to win re-election.”

What is, in fact, despicable is Kinsolving’s sly linkage of two entirely unrelated matters: The political issue of legal same-sex unions and the medical issues regarding physical and emotional health. STIs are spread primarily through unprotected sexual contact regardless of whether the participants are joined in matrimony. If anything, logic suggests that gay men and lesbians who can choose marriage would be less inclined to seek multiple or heterosexual partners, and that such monogamy would likely slow the spread of STIs. In fact, one 2009 study suggested that bans on gay marriage may increase the spread of HIV-AIDS by compelling more LGBT people to resort to underground sexual practices that carry more risk.

Kinsolving’s rant is hardly an isolated reaction on the far right. Gary Glenn, the head of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association (AFA) – an SPLC-designated hate group – appeared Tuesday on the radio show hosted by Linda Harvey of Mission America. Similarly misconstruing health and domestic violence data, the two agreed that employers should avoid hiring LGBT people.

Implying that sexual orientation is a choice – a position not supported by reliable research – Glenn said, “It’s not really bright to engage in [homosexual] behavior that puts you at dramatically higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse and AIDS and cancer and hepatitis, and according to various sources, premature death.” Harvey replied: “You’re right. And higher rates of domestic violence and unstable relationships. I would not think of a homosexual person as a good employment risk, I just wouldn’t.”

If, in fact, hiring decisions were based on statistical probabilities that an employee would commit domestic abuse, straight men would head the list of those who should be shunned for employment, since men are responsible for almost 96 percent of the cases of partner abuse against women. In any case, numerous studies have shown that domestic violence among LGBT couples occurs at about the same rate as among heterosexual couples – in about 25 to 33 percent of relationships.

The long-disproved myth that LGBT people have significantly shorter life spans than heterosexuals is a throwback to flawed studies by widely discredited researchers like Paul Cameron. It is virtually impossible to compare gay and straight death rates, mostly because there is no reliable way to ascertain who, among all who have died, were gay.

As for the “severe medical consequences” of being an LGBT person, Glenn, like Kinsolving, makes a causality error that is typical among gay bashers. He alleges that simply being gay results in physical and emotional consequences – fully ignoring behavioral choices, which affect the spread of physical disease, and the societal pressures that credible research shows serves to ostracize LGBT people and cut them off from the professional help and family support they may need to cope with being stigmatized.

The World Health Organization in June issued a report that concluded, “Long-standing evidence indicates that MSM [men who have sex with men] and transgender people experience significant barriers to quality health care due to widespread stigma against homosexuality and ignorance about gender variance in mainstream society and within health systems. Social discrimination against MSM and transgender people has also been described as a key driver of poor physical and mental health outcomes in these populations across diverse settings. In addition to being disproportionately burdened by STI and HIV, MSM and transgender people experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, smoking, alcohol abuse, substance use and suicide as a result of chronic stress, social isolation and disconnection from a range of health and support services.”

In other words, the next time Kinsolving, Glenn and Harvey want to discuss risk factors facing LGBT people, they should first consult a mirror.

  • RLavigueur


    The difference in HIV infection between gay men and lesbian women has little if anything to do with male promiscuity or with “riskier” male sex drives. Mostly it has to do with the physics of unprotected gay male sex, particularly anal sex, which has a much higher chance of leading to an exchange of blood, and therefore a much higher chance of transmitting HIV. With apologies for the vulgarity, lesbians are less likely to engage in unprotected penetrative sex involving a body part doing the penetrating, for physical reasons that have nothing to do with a desire to take risks, and this means that they are less likely to exchange the fluids mostly likely to spread HIV.

    Sadly, women are less safe during straight sex, as the receptive partner in a penetrative sex act, any such act, is far more likely to contract AIDS from their partner than a penetrative partner is if the receptive individual has HIV. As a result, women and gay men who act in the receptive role are at a greater risk than their male partners.

    That said, male sexual culture did contribute to the problem in both the straight and gay community, though whether this is due to biology or socialization is up for debate. During the time when HIV was poorly understood, the stigma against homosexuality and the difficulty in hiding a committed relationship led to many gay men having anonymous sex with a large number of partners. Straight men also spread the disease unknowingly, through sex with prostitutes as well as other vectors of unprotected sexuality, either before or during their supposed periods of monogamy. The pressure in our culture on men to have sex, and at as young an age and with as many women as possible, combined with the frequent reluctance to educate youth about safe sex practices, doesn’t help in the preventions of STIs.

  • venomlash

    EarlCAnthony, AIDS is not a homosexual problem. Rather, it is more of a male problem.
    The way we men are wired leads us to take risks more readily than women, especially when sex is involved. Note that while homosexual men have much higher rates of HIV than the general population, the infection is almost entirely absent from homosexual females.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Marriage should be between one man and one woman. But you radical leftists keep believing your own propaganda.”

    Earl, throughout most of human history, marriage has not been between one man and one woman. It began as marriage in common between all men and women of an extended family or tribe, including blood relatives. Later on incest between brothers and sisters was discouraged. Polygamous and polyandrous(one woman, several husbands) marriage developed, with the restriction of the female coming after the development of agriculture and the development of social class. After that, for thousand of years even to this day, marriage has often been polygamous, either officially, or unofficially.

    So what we see is that your conservative ideas about “traditional marriage” aren’t traditional at all, and it was not the normal form of marriage for most of human history(some would argue it never was). How do we know this? Well, you’d probably call it “propaganda”, but it goes by the more technical term “historical evidence.” Your side doesn’t seem to have any.

  • RLavigueur


    If AIDS is a homosexual problem, why is it spreading fastest in the USA among straight women? If it’s a “gay” problem, why are hundreds of thousands of children around the world infected with the virus? Do you have no empathy for them at all? How about for the women discussed by skinnyminny? To deny the reality of these cases is a fairly serious lapse of judgement.

    If less people had thought like you did in the early days of HIV, that AIDS was a gay problem and likely one we deserved, who knows how much tragedy could have been prevented? For the record, HIV is spread by a virus, it doesn’t care what gender the partners in question are. Anal sex, whether done by two men or a man and a woman, has the higest sexual rate of transmission, but of course sex is only one vector through which the disease spreads, if the most important one.

    The lowest risk, when it comes to sex, is between two women, which makes AIDS far more a straight problem than a lesbian one, though anyone with a hint of decency should be concerned about such a devestating illness. Somehow I doubt you’ll be a fan of those facts though, as they tend to contradict your rhetoric.

    As for same sex marriage, I suggest you marry whoever you think is appropriate for you, and stay out of other people’s business unless you have a good reason not to. Offer a single reason why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed, and it’ll be worth discussing it with you.

    Aron Levy and the other heterosexual commentors here who reject the “logic” offered by EarlCAnthony and by the AFA, thank you. The gains made in the past decades by the LGBT community would not have been possible without the allies and supporters such as you, nor would our lives be nearly as rich.

  • Aron Levy


    Yes, homosexuals do spread disease. So do heterosexuals. So do asexuals. No one is immune.

    And your ideas of marriage are callous and archaic.

    As I said before, everyone deserves the right to be happy. You just don’t seem to understand that.


  • EarlCAnthony

    Homosexuals do spread disease. AIDS is a homosexual problem, not the myth of being everyone’s problem regardless of sexuality. Marriage should be between one man and one woman. But you radical leftists keep believing your own propaganda.

  • Aron Levy

    Just in case people were wondering, I am wholly appalled at what Kinsolving said. I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to be as happy as they can, and if that includes non-traditional marriage, so be it.

    While I am not gay myself, I have nothing but love and respect for that community, and am proud to call myself a Massachusetts native. The day gay marriage was approved was one of the happiest days of my life.

    We were meant to be happy. And that is all that matters.



  • skinnyminny

    I’m not sure why these groups like to blame HIV-AIDS on the LGBT community – I’ve seen several documentaries of women and young trafficked to work the sex trade that have contracted HIV-AIDS, i.e. a documentary based in India says the women were forbidden to use condoms and were contracting these diseases at a alarming rate – I think the women were trafficked from Nepal.

    It should also be noted that some people contracted this from blood transfusions, organ transplants…as well as hepatitis. ***I think a big case was the prisoner blood tainted case, when Clinton was prez, and it spread to people in other countries, i.e. Canada

  • Martha W

    Good article hope that the voice of reason and knowledge will eventually prevail. Being heterosexual and married (not now – am divorced) was, in my case, not a barrier to verbal and emotional abuse, neglect and being infected.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “given that they almost always means AIDS and gay men, and how they happily ignore all of the factors which the above article points out. ”

    It’s simple as to why they do that…they have large collections of “lesbian” porn.

  • Sam Molloy

    I’ve read that Paul, of Bible fame, spoke of Paraphysique, or, outside the norm, and later translators added negative connotations he did not intend. It’s in people’s nature to kill each other over the color of a hat, but the logical attitude, and I believe, God’s way, is to accept differences unless they hurt somebody.

  • RLavigueur

    It’s always amusing to see the bigots talk about how homosexuality = disease and how LGBT people spread STIs, given that they almost always means AIDS and gay men, and how they happily ignore all of the factors which the above article points out. In fact, if these men really wanted to protect people from STIs based entirely on an illogical reading of statistics, they’d be discouraging women from choosing male partners. But of course, protecting people isn’t the goal, rallying them around a cause and gaining power and money are the goals, and homophobia is just a working method.

    These people have blood on their hands, but the callousness with which they attempt to blame Gay Straight Alliances, Pride Parades, and just being LGBT for deaths inspired by their hatred shows that they are beyond human empathy in many cases.

    It is difficult to adequately describe in words the damage that the closet and that heterosexism can cause to a child or young adult’s self image. The fear of exposure, the pressure to live a lie, and the constant mental debate of measuring the effect of coming out, which is so often mistakenly viewed as a one-time event, all take a very real psychological toll even in the most supportive environments. Add to that the homophobia in our society, where kids grow up hearing anti-gay language daily in schools and in an environment where the word gay is synonymous with stupid and undesirable, and it’s amazing the horrible rates of drug abuse and suicide aren’t higher.

    It doesn’t help matters that so many schools prevent even a basic discussion of sexual orientation as being age inappropriate, while allowing homophobia to continue without a comment. For many youth, the only discourse around homosexuality is the taunts and bullying of their fellow students, and it is this as much as anything else which let the truly hateful voices cause so much harm. That’s why groups like the SPLC are important, and why the LGBT community marches in cities across the world each year. The voices of hatred are being challenged, and they’re losing.

    Concerned Citizen, your prediction in this case is likely to be accurate, and I’ll be shocked if it takes a full twenty.

  • Robert Steinback

    In response to Aron Levy,

    The American Psychiatric Association stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973. While some anti-gay activists still claim this was the result of an alleged internal “coup” staged by gay activists and not sound science, numerous other reputable professional organizations and researchers have affirmed that finding since then. Kinsolving, Glenn and Harvey surely can’t credibly claim to have been misled by having consulted a copy of the DSM that’s almost four decades out of date.

    Robert Steinback
    Deputy Editor, Hatewatch blog
    Southern Poverty Law Center

  • Concerned Citizen

    Good Brief! Here we go again! My prediction is that gay marriages are going to be legal in 10-20 years.

  • Aron Levy

    I truly hate to write this, but according to previous editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, homosexuality was, in fact listed as a paraphilia.

    Thankfully this is no longer the case, but that’s probably where he got that ridiculous notion.

    Now he kindly needs to shut his foolish mouth.