Paul Cameron is an infamous anti-gay propagandist whose one-man statistical chop shop, the Family Research Institute, churns out hate literature masquerading as legitimate science. Cameron dresses up his "studies" with copious footnotes, graphs and charts, and then pays to publish them in certain journals. Cameron's work has been rejected by both the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association, yet his ludicrous statistics are frequently referenced in sermons, news broadcasts, politicians' speeches and even court decisions.
In His Own Words
"Homosexuality is an infectious appetite with personal and social consequences. 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."
— 1988 newspaper column
"Marital sex tends toward the boring end. Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does. If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, if all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get, then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist."
— Interview with Rolling Stone, 1999
"Most people who engage in homosexuality are of the lower strata; these are people who are waiters and busboys and bums and hobos and jailbirds and so forth."
— 1994 religious right conference panel discussion on homosexuality
Paul Cameron grew up in Florida. He claims that when he was 4 years old, a pedophile forced him to perform oral sex in an apple orchard. "I must have been a beautiful and charming little boy. But I didn't like it very much," he said. "I remember that he was kind of dirty, and this bothered me."
After receiving a doctorate in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1966, Cameron became one of the first researchers in the country to examine the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke. It wasn't until 12 years later, in 1978, that he made his initial foray into anti-gay activism with the publication of Sexual Gradualism, a book in which he suggested that parents allow their children to experiment with heterosexual sex, short of intercourse, as a means of preventing homosexuality. "While no parent wants his child starting the process 'too young,' better too young than homosexual," he wrote.
In 1982, Cameron became chairman of the Committee to Oppose Special Rights for Homosexuals, a pressure group that formed to oppose a proposed gay rights ordinance in Lincoln, Neb. Campaigning against the ordinance, Cameron told a church congregation that a local 4-year-old boy had recently been dragged into a public bathroom and castrated by a gay man. The story was totally false, but Cameron's claim was hyped in the local media, and the ordinance was voted down by a four-to-one margin.
One year later, Cameron announced himself as the head of a new organization, the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality. He began to disseminate anti-gay propaganda in pay-to-publish journals with legitimate-sounding names, such as Psychological Reports, a Montana-based vanity publication that bills itself as "The Scientific Manifestation of Free Speech" and that charges $27.50 a page.
In 1986, as the AIDS crisis escalated, Cameron co-authored the book Special Report: AIDS, which advocated establishing concentration camps for "sexually active homosexuals." The following year, Cameron moved to Washington, D.C., and changed the name of his organization to Family Research Institute.
Cameron relocated to Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1992 after supporters of a constitutional amendment barring gay civil rights legislation in that state distributed 100,000 copies of his study, "What Do Homosexuals Do?" Among other things, the study claimed that 17% of LGBT people enjoy consuming human feces.
Most of Cameron's subsequent studies have linked homosexuality to pedophilia and reduced life spans. In 2003, his research was cited by dissenting justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Court in a case that led to legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. In 2004, a majority decision by the Florida Supreme Court upholding a law prohibiting adoption by gay and lesbian couples specifically quoted Cameron's research as supporting the notion that "children raised by homosexuals disproportionately experience emotional disturbance and sexual victimization." In fact, studies by real scientists have found that that is clearly untrue.
In 2007, Cameron testified in a Colorado Senate hearing concerning a proposed bill to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. He citied his own studies, which he said proved that gays and lesbians are more likely to be criminals and child molesters, and are more likely to drive drunk than heterosexuals. The Rocky Mountain News, reporting on these events, limited its description of Cameron to a mere "advocate of traditional family rights."
Cameron isn’t content to confine his efforts to within U.S. borders. In 2008, 2009 and again in 2011, he visited Moldova to speak out against proposed anti-discrimination legislation that would protect LGBT people in the small Eastern European nation. According to his Moldovan translator, in 2011 he called the country’s declining birth rate a “demographic disaster” brought on by “women’s emancipation” and the promotion of the “rights of sexual minorities,” particularly the LGBT community.