Gays Should Face Legal Sanctions, Says American Family Association Radio Host

People in same-sex relationships should face the same penalties as heroin users.

Just ask Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA), an ultraconservative religious right group. In a Jan. 29 response to an E-mail from a listener to his “Focal Point” radio program, Fischer suggests that “we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.”

Never mind that drug abuse is illegal, whereas the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that states cannot ban private gay sex between consenting adults.

There’s nothing new about Fischer’s disregard for the Constitution. That much was apparent after the Fort Hood tragedy, when he asserted that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. But his illogic is in this case is especially glaring. Fischer insists in a follow-up E-mail to an NBC reporter that “homosexual behavior represents and [sic] enormous threat to public health” and that banning it “is a simple matter of … sound public policy.” Why, then, does Fischer support outlawing all homosexual behavior, given that (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) there has never been a confirmed case of female-to-female HIV transmission in the United States? Fischer doesn’t say.

Fischer also quotes the Bible to support his contention that homosexuality should be opposed by civil law. (In another article, Fischer says the United States was “a much better, saner and healthier place” when the states had laws against homosexuality on the books.) After citing 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Fischer wrote to the radio listener, “The bottom line here is that, biblically, those ‘who practice homosexuality’ should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.”

Not so, says conservative Christian psychology professor Warren Throckmorton. “Paul is giving Timothy religious instructions and not saying that the civil law is given to prosecute various actions at odds with Christian teaching,” Throckmorton wrote on his blog. “In fact, if anything, [the passage] argues that the proper role of the church is to proclaim redemption, rather than lobby for new laws against private conduct.”