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Signorile Demolishes Sponsor of NC SuperDOMA Amendment

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Sep 30, 2011

In another demonstration of the anti-gay myths and stereotypes that define the thinking of the people who govern the nation, the North Carolina politician who shepherded the upcoming ballot initiative against gay families in that state appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirius XM radio program armed with "information" about GLBTs that turned out to be utterly false--and, Signorile suggested, dangerous in the hands of a lawmaker.

GLBT news site Unicorn Booty posted a Sept. 28 article on Signorile's interview with NC State Sen. James Forrester. Along with the article, Unicorn Booty also posted a video of the 15-minute exchange between Signorile and Forrester, in which, the article said, "We've never before seen such a complete and total collapse of a Republican's homophobic argument against equality in the face of simple, poignant questioning."

The article also featured a comment from Signorile, who wrote, "This interview has to be heard to be believed: Forrester not only could not back up his claims with any evidence--after first trying to source the Centers for Disease Control, only to be debunked by me--but he actually acknowledged that he could be wrong."

Forrester repeated the oft-touted claim that gay men die at significantly younger ages than heterosexual men. That claim has been refuted many times. Even so, anti-gay groups attempting to smear gays as a menace to public health routinely repeat the claim.

But Forrester's source was not Cameron; rather, the bogus stats came to the lawmaker via another anti-gay activist, noted Signorile.

"He eventually credited a Christian activist named Frank Turek (who is associated with Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage) as his source of this bogus public health information," Signorile wrote.

Frank Turek is one of the so-called "victims" of what NOM has long attempted to depict as gay thugs who intimidate and harass Christians for their religiously based biases against the GLBT community. Turek appears in a video produced by NOM offshoot the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance.

Turek, who is author of several books including one that declares that marriage equality "harms everyone," says on his MADA video that he was targeted for his "traditional" views on marriage and that gay pressure cost him jobs with major companies where he'd been employed as a motivational speaker.

"Turek makes himself sound like a pitiful victim," a Sept. 26 Pam's House Blend article on the MADA video noted. "He makes it seem that his dismissals and inability to get gigs is due to his stance on gay marriage."

But what Turek did not mention in his video testimonial for NOM, Pam's House Blend noted, was how he had expressed a belief that gays were in league with "radical Muslims" to "destroy Western Civilization."

Nor did Turek mention that he also has other "viewpoints" that gays, as well as straights, might find offensive, the article said--such as his comparison of gays to pedophiles, violent street criminals, and the violently insane, opinions he expressed in videos made well before his NOM appearance.

The information that Forrester obtained came from reading a book Turek had written. But the information the lawmaker cited was deeply biased--and entirely false, Signorile reported.

"Forrester had said in his town hall some of his patients were gay men who died early deaths, yet didn't seem to know anything about public health, including that, on a global level, AIDS drastically affects heterosexuals more than gay men," noted the radio host.

In the video record of Signorile's interview with the anti-gay NC lawmaker, the radio host notes that Forrester addressed a town hall meeting in which he made the claim that marriage equality should be constitutionally outlawed "because gay men die 20 years earlier than other men. You were basing this on your medical opinion as a doctor... Can you explain this?" Signorile asked Forrester.

After initially claiming that the data came from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and saying that "gay men get AIDS, they het hepatitis," Forrester cited Turek's book "Correct, Not Politically Correct," which contains arguments against marriage equality for gay and lesbian families and claims that marriage for same-sex couples is "harmful" for society at large.

Signorile pointed out that no such claims appear on the CDC website, and then asked Forrester, "You're a legislator; you should have the facts, shouldn't you?"

"These are some of the facts," Forrester responded.

"Is he a medical authority? Who is he?" Signorile pressed.

Forrester acknowledged that Turek was not a doctor, but rather an author and television host.

"You're a legislator. You're claiming as a doctor, as well, that gay men die twenty years earlier than anybody else based on some... you said a radio host? Author? A Christian advocate?"

Invited by Forrester to "talk with some infectious disease specialists," Signorile replied, "I've talked to many infectious disease specialists, and I know all of the facts, and that is simply not true. In fact, it has been debunked," Signorile said.

Signorile then noted, "AIDS is a global pandemic, right?--that is affecting heterosexuals around the world [in] much greater numbers than homosexuals, right?"

When Forrester responded, "I don't know that to be a fact," Signorile pressed the point.

"You don't know that to be a fact?" Signorile demanded. "You are a fellow of the Aerospace Association, a fellow of the American College of Preventative Medicine, and you don't know that AIDS worldwide is killing heterosexuals [in' greater numbers...?"

In fact, AIDS cases among heterosexuals in a number of African countries are prevalent among heterosexuals. Signorile noted this, and also cited India as a nation where heterosexuals suffer a high rate of HIV infection.

In Western nations, however, gays, bisexuals, and men who have sex with men suffer HIV infections at a much higher rate than heterosexual men.

But even so, Signorile pointed out, the claim that gay men in general were dying decades younger than their heterosexual counterparts was overstated. Signorile made reference to the fact that with modern pharmaceuticals, people living with HIV--whether gay or not--could expect to live a near-normal lifespan.

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  • cc, 2011-09-30 18:13:05

    Not only is this guy a liar (both of his credentials) but his ideas are older than dirt. Perhaps in 10 years when many of these antiques have left this earth 65-70 of Americans will vote for gay rights. That’s if majorities are still voting on minority rights.

  • , 2011-10-02 20:28:59

    I watched the interview. Like very republican any question that requires more than a soundbyte answer is impossible for them to formulate. They know the only substance their pitiful bills contain are surface paranoia and religious bullshit. Someone should file a complaint with the AMA since he is a doctor dispensing fraudulent medical information and misrepresenting vital health information. He’s not only a poor legislator, he is a quack.

  • fernsky, 2011-10-03 12:24:52

    I was just thinking that if I was to be elected in some place home to ignorants and idiots and become their leader my duty would be to protect them. So when some sophisticated east coast intellectual comes up with something as sinful as SSM and threatens the rights of my constituents to remain stupid and ignorant I have to fight back. ’Cause if I don’t I’ll be out of a job and a good one at that with benefits. Stupid arguments ? Sure. Stupid lawmakers I ain’t so sure more like crooks I think.

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