The National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute is promoting the idea that being gay is as “harmful” as smoking. In a crosspost on its blog, the Ruth Institute asks, “How much worse do the risks of gay sex have to be before it rates the same public health warnings as smoking?” Here’s an excerpt from the full article:
Instead of discouraging homosexual behavior as smoking is discouraged, key elements of American society have been promoting homosexuality as a viable and safe option compared with heterosexuality. Gay organizations and gay influence in the government, the media, the mental health associations, academia, and the teachers’ union have all played significant roles in America’s normalization of homosexuality. All too often, gay political ideals have been given priority over the physical and mental health of sexually confused youth. In addition, family therapy advances in the prevention of homosexuality have been marginalized to the extent that the general public is not even aware that they exist.
The dog whistle message of this comparison is that homosexuality is inherently disordered — that being gay is automatically going to cause disease. Certainly, the author’s use of “sexually confused youth” indicates that he does not believe gay identities are a natural part of human diversity, choosing instead to only focus on “homosexual behavior.” Of course, the issue at stake is safe sex, which is a problem among all people who are sexually active, regardless of their sexual orientation. It’s ironic that groups like NOM (or infamously, Iowa’s The FAMiLY Leader) make these offensive comparisons as part a campaign against allowing same-sex couples to marry while simultaneously praising marriage for promoting family stability. If conservatives actually cared about the health of the LGBT community, they would advocate against the spread of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections instead of advocating against the people who might contract them.