Author archives: Peter Sprigg

The 145% Myth

by Peter Sprigg

July 13, 2007

In an article on Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and the homosexual activists who are decrying him as “homophobic”, the Miami NBC affiliate WTVJ-TV says, “An estimated 243,000 gay people live in the city of Fort Lauderdale.”

My World Almanac says the 2005 population of Fort Lauderdale was 167,380. We know the idea that homosexuals are 10% of the population is a myth, so what can we say about the claim that they are 145% of the population?

According to the Census Bureau, Fort Lauderdale does indeed have the second highest percentage of same-sex unmarried partner households of any major American city (exceeded only by San Francisco). So the mayor may really be in some political hot water. But that percentage is—2.1% (S.F. is 2.7%; nationally they are 1.0%).

Numerically, there are 1,418 (that’s one thousand four hundred eighteen) unmarried same-sex partner households in Fort Lauderdale. That would be 2,836 individuals.

I guess the other 240,000 homosexuals in Fort Lauderdale just aren’t the “marrying”—or “partnering”—kind.

Homosexuals spurn benefits of marriage

by Peter Sprigg

April 25, 2007

Fridays USA Today included an article noting that despite moves toward legalizing civil unions in states like New Hampshire and Oregon, fewer gay couples are choosing to enter civil unions or register as domestic partners (Andrea Stone, Some say civil unions dropping off, April 20). For example, in Connecticut, the number of same-sex couples who entered into civil unions in the first 15 months that they were legal was only 18% of the number of same-sex unmarried partner households counted in the 2000 census. (By contrast, 92% of opposite-sex couples who live together in Connecticut are legally married.)

The article quotes one homosexual activist as suggesting that same-sex couples are waiting for marriage. But it certainly undermines the argument that same-sex couples are being seriously harmed by lack of access to the legal and financial benefits of marriage, if 82% dont even bother to access those benefits once they are granted them under state law.

The article says that in Massachusetts, where they do have same-sex civil marriage, about 9,000 such marriages have occurred since 2004. However, it fails to note that this is barely more than half the number of cohabiting same-sex couples identified in the census (again, in contrast to heterosexuals, among whom the married outnumber the cohabiting by a ratio of more than 10 to 1). These figures constitute empirical evidence that a majority of homosexuals do not need the benefits of marriage, and relatively few even want to participate in the institution of marriage.

What they really want is the official government affirmation that homosexuality is identical to heterosexualityperiod. But by winning marriage and then not participating in it, they advance the deinstitutionalization of marriagethat is, they destroy any social norm suggesting that marriage is the preferred context for living together in a sexual relationship (even more than heterosexuals have). This is one of the ways that same-sex marriage harms the institution of marriageyes, even for heterosexuals.

See also FRC InFocus: How many benefit from same-sex marriage in Massachusetts?

Thinking About Thought Crimes: A Response to HRC

by Peter Sprigg

April 5, 2007

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-homosexual organization, has accused the Family Research Council of lying about the issue of Thought Crimes (i.e., so-called hate crimes), under which offenders are punished once for their actions and then again for the politically incorrect thoughts they were thinking while committing the action.

HRC President Joe Solmonese says FRC is lying in saying that America doesnt have a federal hate crimes law. Actually, a recent FRC paper carefully explains that there are two federal laws related to so-called hate crimesa 1990 law which mandates the collection of statistics on them, and a 1994 law which provides for sentence enhancement (higher penalties) for existing federal offenses motivated by bias. HRC contends, however, that we have had a federal hate crimes law since 1969, citing the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. 245.

Actually, 18 U.S.C. 245 is not a hate crimes law at all. Instead, it is an extension of the civil rights laws, making it a crime to interfere with someone on account of race, color, religion, or national origin when they are engaged in certain specific activities that are protected under civil rights laws. If you look it up, this section of the code is under Chapter 13, titled “Civil Rights,” and Section 245 is titled “Federally Protected Activities.” The term “hate crime” never appears in 18 U.S.C. 245.

For example, the civil rights laws say that a person cannot be denied the right to attend public school on account of race. Therefore, if a white person beats up a black person outside a school in order to prevent him from enrolling in that school, that is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 245. This is not really a hate crimes law, because the central idea is not simply to protect victims whose assailants think certain specific thoughts about them (as in Thought Crime/hate crime laws), but to protect the exercise of certain rights under the civil rights laws (i.e., attending public school). Creating protections based on the characteristics of the victim alone (i.e., a Thought Crime or hate crime law) is much broader than simply protecting certain activitiesso much broader as to fall in a completely different category.

Solmonese is actually right in saying that H.R.1592, this years version of Thought Crimes in the U.S. House, would only create new, direct federal prosecution of cases in which someone willfully causes bodily injury or attempts to cause bodily injury because of certain characteristics of the victim. But this is an entirely new category of offense under federal law, not just an expansion of existing protected classes, as Solmonese implies.

In fact, Joe Solmonese might want to be cautious about implying that H.R. 1592 would merely add to the existing categories of protection under 18 U.S.C. 245because, contrary to his claims, 18 U.S.C. 245 actually includes penalties for “intimidation,” even in the absence of a violent act. So citing it as precedent actually reinforces the argument that federal hate crime laws could threaten free speech and freedom of religion. Take this as an example: If a white person yelled at a black person, “You’d be better off not coming to this school!” he could potentially be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 245 for “intimidation.” So does Joe Solmonese think that if a Christian views a “gay pride” parade and yells at a homosexual, “You’d be better off if you stopped engaging in homosexual sex!” she should be charged with “intimidation” and prosecuted for a hate crime?

Thats roughly what has already happened in cases brought under similar laws in Sweden, England, Canada, and even in Philadelphia. With a hodgepodge of definitions of what a hate crime is, and with even the bills leading advocate confused about what it would do, it is no wonder that many conservatives view H.R. 1592s ostensible limitation to bodily injury cases as a rather thin reed on which to rest the claim that Thought Crime laws pose no threat to freedom of speech or of religion.

What About the Other 97.8%?

by Peter Sprigg

February 28, 2007

Over the past few days, both The Washington Times and the Washington Post have run stories on HPV and the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil. The Times articles on the subject may have underplayed the risks from HPV to young women and girls. Today’s Post article, on the other hand, seems to overplay it.

The headline (“Millions In U.S. Infected With HPV: Study Finds Virus Strikes a Third of Women by Age 24”) is about the large number of women who are infected with HPV—which would seem calculated to build support for making the vaccine mandatory. But those figures refer to at least 27 strains of genital HPV. Only in paragraph four do you learn that “only 2.2% of women were carrying one of the two virus strains most likely to lead to cervical cancer”—in other words, the two cancer-related strains targeted by the vaccine.

To put this another way—vaccinating the entire population with Gardasil would not eliminate a virus that infects one quarter to one third of American women, as the headline might lead you to believe. Instead, it would only eliminate the strains that infect 2.2% of women.

Now, that 2.2% will account for 70% of cervical cancer cases, so the vaccine’s impact is very significant in relation to that disease. But the vaccine will not help the millions of other women infected with other, less deadly strains of HPV. Only abstinence will help them all.