Tag archives: Homosexuality

Federal Agency Admits Violating DOMA in Conducting Survey

by Peter Sprigg

August 12, 2011

Last months Senate hearing on a bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) featured a clash between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and one of the witnesses defending DOMA, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family.

Minnerys testimony referred to the social science evidence showing children do best when raised by their own mother and father. He referred to one such study in his prepared testimony this way:

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains in its new and exhaustive report, Family Structure and Childrens Health in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey, 2001-2007, that children living with their own married biological or adoptive mothers and fathers were generally healthier and happier, had better access to health care, less likely to suffer mild or severe emotional problems, did better in school, were protected from physical, emotional and sexual abuse and almost never live in poverty, compared with children in any other family form.

Franken, however, triumphantly noted that in fact, these superior outcomes were associated with nuclear families, defined as one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all children in the family. Since the definition made no mention of the gender of the married parents, he concluded that nuclear families could be headed by married homosexual couples, too.

FRCs Tony Perkins, however, noted in his Washington Update that Franken seemed to be forgetting the very law that the hearing was about:

DOMA says, “In determining the meaning of … any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Since this was a federal study published by a federal agency based on a federal survey conducted by federal (Census Bureau) employees, its definition of married is bound by DOMA.

I had made the same point in a longer op-ed about this study in February.

Just to be sure, however, I sent an email to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which had published the study. Unfortunately, they confirmed that they had simply ignored the mandate of DOMA with respect to the definition of marriage.

Here, for the record, is the substantive part of their response:

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is conducted under the authority of the National Center for Health Statistics and obtains annual data on various health characteristics (e.g., health status, chronic conditions, disability, access to health care, etc.) of the US noninstitutionalized population. NHIS data are typically obtained via face-to-face computer-assisted interviews using fixed format questions. All NHIS data are based on self reports by respondents who decide for themselves how they wish to answer each question; the interviewer then enters the response on the computer.

Regarding marital status, all household members aged 14 or older are asked if they are now married, widowed, divorced, separated, never married, or living with a partner. NHIS respondents self-identify whether they are currently married, divorced, living with a partner, etc.; they are not asked questions about the type of union (e.g., civil unions, common-law marriages, etc) or date of divorce, whether either the marriage or divorce is legal according to the state they live in, or how long their union has lasted. If NHIS respondents tell us they are married, we accept that response as is. Other than making sure that the data are consistent with the universe (that is, limited to respondents aged 14 or older), no attempt is made by NCHS staff to correct the data. Moreover, the 2001-2007 NHIS did not contain questions that systematically asked about sexual orientation; gay or lesbian respondents, as well as same-sex couples, are contained in the data but are not identified. As a result, the definitions used in sr10_246 (the report on family structure and children’s health) were neutral regarding the gender of parents.

It seems to me that it would be easy enough in the interview process to briefly explain the federal definition of marriage, so that the respondent can reply to the marital status question in a way consistent with the law. Procedures for conducting these interviews should immediately be amended to bring them into conformity with DOMA.

Nevertheless, I will give one round to Franken on this technical point. But the number of nuclear families headed by homosexual couples in this study is likely to be negligible. As Tony Perkins noted in the same Washington Update piece quoted above,

Even if, by chance, the interviewers or authors violated [DOMA], the survey data was collected from 2001 to 2007. During that time (and only from mid-2004 on) there was only one state (Massachusetts) in which homosexual couples could marry.

Furthermore, even married homosexual couples who are raising children are unlikely to fit the definition of a nuclear family. Remember, a nuclear family requires that the married parents are each biological or adoptive parents to all children in the family (emphasis added). Obviously, it is biologically impossible for same-sex partners to each be biological parents of the same children.

Only if a married same-sex couple had jointly adopted all the children in their household would they clearly fit even this studys lawless definition of a nuclear family. However, this is not the most common type of homosexual parenting situation. It is much more common for homosexual parents to bring to their relationships their own biological childrenconceived in previous heterosexual relationships.

Advocates for homosexual parents (and for homosexual marriage) are fond of arguing that children do not need a mom and a dadall they need is two loving parents. But this HHS study, while unfortunately not consistent with federal law in its definition of married parents, still offers no support for that argument.

Households featuring same-sex couples raising children are much more likely to fit one of the other non-nuclear household typesall of which, apart from single-parent families, feature at least two adult caretakers. These include unmarried biological or adoptive, blended, cohabiting, extended, or other families.

All of these family types had outcomes inferior to those of the nuclear family.

Jim Wallis, Homosexuality, and Genuine Love

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 12, 2011

Jim Walliss Sojourners magazine has decided not to publish an ad by Believe Out Loud, an organization which describes itself as follows:

We believe Jesus message compels us to welcome all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Show the world that you can be Christian AND believe in LGBT equality. Join the movement to unite a million Christians for LGBT equality in the church and beyond.

Although in past years, Sojourners has taken stridently liberal positions on all manner of hotly-contested issues, tacitly endorsing homosexuality is, apparently, too far a stretch. Sojourners constituency, board, and staff are not of one mind on all of these issues, wrote Wallis at the Sojourners blog this week.

This indubitably is true: At least one of the publications Board members, Ron Sider, is a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, as is contributing editor Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. In signing the Declaration, they joined other signatories (including this author) in affirming that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? How, indeed.

Wallis, a man of the Left, in his blog avoids stating what he did in a 2008 Christianity Today interview:

I don’t think the sacrament of marriage should be changed. Some people say that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, and that’s technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it’s not gender-neutral.

Wallis interpretation of Scripture in this statement is correct. But in his 2008 book, The Great Awakening, he argues for civil unions from the state and even spiritual blessings for gay couples (from congregations prepared to offer them). In that same book, and in repeated interviews that have echoed it, Wallis also disingenuously argues that matters related to homosexuality should not be fundamentally divisive. As he wrote in his piece this week:

… the major differences of theology and biblical interpretation in the church with regard to issues such as the nature of homosexuality, gay marriage, and ordination are not issues that should be allowed to divide the churches that local churches should lead the way here, and that an honest, open, respectful, and, hopefully, loving dialogue should characterize the church on these very controversial questions.

This makes no sense: To suggest that homosexuality, with all its implications about human dignity and sexuality, children and family, society and law, should not divide is sort of like saying a woman can be a little pregnant: Either she is or she is not.

Homosexuality is a defining issue for the church not only because of all of its social and moral implications, but most profoundly because the Bible offers no ambiguity as to its teaching that the only sexually intimate conduct sanctioned by God occurs within marriage between a man and a woman.

However, in his blog post, Wallis is not yet done playing intellectual Twister:

It is our hope that differing viewpoints are not silenced, but are lifted up in a display of Christian, and often interfaith, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is for this reason that we wish to engage first and foremost in dialogue on difficult issues within our editorial pages, and we typically do not display advertising relating to issues amongst people of faith that have unfortunately, and too often, been reduced to political wedge issues.

Really? So, someone who advocates for the Just War tradition will find a welcoming audience among SoJos editors? How about an explanation by Evangelical George W. Bush for Americas attack on Iraq, or by a believing Pentagon general engaged in Americas strategic defense? Or perhaps Wallis will soon publish articles on abortion, marriage and homosexuality by such theologians as R.C Sproul or John Piper, or on religious liberty by such scholars as Daniel Dreisbach or Mark David Hall, or by scholars at the American Enterprise Institute or the Acton Institute on the virtues of capitalism and the danger of coercive charity (which amounts to Wallis definition of justice). I await such with unbated breath.

Homosexuality is not a wedge issue, except in the sense that its advocates make it one. The teaching of the Bible and the position of its faithful followers has not changed. Those driving the wedge are the ones who would compel Evangelicals and orthodox Catholics to deny key components of their faith in order to accommodate a community of people whose insistence on theological acceptance is animated not by biblical teaching but moral desperation.

No matter what your theological perspective or biblical interpretation on the issue of homosexuality, every Christian has the obligation to defend the lives, dignity, and civil rights of gay and lesbian people, writes Wallis. Lives and dignity, yes. Civil rights insofar as they are law-abiding citizens? Sure. But civil rights based on their sexual practices? No. To affirm such is to create an unconstitutional class of rights based on a type of conduct, which opens the door for rights of a kind never imagined by our nations Founders or by simple common sense.

There is no love in affirming something that, however sincerely held, remains objectively wrong and ultimately harmful to those who practice it. To show Christian love to a homosexual means, in part, graciously, winsomely, and patiently affirming that he or she bears the image of God and is precious to the Creator. It is also, with a humble and merciful spirit, to share Gods unambiguous plan for human sexuality and the hurtful consequences of veering away from that plan.

Not to do so is less than loving, less than biblical. Less than Jesus.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg and Pierre Bynum Testify Before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee

by Krystle Gabele

March 3, 2011

On February 25, 2011, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and Pierre Bynum testified before the Maryland House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee voicing their opposition to a bill that would redefine marriage.

Click the ‘play’ button below to listen to Pierre Bynum’s testimony.

Click the ‘play’ button below to listen to Peter Sprigg’s testimony.

Pentagon report on homosexual policy buries the lead—the majority of views expressed were against repeal.

by Peter Sprigg

December 3, 2010

When a journalist does not reveal the most important part of a news story until the middle of it, instead of opening with it, its known as burying the lead.

This appears to be what the Pentagon has done with the report of its Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) on the subject of homosexuality in the military.

The report, and most of the media coverage, emphasized the conclusion from a survey of Service members that 70% of Service members predicted it [repeal of the current law] would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.

However, as we have already noted, interpreting the mixed category as being supportive of repeal is questionable at best. Advocates of repeal do not agree that it would affect the military equally as positively as negatively, which is what the mixed response refers to. We could just as easily note that 62% of respondents believed that repeal would have at least some negative effects.

The even more revealing statement, however, does not appear in the reports Executive Summary at all, but only shows up on page 49. Referring to responses in focus groups and other forums which were provided to allow feedback from the troops, the CRWG was forced to admit that our sense is that the majority of views expressed were against repeal of the current policy.

Of course, the report hastily notes that these were not scientifically representative samples of the force as a whole, and the survey was. However, as we must repeatedly point out, the survey did not ask whether respondents were for or against overturning the current law. Hence these less formal media were the only way for the troops to express their views on the central issue.

Whenever you hear that vague and misleading 70% figure, remember that buried lead on p. 49that the majority of views expressed were against repeal.

One Argument Proved, One Argument Refuted by Pentagon Report

by Peter Sprigg

December 2, 2010

There are numerous arguments pro and con on the issue of homosexuality in the military, but the survey of Service members released by the Pentagon on Tuesday has decisively proved at least one argument against the current push to overturn existing law, and decisively refuted at least one argument in favor of that effort.

The Comprehensive Review Working Group report actually identified these arguments in their summary of What We Heard about the issue. One argument against repeal was described as: Why now? We are at war. Many have argued that with our armed forces stretched by the demands of two wars, this is not the time to impose further strain by implementing a radical change in personnel policy to appease a political interest group. (FRC does not believe there would ever be a good time for such a changebut the immediate circumstances are nevertheless a legitimate concern for lawmakers facing an immediate legislative vote).

It has been widely reported that soldiers and Marines in combat arms units were more likely to predict negative impacts from repeal of current law than were other Service members. While 62% of all Service members expected at least some negative results if current law were overturned, the same was true of 74% of all Marines and of Army combat arms soldiers, and 82% of Marines in combat arms units. An outright majority of the latter group, 57.5%, declared bluntly that it would affect their task cohesion either negatively or very negatively, while a minuscule 9% foresaw a positive impact.

The people on the front lines of our wars are the most concerned about repeala compelling argument against it.

On the other hand, the CRWG described the advocates of repeal as arguing, We need everyone willing and able to serve. In other words, the military simply cannot afford to lose the skills of existing or potential homosexual Service members. This is an issue of recruiting and retentionwhat policy will provide the military with the personnel that it needs.

Here again, the results are overwhelming. The surveys showed that the number who would be less willing to recommend a military career if open homosexuality is permitted is four times higher than the number who would be more willing to recommend it. In addition, the percentage who would themselves leave the military sooner than planned or consider doing so if current law is repealed, was more than six times higher than the number who would stay longer or consider doing so.

Its clearthe personnel losses to the military as a result of repeal would vastly outnumber any gains from allowing homosexuals in the ranks.

These are two strong points against the effort to overturn current law, even in a report designed to support that effort.

I SwearHomosexual Activists Do the D***edest Things

by Peter Sprigg

November 9, 2010

(Caution: Some of the information below, and the website it describes, are not appropriate for children.)

Some homosexual activists are their own worst enemies.

The latest evidence of that fact is a website recently brought to my attention by someone who wrote to the Family Research Council. I refuse to post an actual link to this website, but you can easily type it in yourself. It follows the form of f**h8.com, with letters in the second and third positions.

The beginning of that web address is the three consonants of a well-known four-letter obscenity known as the f-word. The h8 at the end of that address stands for hate.

Homosexual activists have been spelling it h8 ever since the successful 2008 campaign in California to pass Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Twenty-nine of the fifty states now have such amendments.

Leave aside, for the moment, the mystery of how treating uniquely the human relationship that is uniquely capable of reproducing the human race, and believing that children deserve a mother and a father, could possibly constitute hate.

If you go to the website, you will find a short (two minutes or so) video. It consists of several people ranting and raving against the opponents of same-sex marriage—while repeatedly dropping the f-bomb.

Is this supposed to be funny? Do homosexual activists really think that the way to persuade opponents of same-sex marriage to support it is—to swear at people? Repeatedly?

During the Proposition 8 campaign, one of the most effective issues for advocates of Prop. 8 was the concern that children would be taught to affirm and celebrate homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the public schools. Opponents vehemently insisted that same-sex marriage would have no impact on schools or on children whatsoever. So then what happened? A class of first-graders was brought to San Francisco City Hall to witness the wedding of their lesbian teacher. So much for the no impact claim.

Another example occurred in the recent debate over legislation that would repeal the current law against open homosexuality in the military. To break a filibuster, liberals had targeted two Republican senators—Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. To sway the votes of Collins and Snowe, homosexual activists staged a major rally in Maine the day before the vote. The headline speaker was Stefani Germanotta, the 24-year-old, strangely-dressed, boundary-pushing pop singer better known as Lady Gaga. The effort failed, as Collins and Snowe voted with the rest of the Republican caucus. But did homosexual activists really believe that the gentleladies from Maine would be persuaded by Lady Gaga?

Actually, the point of the anti-H8 web video is not to change minds—its to raise money. You can buy t-shirts, buttons, or stickers bearing the F**H8 message, or milder and less cryptic ones like, Some dudes marry dudes. Get over it. Proceeds will help fund the fight for equal marriage rights.

Five dollars from the sale of each thirteen-dollar t-shirt is donated to one of four pro-homosexual activist groups (none of which sponsor or endorse the website). One is the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which was founded by Hollywood actor and director Rob Reiner (yes, the meathead from All in the Family) to hire Republican and Democratic super-lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies for a federal lawsuit to overturn Proposition 8. So the August decision by Judge Vaughn Walker (now on appeal), that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, was funded (at least in some small part) by f-bombs on the web.

But what is really shocking about the video is this: three of its participants are children. Not teenagers—young, pre-adolescent children. One is a boy who appears to be about six years old. Another is a girl who looks to be perhaps nine. The third is a girl who is perhaps eleven. And yes—the children drop the f-bomb too.

Is this supposed to be funny? Its not. Its child abuse.

Two of the children make specific reference to their gay parents. I dont know if this is true, or if they are just young actors reading a script.

But either way—can they really believe that swearing children are a good tool to expand support for their cause? Are we to understand that this would be the brave new world under gay parenting and same-sex marriage—a world in which parents teach obscenities to their children, then put videos of them using those obscenities on the web to raise money?

If so—God help us. And God save the children.

In the Military, Racial Integration and Sexual Liberation Are Not the Same Thing

by Peter Sprigg

October 22, 2010

Mark Thompson has posted a piece on Time magazines Swampland blog regarding the possible overturning (which he considers inevitable) of the current law against homosexual conduct in the military.

Such a radical change in military policy is hardly inevitable. Legislation to repeal the law is on life support following last months Senate vote to block it, and Judge Virginia Phillips muddled ruling that the law is unconstitutional ignored so much existing precedent that it is unlikely to be upheld.

Thompson, however, has delved into the archives of military history and relates findings about how African Americans were integrated within the armed forces without major difficulty. He concludes that the integration of homosexuals would take place just as smoothly.

One key difference, of course, is that blacks had long been eligible to serve in the military, but had served in segregated units. In contrast, homosexuals have always been considered ineligible for military service at all. (The popular misnomer Dont Ask Dont Tell misleads many into believing that active homosexuals are currently welcomed by the military as long as they stay in the closet. The truth is the oppositethe 1993 law mandates, with very limited exceptions, the discharge of any servicemember who has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts.)

Furthermore, Thompson simply assumes the answer to two critical threshold questions:

1) Is being gay like being black?

2) Is sexual conduct relevant to military effectiveness?

The logical answer to #1 is no. Homosexuality is a behavioral characteristic; being black is a superficial matter of skin color. The racial integration of the military was successful precisely because it proved that the behavior of black soldiers did not differ from that of whites. But with homosexuality, a difference in behavior is what defines the issue. Do not be fooled by vague references to sexual orientation as though it were an innate characteristicwhat homosexual activists now seek is the right to continue engaging in homosexual acts while in the military .

Homosexual activists compare sexual orientation to race in order to obscure the important differences between sexual attractions, behavior, and self-identification. Only the attractions are, like race, involuntary; but none of these elements of sexual orientation are (like race) inborn, immutable, innocuous, and in the Constitution. The 1993 law which homosexual activists seek to overturn is focused on homosexual conduct, and treats attractions or self-identification as relevant only because they are evidence of a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.

So does the military have a legitimate interest in regulating the sexual conduct of its members? The answer has always been yes, with respect to heterosexual conduct as well as homosexual. Adultery, for instance, remains a crime in the military, at a time when the civil law has long since become indifferent to it. As Congress found in 1993, high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion … are the essence of military capability, and there is no doubt that sexual conduct can threaten those standards and harm that capability.

Sexual tension, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are problems that exist among heterosexuals in the militarybut those problems would increase if homosexuals were allowed to serve, because it would be impossible to separate homosexuals the way that men and women are separated in their most intimate settings (showers, sleeping quarters, etc.). Increased health problems among homosexuals (in particular, dramatically higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV among men who have sex with men) would pose a direct challenge to military readiness.

The analogy to the racial integration of the military, even if it had any validity, would apply only to the concern that homosexuality in the military would damage recruiting and retention of personnel. But those are only two out of the nine likely negative consequences of repealing the current law that were identified by Col. Robert Maginnis in the FRC booklet Mission Compromised. The others are:

  • Damage to unit effectiveness.
  • Health consequences with high cost.

  • Threats to freedom of those who morally object to homosexuality.
  • Special protections for homosexuals.
  • Taxpayer-funded benefits to homosexual partners of servicemembers.
  • Possibility of costly new living arrangements to protect privacy.
  • Changes to military law and regulations regarding sexual offenses.

The argument that, as the gay newsmagazine The Advocate recently declared on its cover, Gay is the New Black, is one that most blacks resent, and that simply cannot stand up to serious scrutiny.

A Window Into Barack Obamas Theology

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 15, 2010

During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama famously told Pastor Rick Warren that determining when human personhood began was above my paygrade.

A professing Christian, he could not bring himself to concur with the plain teaching of the Bible that from the moment of conception, human life in all its biological fullness begins at conception.

An educated man, he could not sufficiently evaluate the clear scientific evidence that with the entire DNA any person ever possesses present within the embryo from conception onward, personhood starts at conception.

A father, he could not affirm that his precious daughters deserved legal protection in their mothers womb, from conception until birth.

Since then, his income must have dramatically changed, as he has initiated a nationwide health care mandate that funds and subsidizes abortion-on-demand, exported abortion overseas through American funding thereof, and even sought to have taxpayers subsidize abortion on our military bases.

As President of the United States, Barack Obama has been a deliberate, systematic evangelist of the culture of death.

Yet despite his professed theological mystification regarding the sanctity of unborn life, President Obama has no moral or intellectual difficulty in asserting that homosexuality is not a choice but the result of people being born with a certain make-up.

At a televised event targeting the nations youth,

… (when) asked directly if gay or transgender people have a choice or are born that way, Obama told a town-hall style event with students that he was no expert, then added: I don’t think it’s a choice. I think people are born with a certain make-up.

We’re all children of God, Obama said. We don’t make determinations about who we love. That’s why I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong.

The President is wrong: Biology offers no sanction to the view that homosexuality is genetic, nor does Christian theology applaud or passively accept same-sex intimacy. The God of love is also the God of truth Whose Word teaches that any kind of sexual intimacy other than that experienced by a man and a woman within marriage is offensive to Him.

No pay-level is needed to affirm these things: They are obvious from science and Scripture.

President Obama might be, as the Leftist religious commentator Jim Wallis asserts, almost a public theologian. He is just not a very biblically faithful one.

The Bible tells Christians to pray for their political leaders. This includes, of course, President Obama. May we pray that this man who so obviously cherishes his own wonderful family sees that abortion and homosexuality are not morally neutral choices to be facilitated by a government founded on the principle that the right to life is a gift of the Creator.

The Obvious (About Men Who Have Sex With Men)Please Do Not Ignore

by Peter Sprigg

March 26, 2010

Men who choose to engage in sexual relations with other men place their health in serious jeopardyand thereby endanger the public health as well.

Unfortunately, like the nakedness of the Emperor in the childrens story of the The Emperors New Clothes, this is a truth that is so obviousyet so politically incorrectthat it is rarely spoken aloud.

When those of us who disapprove of and seek to discourage homosexual conduct speak this truth, we are routinely vilified as hateful. So let me step aside altogether, and let the secular, scientific, non-political experts speak for themselves. Below is a recent press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I reproduce it here, verbatim, in full, and uneditedexcept that I have highlighted in bold what are, in my opinion, the key findings.

I offer only one editorial comment. The CDC spokesman is cited as saying, There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men. This is plainly false. There is, for example, a single and simple solution for smoking-related illnesses, and we have all heard itIf you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quit.

Its long past time for public health authorities to say the same about men having sex with men.

Press Release

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/msmpressrelease.html

All Findings Embargoed Until: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 4:30pm EST

Contact: NCHHSTPMediaTeam@cdc.gov

(404) 639-8895

CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis Among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men

A data analysis released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores the disproportionate impact of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men in the United States.

The data, presented at CDC’s 2010 National STD Prevention Conference, finds that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.

The range was 522-989 cases of new HIV diagnoses per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men and 13 per 100,000 women.

The rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women, the analysis says. The range was 91-173 cases per 100,000 MSM vs. 2 per 100,000 other men and 1 per 100,000 women.

While CDC data have shown for several years that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new HIV and new syphilis infections, CDC has estimated the rates of these diseases for the first time based on new estimates of the size of the U.S. population of MSM. Because disease rates account for differences in the size of populations being compared, rates provide a reliable method for assessing health disparities between populations.

While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are between this and other populations,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “It is clear that we will not be able to stop the U.S. HIV epidemic until every affected community, along with health officials nationwide, prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts.”

For the purposes of determining rates of disease for MSM, CDC researchers first estimated the size of the gay and bisexual male population in the United States defined as the proportion of men who reported engaging in same-sex behavior within the past five years. Based on an analysis of nationally representative surveys, CDC estimated that MSM comprise 2.0 percent (range: 1.4-2.7 percent) of the overall U.S. population aged 13 and older, or 4 percent of the U.S. male population (range: 2.8-5.3 percent). Disease rates per 100,000 population were then calculated using 2007 surveillance data on HIV and primary/secondary syphilis diagnoses and U.S. Census data for the total U.S. population.

The new analysis is the first step in more fully assessing the impact of HIV among MSM and other populations significantly affected by the disease. CDC is developing more detailed estimates of infection rates among MSM by race and age, as well as among injection drug users. CDC is also in the early stages of planning for estimates among heterosexuals. Ultimately, these data can be used to better inform national and local approaches to HIV and STD prevention to ensure that efforts are reaching the populations in greatest need.

Research shows that a range of complex factors contribute to the high rates of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men. These factors include high prevalence of HIV and other STDs among MSM, which increases the risk of disease exposure, and limited access to prevention services. Other factors are complacency about HIV risk, particularly among young gay and bisexual men; difficulty of consistently maintaining safe behaviors with every sexual encounter over the course of a lifetime; and lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and how it can be transmitted (e.g., oral sex). Additionally, factors such as homophobia and stigma can prevent MSM from seeking prevention, testing, and treatment services.

Also, the risk of HIV transmission through receptive anal sex is much greater than the risk of transmission via other sexual activities, and some gay and bisexual men are relying on prevention strategies that may be less effective than consistent condom use.

There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men,” said Fenton. “We need intensified prevention efforts that are as diverse as the gay community itself. Solutions for young gay and bisexual men are especially critical, so that HIV does not inadvertently become a rite of passage for each new generation of gay men.”

Preventing HIV and STDs among gay and bisexual men is a top CDC priority. CDC provides funding to health departments and community-based organizations throughout the nation to implement proven behavior-change programs for MSM and will soon expand a successful HIV testing initiative to reach more gay and bisexual men. Additionally, CDC is implementing an updated National Syphilis Elimination Plan in cities where MSM have been hardest hit by the disease, and will release an updated HIV prevention strategic plan within the next year to support the President’s upcoming National HIV/AIDS Strategy. CDC officials note that the new analysis released today underscores the importance of the HIV and STD prevention efforts targeting gay and bisexual men recently announced as part of the President’s fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.

For more information on HIV or syphilis, please visit www.cdc.gov/hiv or www.cdc.gov/std.

###

Fighting for EqualityOr Obsessed with Sex?

by Peter Sprigg

October 14, 2009

It seems that homosexual activist groups cant even raise money without using sexual innuendo.

I happen to be on the email list for Equality Maryland, the state homosexual activist organization (its always good to know what the opposition is doing). They are planning to raise money with a Jazz Brunch and Silent Auction on Sunday, October 18 in Baltimore.

But I was startled by the poor taste (and the poor proofreading) of the subject line for an email invitation to this event that I received on September 28. It read: Care to engage is [sic] some Four Play? (The gimmick was that you would get a discount when purchasing four tickets.)

I wondered if they would be embarrassed or get any negative reactionbut apparently not. On October 7, I received a follow-up email with this subject line: Forget Four Play … how about a Threesome? Offering a discount for the purchase of only three tickets this time, the message came complete with a publicity photo from the old Threes Company TV show.

When homosexuals promote their political agenda in the public square, they argue that its not about sex. Its about love, families, equality, justice, etc., etc. They dont want people thinking about two men or two women having sex. (This is why they prefer the term gay rather than homosexual.)

But when talking to each other, the agenda becomes more clear.

Its about sex.

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