Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hawaii Got A Scientist While Russia Got A Crackpot: Two Sides Of LGBT Equality

UPDATE: Yesterday, Illinois passed marriage equality. Hawaii and New Mexico may soon follow suit.

On Nov. 4th at the Hawaii State House of Representatives eminent bio-geneticist Dean Hamer (for 35 years, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health) gave testimony in support of Hawaii's marriage equality hearing.

It was perhaps the most compelling argument by a scientist that gays are biologically motivated in their sexual orientation as heterosexuals are. It is a "must see" that is making the rounds of the internet - but slowly, discreetly, especially if you're laptop is monitored by your right wing pastor.

But in Russia:


"Russia's parliament invited an American anti-gay psychologist whose work has been widely discredited to give expert testimony where he suggested that a third of LGBTs support pedophilia, according to a participant in the meeting."
"Family Research Institute founder Paul Cameron, who has been censured by the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association for distorting statistics in efforts to block LGBT rights, spoke at a Duma roundtable on "family values," according to tweets from lawmaker Alexander Sidyakin."


In America we have many freedoms, but one freedom is still developing: freedom from right-wing religion and its wingnuts.  Russia, sadly, does not have that freedom. Russia is held in a stranglehold by a Christian religious power not seen since Constantine made Christianity Rome's "official" religion.* It is certainly more powerful than the Anglican Church during America's colonial period. It is even more powerful than the revivalist religion of the antebellum South.

“Which president is the lion of Christianity, the defender of Christian values, the president that’s calling his nation back to embracing its identity as a nation founded on Christian values?” [Bryan] Fischer asked. “Those, ladies and gentlemen, are quotes from Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.”

It is a power-hold today's Southern Baptists certainly envy:

But for the Christian Right, the possibility that Russia is embracing America's hate groups, homophobes and scientific frauds to legitimize its own intolerance does not enter into the picture: eager to proselytize and convey the evils of its chief candidate for hell, the Christian Right's leaders (e.g. Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council) don't question Russian motives. Anti-gay Russian sentiment is a gift horse.

Back To Hawaii

After 5 grueling days of testimony, the Hawaii House judiciary and finance committees will likely broaden the religious exemptions of the controversial bill. That, however, is not what Christian Right opponents wanted, and they are is angered by the possibility of the bill's passage. Last ditch efforts (like the testimony of one police chief who vowed never to enforce the law) were muddled by the sheer volume of "testimonies" (over 1000!) and Dr. Dean Hamer's was perhaps the only clear-cut and authoritative voice heard. Moreover, same-sex marriage was not on trial - homosexuality was, and the debate degenerated into a boring hodgepodge that made Hawaii's state congress look ridiculous in its confusion.

No, the debate did not go well for opponents of marriage equality.

The Other Debate

While Dr. Hamer's testimony may not considered absolutely definitive (it will certainly be contested by the "ex-gay" movement and various hate groups pushing for conversion), it has solidified the "born that way" meme in scientific terms. Any counter-attempts to prove "it's a choice" will look weak and the Christian Right will have one less homophobic left to stand on.

In America. 

Other countries such as Russia are fair game for crackpots like the Christian Right's Paul Cameron: America's sage institutions like the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association must be political pawns of the radical "homosexual agenda." Russia maust be made to know about the "homosexual menace."

“He cited statistics of a survey of homosexualists: 27% engage in sex with children from 15 to 18, 15% with children under 15; 32% think such sex is OK”
“Such interesting statistics. The question is, should we give children away to be adopted by single-sex families? For me the answer’s obvious. Comrade Cameron…is even harsher. He says we should ban those who openly promote their homosexual orientation from teaching children in schools. A hawk.”

Actually, more like a fox - in a Christian Right hen house.

*When pagans were imprisoned and temples burned.

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