Caution: Now entering a fact- and logic-free zone

I’ve heard some strange arguments against marriage equality, but the latest from Iowa Family Policy Center President Chuck Hurley is a doozy. Reacting to a new report on HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men, Hurley asserted,

“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking [in some public places] in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said. “The secondhand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.” […]

“Iowa lawmakers need to pay attention to hard facts and not be persuaded by emotion laden half-truths,” he said. “Because of their unwillingness to correct the error of last April’s Iowa Supreme Court opinion, the Iowa Legislature is responsible for sanctioning activities that will lead to dramatically higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa.”

Where to begin? Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and various respiratory ailments, causing an estimated 438,000 preventable deaths every year nationwide. In Iowa, smoking directly causes an estimated 4,400 deaths each year, and secondhand smoke claims another 440 lives. Smoking causes about $1 billion in health care costs every year in Iowa, of which about $301 million is covered by Medicaid.

AIDS is a serious health threat in the U.S., but not on the same scale as smoking. AIDS has caused fewer than 20,000 deaths nationwide per year in the past decade. The total number of AIDS deaths in this country since the epidemic began is estimated at just under 600,000. I was unable to find statistics showing how many Iowans have died of AIDS, but according to this report for the Iowa Department of Public Health, 114 Iowans were diagnosed with HIV in 2005, and 79 Iowans were diagnosed with AIDS the same year. The numbers may have increased somewhat since then, but AIDS is nowhere near as “destructive” and “costly” to Iowans as smoking. Iowa’s syphilis rate is far below the national average, and none of the states with the highest syphilis rates permit same-sex marriages. If Iowa legislators want to influence the syphilis rate, they should focus on providing adequate funding levels for STD testing and ensuring that young people have access to medically accurate sex education.

Hurley’s argument is not only fact-free, but also illogical on several levels. He seems to think that allowing same-gender couples to get married is going to encourage many more Iowans to experiment with gay sex. Do you know anyone who decided to become gay because they knew they’d be able to get married? Has homosexual activity diminished in New York and New Jersey since those states’ legislatures declined to legalize same-sex marriage? Did California’s Proposition 8 reduce the number of gays and lesbians having sex there?

If Hurley is worried about promiscuity and sexually-transmitted diseases, he should be happy to see gay couples settle down and get married.

Contrary to the strange fantasies of the Iowa Family Policy Center crowd, the Iowa Supreme Court didn’t make the sky fall last April. Fortunately, most Iowans understand that our state legislators have more important things to do than overturn same-sex marriage rights. They also sense that giving legal recognition to the relationships of committed same-sex couples does no harm to other people. More than 90 percent of respondents in a statewide poll conducted last September said gay marriage had caused “no real change” in their lives.

Hurley’s position on gay marriage is more coherent than, say, Terry Branstad’s, but it’s also more detached from reality. Maybe his latest comments aren’t the worst argument ever against gay marriage, but they are certainly a contender.

  • Public Health Risks and Hypocrisy

    My kid’s public school has now left two messages on my answering machine urging me to provide proof that my freshman has been to the dentist in the last year.  This proof, signed by my dentist, must be on file in the public schools of Iowa for all kindergarteners and freshmen; the form is on Iowa Dept of Public Health letterhead.  This new, incredibly stupid law was sponsored by a Democrat and now our already strapped schools have to see to it that this useless legislation is enforced even facing a penalty of some sort if their paperwork isn’t in order.

    Meanwhile, the Iowa Supreme Court has decided that sodomy is a good thing and should be legalized and glorified even though the CDC tells us time and time again about the health risks that result.

    It’s no secret that MSM are, in large part, promiscuous, even when in a situation that resembles marriage.

    Whether or not my kid has been to the dentist is in no way a “public health” issue.  If her mouth is loaded with cavities, it has no effect on anyone else.  I refused to submit the form on principle.  

    You are denying the risks involved with deviant sexual practices, including the decrease in life expectancy for homosexual men.

    Your title for this thread is perfect.

    • Peggy, are you sure you are on the right website?

      Bleeding Heartland is a liberal website, if you don’t want to read about the views expressed here, I would suggest you find a blog that more closely fits your view of the way things should be.  

      I don’t understand how your refusal to send a piece of paper that you may or may not have, to the school saves any money for the school or the district.  Maybe, if you send it they will not have to spend time paying a staffer to call you to get the paper.  If it is a question of money to pay the dentist there are programs that you may qualify for to get the check up.

      To me, compliance with the rules and then working with legislators and others to change some of the rules that seem to me to be unnecessary or wasteful, seems to be a better use of my time and doesn’t cause waste of time and energy to the school that could be going to other more important projects that you may agree are more worthwhile.  

      For what it is worth, untreated dental problems can cause several different health issues that I would want to know about, some of them life threatening.  

      Also, you may want to find out what the effect on your child may be by your refusal on principle to supply the form.  One, that I can think of is the school may not be able to advance your child to her next year of schooling.  

      I don’t know that, that is the case, but I have seen practices like this in the past for something as minor as late library books.

      There are a lot of things I am sure we can agree are wrong with our school systems and the way they are run, for example, No Child Left Behind.  This was an unfunded mandate to the states to increase test scores, without any funding to help them do it.  It was signed into law under President George W. Bush.  So, it seems to me that laws that affect all of us are started by both parties and not just one.

      I would be interested in seeing any links you have on the well known facts you quote as to promiscuous behavior even when gays are in committed relationships.  Is this behavior more than that in heterosexual committed relationships?

      Wishing you well.



      • Peggy has issues

        with gays and lesbians. She seems to spend a lot of time thinking about what they do behind closed doors.

        I agree with you, untreated dental problems can become serious, and it is appropriate for schools to make sure each child has seen a dentist.

      • My pleasure…

        Pay attention to the second bullet point, Denise.

        In reviewing six books on same-sex marriage, the authors of a June 2000 article in the American Political Science Review found that not one of them affirmed sexual exclusivity or sexual fidelity as the expected norm in a same-sex marriage.

        Also, researchers David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison studied 156 couples for their book The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop.  They likewise found that, “Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years.  Stated in another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.”

    • more "destructive" than smoking?

      which kills more than 4,000 Iowans every single year? More costly than smoking, which directly leads to $1 billion in health care costs every single year in Iowa?

      You should spend less time worrying about other people’s sexual practices.

  • Suicide and substance abuse among LGBT youth

    Google those statistics and tell me the AEA should be working with the Iowa Pride Network and One Iowa to indoctrinate teachers and students via our taxpayer-funded schools.

    Ladies, your refusal to embrace the truth is astonishing.  Who are you protecting?

    • The studies you site are exclusively for gay men?

      If that is true, what about the rest of my question, is it any different for straight couples?  

      I personally know both gay and straight couples that have had problems with fidelity in their exclusive relationships.

      Peggy,  your refusal to look at both sides of an issue is sad.  

      Teen suicide is a problem, a lot of it is caused by lack of support from confusion of both sexual identity issues and many other things such as acceptance by peers and problems at home.

      Substance abuse is not limited to LGBT youth nor is suicide, unfortunately.  

      I personally am not protecting anyone.  My question to you would be what are you so afraid of?

      I wish you good luck in finding a blog that more closely agrees with your beliefs.  Bleeding Heartland is a liberal blog.  That means we welcome conversation about all subjects and although we may disagree about how to get there, we as liberals believe that morality and politics are up to the individual and not to any outside person or group.  


      • What am I afraid of?

        Young people being lied to about homosexuality, and being used as pawns by the homosexual lobby.

        Did you catch that part about decreased life expectancy, skyrocketing HIV/AIDS infection rates, increased suicide and substance abuse?  I can’t make it any clearer.

        • the suicide rate

          has to do with many factors: bullying, fear that families will disown them, etc.

          If you believe that being gay is a choice, then I’m not surprised you believe that the “homosexual lobby” is out there recruiting young people. Sometime you should talk to a gay Iowan who grew up in a small town or city with no “out” people and no support in their family or social setting for being gay.

          When I went to high school there were no gay/straight student alliances and words like “gay” and “fag” were commonly used as terms of abuse. Didn’t mean we didn’t have any gay kids in our school, just meant they waited until college to come out. My brother has an old friend who didn’t come out until he was in his 40s. I think he was afraid of disappointing his parents.

          • That doesn't wash

            A large population-based study done by gay-rights advocate Theo Sandfort and his associates in the Netherlands – a country that’s extremely tolerant of sexual “diversity” – found the same high levels of psychological disorders as studies done in the United States and New Zealand.  

            None of these studies included sexual addiction or other sexual problems among the disorders reported on; had they been included, the difference between persons with Same Sex Attraction and those without would have been even more striking.

            There were also three other large and well-designed studies from 1999-2000 which provided convincing evidence that persons with SSA are significantly more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide attempts.

            I don’t think I’ve ever said SSA is a “choice,” just that people aren’t born that way.  There is no gay gene and wishing it doesn’t make it so.

            • there doesn't need to be a "gay gene"

              for people to be born that way. Some scientists hypothesize that exposure to maternal hormones in the womb may influence sexual orientation. That is a possible explanation for the fact that the more older brothers a man has, the more likely that man is to be gay.

              • You're correct

                There are multiple factors that can contribute to SSA, including the one you suggest.  This doesn’t mitigate the fact that one’s surrender to the inclination presents serious mental and physical risks.

                It’s not that I don’t sympathize with those who have SSA; I’m sure it is an extremely difficult cross to bear but we aren’t doing them any favors by pretending ‘the lifestyle’ is harmless.

  • Marriage equality

    One would think that encouraging gay marriage would help LGBT folks to enter mainstream America,  decrease STDs, just as encouraging fidelity in hetero marriage does.  Everyone all around would be healthier, safer, in more traditional family units.  I have a good friend in California, married (when CA allowed marriage equality), adopted a young child, now has a family.  They got through my friend’s chemo for non hodgkins lymphoma,  the adoption,  a business associate embezzling millions from their business, etc.  They are a strong bonded family unit,  with a little boy that would have probably grown up in foster care, due to being multiracial,  who is a totally spoiled and loved child.  They only want what is an obvious right for hetero couples,  inheritance laws, tax equality, MPOAS, etc.  I faill to see how their marriage contributes to any HIV or STD percentages,  how their marriage decreases the value of hetero marriages.  One would think marrying for love would increase the value of ALL marriages.

    BTW, they HAVE discovered a gene that encourages attraction to men.  It seems that the Divine Overseer put into motion a gene to increase attraction to men.  It appears that a gay man is a “throw away”,  because this gene would decrease his desire to populate the world with a woman.  However,  in His great creation/evolution,  the sisters of a gay man are greatly atttracted to men,  and they have lots and lots of babies (before birth control, anyway).  So there IS a reason for this attraction to men.  

  • Most couples I know........

    I know several gay couples,  and I could not imagine them non monogamous.  They are very loving, caring, raising children together.  they don’t go out partying at all,  they have jobs and children to raise.  Just like my non gay friends.  We all get together and nobody is flirting with anybody else,  we are all just having a good time, enjoying friends.  I wonder where you get your research, Feaux news?  But you probably don’t actually KNOW any gay couples, am I right?  And if you do,  do you sit and take the time to get to know them?  They are just like you and I.  They love, get hurt, prick their finger they bleed, love home, family, children, country.  They are everywhere and you don’t know.  Because they are not swishing gay pink wearing guys. They are regular people doing regular jobs.  Only one thing is different,  who they love.  They love their partners just as strong as we, just as hopeful as we are, they seek comfort, companionship, love, just like you and I.  So you shouldn’t try to put them in a box.  They are not so different.  

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