September 15, 2011 1:11 pm ET - by Carlos Maza
In a September 15 blog post titled, “Queer by Choice?,” the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) promoted the myth that one’s sexual orientation can be chosen (and, one assumes, changed):
This lesbian in The Atlantic says she was not "born this way", and it's nobody's business:
"In direct opposition to both the mainstream gay movement and Lady Gaga, I would like to state for the record that I was not born this way."
“This lesbian” is Lindsay Miller, a bisexual freelance writer who recently published a column defending the worthiness and unique value of non-heterosexual relationships. Rather than argue that sexual orientation is a choice that can be changed, Miller actually advocated for a powerful affirmation of gay and lesbian relationships, writing:
Obviously, no one sits down and makes a rational decision about who to fall in love with, but I get frustrated with the veiled condescension of straight people who believe that queers "can't help it," and thus should be treated with tolerance and pity. To say "I was born this way" is to apologize for the person I am and for whom I love. It's like saying I would be different if I could. I wouldn't. [emphasis added]
Rather than accurately represent Miller’s column, NOM lifted a single sentence and used it as some kind of evidence that being gay is a choice. After all, even “this lesbian” admits it!
NOM isn’t the only group to misuse Miller’s column. Earlier this week, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council (FRC) joined Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) on his radio show to tout the piece as evidence of the “truth” about homosexuality. Both the AFA and FRC have been listed as anti-gay hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading “known falsehoods” about LGBT people, including the myth that homosexuality is a choice.
NOM has a long history of promoting the idea that homosexuality is a choice and can be cured or changed. The organization has twice published the personal testimony of Greg Quinlan, president of the “ex-gay” group Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX). It has promoted the work of several authors who claimed that sexual orientation isn’t innate and could be determined by external factors (like watching gay people get married, for example). It touted a poll which found that the percentage of people who believe sexual orientation is determined at birth had remained unchanged since 2001. And just last month, NOM’s Ruth Institute promoted a video in which a conservative commentator labeled homosexuality an “addictive,” “learned behavior,” calling it “excellent” analysis.
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