Saturday, February 25, 2012

Misinformation and Lies in Virginia

This past week, the Virginia state senate recently passed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex parents on the basis of "morality."  This strengthens Virginia's already present (though not as directly intentional) discrimination that prevents non-married couples from jointly adopting children.  (Perhaps not a bad idea in itself, but it does discriminate against same sex couples as they're not allowed to marry in Virginia.)

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell based his support of the bill on the belief that gays, even married gays, make worse parents than heterosexuals.  This is not true.  It's not even remotely true.  It is, in fact, so thoroughly disproven by scientific research that perpetuating the belief is akin to thinking that the earth is flat.  But the anti-gay movement is well organized, well funded, and they are passionate, which is why claims like this sneak into the area of popularly held public belief. 

It's why agencies like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family are so dangerous because they masquerade as something legitimate and trustworthy while publishing lies and defaming the LGBT community.  (The FRC in particular has come under fire for publishing the work of Paul Cameron, a "researcher" who has been discredited by virtually every reputable psychiatric agency in North America and for citing legitimate studies as proof of the superiority of heterosexual parents when those studies either did not account for same sex parents at all, or even included same sex parents with heterosexual parents (as the intent was to measure against single parent households.)  It's designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a Hate Group is well earned.)

This is the kind of thing that sets back gay rights years because the public doesn't know any better and isn't motivated enough to find the truth (or even aware that there is one).  What's worse is the apathy of legitimate news agencies, like ABC and CNN who have had FRC president Tony Perkins on as a "conservative commentator" more times than I can count.  He's a liar and a bigot and he deserves no more attention than the bum on the street corner with the doomsday signs.  I love Dan Savage and the It Gets Better Project, but this quip by bloggers Tom and Lorenzo does have a point:

The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.

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