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They wanna party like it’s 1959

Monday, October 18th, 2010

As they say in the U.S. Senate, I wish to revise and extend my remarks. I wrote here on Friday that the Republican party’s “traditional anti-gay rhetoric is far more muted this year.” Actually, that statement is both correct and misleading. The party establishment is indeed behaving more tolerantly toward gays than in the recent past. The hitch, however, is that some of the tea-partiers seeking to crash the party still seem to think we’re living in 1959.

By now it’s conventional wisdom that conservative social issues are off the table in 2010, that the tea-partiers care only about taxes and related fiscal issues. Yet it’s worth noting that some of our tea-party Republican candidates are notoriously unenlightened about the gay citizenry, to the point where it’s embarrassingly clear that these candidates dwell in the realm of the ignorant.

Lest we forget, last week we witnessed New York gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino’s attempt to lump gays in the same category with “perverts” and “pornographers,” and recently we learned that Christine O’Donnell aspires to bring this wisdom to the Senate chamber: “Homosexuality is an identity adopted from societal factors. It’s an identity disorder.” But now comes a fresh example from another tea-partier, courtesy of an exchange yesterday on Meet The Press. I was still groggy from the Saturday night Phillies game, but when Colorado senatorial candidate Ken Buck spoke up, I woke up.

Host David Gregory: “Do you believe that being gay is a choice?”

Buck: “I do.”

Gregory: “Based on what?”

Buck: “Based on what?”

Gregory: “Yeah, do you believe that?”

Buck: “Well, I guess you can choose who your partner is.”

Gregory: “You don’t think it’s something that’s determined at birth?”

Buck: “I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice.”

Basically, you have a choice…There it is, the reactionary mantra that persists despite the well-documented conclusions long reached by every prominent psychological and mental health organization in the United States.

And Buck didn’t just “misspeak,” either. He basically said the same thing during a recent debate, when he argued that gay military people should stay in the closet and thus minimize any “distractions that are caused by allowing lifestyle choices to become part of the discussion.”

Lifestyle choices…Yeah, I guess that millions of Americans are anxious to voluntarily sign up to be treated as second-class citizens, as political punching bags. By Buck’s reasoning, lots of people willfully choose to be targeted by gay-bashing bigots; they choose to have no federal protection from job discrimination. Given the “lifestyle choices” freely available to all, who could resist such a bargain?

Anyway, here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics says about the choice canard: “One’s sexual orientation is not a choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual.” Here’s what the American Psychological Association says about that: “(M)ost people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” The APA also says that sexual orientation is not “a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.”

I assume somebody would argue that Paladino, O’Donnell, and Buck are outliers in the tea-party world, that their ignorance of behavioral science is not widely shared, that their decrees about gays are rare in a movement that focuses on the fiscal. But one need not dig very deeply to find virulently anti-gay screeds on tea-party websites.

For instance, one major group, Tea Party Patriots, has posted acres of sludge for the edification of its acolytes. If you are loathe to wade in, here are my two favorite lines about gays: “Biblical scripture is very clear and very harsh about the sin of their lifestyle ‘choice.'” And this: “The Gay Agenda must make quick work of the complete and utter annihilation of conservatism in order to survive as a permissible lifestyle choice.”

Ken Buck, meeting with reporters after his Meet The Press appearance, was asked to cite evidence for his lifestyle-choice remarks. His reply: “I haven’t studied the issue, but that’s my feeling on the issue.”

What better way to sum up the 2010 political zeitgeist, than to admit that no basic research has been allowed to penetrate his mind; that, in essence, he has no idea what he’s talking about?

Don’t Think, Just Feel…that would make a swell tea-party placard.


Just for fun, in a Sunday newspaper column I took the minority position that Democratic candidates should be touting the health care reform law – specifically, the consumer protections that kicked in last month. I mentioned that only three House Democrats are taking that route, but now there is actually a fourth, Pennsylvania’s Allyson Schwartz. She has this ad.


  • BILLBO says:

    If homosexuals would simply tell the truth in all the debates, I doubt they’d have ever run up against so many hurdles? For instance, as this “blog” repeats the same claim all over the internet, in the courtrooms, to the legislative committees etc. “The APA, the AAP and dozens of other organizations claim it is ‘not’ a choice.”
    You won’t get so much resistance if you’d start admitting two things. As is quickly proven by Googling the authors of ALL the studies, they are all either paid for or designed and written by active homosexuals? Likewise, admit that there are even MORE scientists and researchers who refuse to be a part of the APA, AAP and other orgs., who have proven over and over, it is a environmentally LEARNED BEHAVIOR, and almost always the adult or adolescent homosexual was sodomized when they were a kid. The orgs. you site even admit that in the actual studies, but conclude anyway, (because they are homosexuals) findings outside what the actual research says. CHECK IT, PROVE IT NOT SO, AND THEN COME BACK TO ARGUE.

  • swedesboromike says:

    I think we will be seeing alot of these types of articles in the next two weeks from liberal pundits. It’s an attempt to rally their base and to distract people from the much more important issues like the deficit, debt, size of government, and UNEMPLOYMENT. No politician should delve into the mud over these issues. I tend to agree with former VP Dick Cheyney that “freedom, means freedom for everyone. ” But voters care a lot more about unemployment and having a job more than anything else. Even gay people for that matter.

  • puttinonthefoil says:

    Anyone who knows anything knows that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association are in cahoots with the Democrat party and the lame-stream media bankrolled by George Soros, who is waiting with whole armies of Teacher Union thugs and Acorn activists to take away your guns and forcibly deny you of your fundamental American right to freedom. I wouldn’t believe those two organizations for a second. The arrogance of them to consider themselves authority on such matters! Oh, and by the way, Barney Frank single-handedly caused the economic meltdown… was it his CHOICE? There are only two clear options, my fellow Americans: buy gold and lock and load! God bless us all. And I would tell you who bankrolled my diatribe, but I won’t; because after all, Obama has not delivered on the transparency he promised! Remember in November!!! (remember what? I don’t know, you figure it out)

    • Warrick Sawyer says:

      What are you “puttinthefoil”, something to smoke perhaps? You can “choose” not to believe the boatloads of research the AAP and APA have done but can you show me any reputable research from any other organization demonstrating that being gay is a choice and not biological? Why do men lust after women? Is it a choice or maybe something more sinister, like hormones. Women and men hook up because of biology, not because of choice. If you’re straight the thought of being with someone of the same sex is abhorrent not because you choose for it to be but because your body says so. If you’re gay the thought of being with someone of the opposite sex is equally as abhorrent for the same reason. Lock and load? Last time I checked you have that right as well. I’m not gay and I am a gun owner but anecdotal evidence and my degree in biology says being gay is about as much of a choice whether you have to shave or not. BTW, you can buy all the gold you want but you’ll likely wake up in one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes where gold can be made synthetically and no longer has any value…

  • Steve says:

    I don’t know….Here is the Tea Party Patriots Mission Statement: http://www.teapartypatriots.org/Mission.aspx

    I don’t see anything here about gays or other social issues.

    The fact that a blogger linked to this group has a strong opinion about gays doesn’t deter from the essence of what the Tea Party movement is all about and why they have resonated with so many voters. Also, the one comment that I saw posted on that blog article was a fellow fiscal conservative disagreeing with the article.

  • Tom - wilmington, de says:

    Off topic, and I posted this to Friday’s post, but for those who missed it, here is a video of Dem candidate for New Mexico governor Diane Denish with a classic gaffe. Was her remark a choice, or was she just being who she is….http://townhall.com/tipsheet/GuyBenson/2010/10/17/most_embarrassing_slip_of_the_tongue_ever

  • JL in the DE says:

    What difference does it make if it’s a choice or not. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with how these candidates feel about DADT, gay marriage and things of the like. Let’s stay focused people.

  • yobill626 says:

    Seriously, why would someone CHOOSE to be gay? What inherent advantages come with that choice? Maybe someone who needs to be slurred or wants to feel different from the rest of society? It would seem logical that if you are making that CHOICE, that choice has already been made for you. You are just choosing to admit it to yourself.

    • Tom - wilmington, de says:

      yobill, to you I pose the same question. Have you ever asked a gay person IF they could choose to either be gay or straight, which would they choose? Since you believe it is not a choice, then clearly many who are gay perhaps do not like their genetic code (it must be genetic if it is not chosen). Since we are told how gay persons have nothing to be ashamed about, then most would probably choose to be gay if it was not in their genes, right? Ask someone. I am going to ask my cousin. I am curious as to what he will say.

      • Landscape says:

        That should be an interesting discussion. Do report back on it.

      • yobill626 says:

        Tom: Gays are everywhere. I know many, partly because the business I’m in attracted many openly gay people (managed restaurants, bars & hotels). No one I’ve ever met said they chose to be gay. Most come to embrace it only when they come to terms with themselves. Gay chooses you, not the other way around…

  • F. Inahoy says:

    Please, please forget about the economy. Let’s discuss witches, homosexuality, bigotry and puppie mills, and just forget about that pesky economy thing that’s driving voters this year.

  • Chris Landee says:

    If becoming gay really is a choice, I wonder at what age Ken Buck made the choice. Does he remember making the choice? Does his wife remember, or his mother? Has he ever talked to a single person who remembered making such a choice? Do my fellow readers remember their decisions?

    • Tom - wilmington, de says:

      I made the choice to be heterosexual when I chose to ask out Liz instead of Larry. I continued in the choice through a marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. However, if I get divorced a second time, then I may change my mind and make a different choice. BTW – have you ever asked a gay person IF they DID have a choice, would they stay gay or would they switch to being heterosexual? I think there would be some interesting answers to that question.

  • schnail says:

    Did you choose to be heterosexual or homosexual? Was there a spreadsheet that helped you come to your conclusion? Did you need the help of an orientationologist? Did you do some test drives? Compare features? Check out Consumer Reports? Find a coupon in the local newspaper? Look at nutrition labeling?

    • Tom - wilmington, de says:

      I chose to be heterosexual. Alcoholism is most times pre-conditioned. Children of alcoholics often become one, and some scientist believe there is a genetic cause, although a specific gene has yet to be identified. But, that person still has to make a choice to drink. However, if a person is proud to be gay, then why not shout out “I’m gay, and it is entirely my choice” instead of whispering “I’m gay, but I had no choice in the matter”. As for asking a gay person if they chose to be or not, their not identifying it as a choice lends me to believe that even they may think it is something less than normal. Otherwise, why not have it a choice and be proud.

      • Logathis says:

        You chose to be heterosexual? Right Tom. Great way to back up your argument with the empirical evidence you have demanded of others.

        • Tom - wilmington, de says:

          exactly my point, where is the evidence that homosexuality is genetic? How was that determined except by asking those who are homosexual?

      • portly says:

        Fercrissakes!! Yeah, thats it Tom, why don’t the Queers just Man Up and come out of the closet!? Come out were me and my fellow right wingnuts can demean, degrade and ridicule you and make a huge political wedge issue out of you? Staying in the closet is so, so, so….QUEER! Brilliant!

        • Tom - wilmington, de says:

          who is making the wedge issue, not conservatives. It would not be right to demean, degrade or debase anyone over their race, religion, creed or sexual orientation. However, if it is a choice, why not celebrate it in the open. Only people who feel ashamed about who they are stay hidden, so why not come out and celebrate their choice, like in the parades.

        • portly says:

          umm, because there is a HUGE amount of institutional bigotry and prejudice against the entire community? Hello??

    • yobill626 says:

      Tom: I can’t ever remember sitting down & contemplating making a choice to be a heterosexual. Even after being shot down in Jr High School by more girls than I care to admit, it never occureed to me to choose men. Yet, with all the gay men & women I’ve met over the years, every single one of them had varying amounts of shameful thoughts, sleepness nights & internal stress before they made their CHOICE.

  • Logathis says:

    The article that Mr. Polman linked to on the Tea Party Patriots website has a comment at the end that deserves to be read. It’s a gay Tea-partier defending his or her right to marry. Worth the reading. Oh and read the homophobic diatribe for some amusement, too. Almost all the right-wing paranoias wrapped up into one big hateful blog post!

  • Logathis says:

    When it comes to gay rights, can’t you conservatives feel the tide of history sweeping you away?

    • Tom - wilmington, de says:

      Most groups seeking “rights” are easily identifiable. For example, you can tell by sight if a person is a Black, Latino, Asian, etc. You can usually tell by sight if a person is disabled. So please explain, why do gays need special rights? Without stereotyping, the only way to determine if a person is gay is if they volunteer it (it cannot be asked in an interview anymore than you can ask a woman if she plans to have children). So why do they need special rights, and exactly what are gay rights?

      • Logathis says:

        The right to marry is a right most gay couples can only dream of. And your falacious argument that groups are ‘easily identifiable’ is riddled with holes. What about religious groups like Jews or Mormons? What about ethnic groups like the Creole of Louisiana that don’t look black or white? Would you deny any of them their basic human rights because they aren’t ‘easily identifiable’? You’re on the wrong side of history Tom. How can you not see that?

        • Tom - wilmington, de says:

          I don’t see too many Jews or Mormons marching in Washington, suing employers or pressuring Congress for “equal rights” legislation, do you?

        • Tom - wilmington, de says:

          And btw, I do not believe anyone should be denied their basic human rights, nor should one person/group’s rights take precedence over another person/group.

      • JimR says:

        Tom, the courts are filled with situations where there is a dispute of one person’s rights in conflict with another person’s rights. Gays are asking for the right to not be denied housing and jobs because they are gay. The issue of a same gender state of marriage is difficult due to social-reproductive conventions but Jews have certainly demonstrated when crime targeted specifically against has been in the fore.

  • F. Inahoy says:

    Polman to his readers: “Please folks, please ignore the economy. Please ignore the unemployment rate. Please ignore the tax increases coming your way. Please ignore the trillion dollar deficits. Please?”

  • jmc says:

    Science is able to take pictures of a woman’s womb. You can see the baby’s head, fingers and toes, and sexual anatomy. You can hear his/her heartbeat, and you can see the baby move. The baby is able to ingest food through the mother, and digest it. The baby has active periods, and resting periods. All of this evidence, yet the liberals insist that this is not a human being. Do liberals not believe their own eyes. It seems that no basic evidentary science has been allowed to penetrate their minds.

  • Tom - wilmington, de says:

    Just out of curiousity, what scientific experiment is conducted to determine if being gay is a choice or if it is pre-determined at birth?

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