Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dean's Democrats and the Evangelicals



Howard Dean has declared his determination to reach out to evangelical Protestants. An article about his outreach ends as follows (from Christianity Today):

In the gathering of Hispanic Democratic leaders, Gloria Nieto, vice chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, broke down in sobs as she lamented her feeling of rejection as a woman who had illegally married a woman in Boston. Responding to her wondering if the Democratic Party would still be a welcoming home for lesbians, Dean leaped off the stage into the audience to hug her. With a sob of his own catching his voice, he brought the audience to a standing ovation with his declaration, "That's why I am a Democrat." Many evangelicals may well respond, "That's why we are not Democrats."

The scientific evidence for why the Evangelicals are right about this is summarized in an excellent short pamphlet. Highlights include:
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Fact #2: Studies show homosexual marriage is hazardous to one's health.
Across the world, numerous researchers have reported that 'committed' or 'coupled' homosexuals are more apt to engage in highly risky and biologically unsanitary sexual practices than are 'single' gays. As a consequence of this activity, they increase their chances of getting AIDS and other sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases.
  • In 1983, near the beginning of the.AIDS epidemic, gays in San Francisco(13) who claimed to be in "monogamous relationships" were compared to those who were not. Without exception, those in monogamous relationships more frequently reported that they had engaged in biologically unhealthful activity during the past year. As examples, 4.5% of the monogamous v. 2.2% of the unpartnered had engaged in drinking urine, and 33.3% v. 19.6% claimed to practice oral-anal sex.
  • In a sample of London gays(6) in 1987, those infected with HIV were more apt to have regular partners than those not so infected.In 1989, Italian researchers(14) investigated 127 gays attending an AIDS clinic. Twelve percent of those without steady partners v. 28% of those with steady partners were HIV+. The investigators remarked that "to our surprise, male prostitutes did not seem to be at increased risk, whereas homosexuals who reported a steady partner (i.e., the same man for the previous six months) carried the highest relative risk."
  • During 1991-92, 677 gays in England(15) were asked about "unprotected anal sex." Those who had 'regular' partners reported sex lives which were "about three times as likely to involve unprotected anal sex than partnerships described as 'casual/one-night stands."' Sex with a regular partner "was far more important than awarelless of HIV status in facilitating high-risk behaviour."
  • A 1993 British sexual diary study(16) of 385 gays reported that men in "monogamous" relationships practiced more anal intercourse and more anal-oral sex than those without a steady partner. It concluded that "gay men in a Closed relationship... exhibit... the highest risk of HIV transmission."
  • In 1992, a sample(17) of 2,593 gays from Tucson, AZ and Portland, OR reinforced the consistent finding that "gay men in primary relationships are significantly more likely than single men to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse."
  • Similarly, a 1993 sample(18) of gays from Barcelona, Spain practiced riskier sex with their regular partners than with casual pick ups.
  • Even a 1994 study(19) of over 600 lesbians demonstrated that "the connection between monogamy and unprotected sex,... was very consistent across interviews. Protected sex was generally equated with casual encounters; unprotected sex was generally equated with trusting relationships. Not using latex baariers was seen as a step in the process of relational commitment. Choosing to have unprotected sex indicated deepening trust and intimacy as the relationship grew."


Why is homosexual marriage a health hazard?
While married people pledge and generally live up to their vows of sexual faithfulness, participants in both gay and lesbian "marriages" offer each other something quite different. They see shared biological intimacy and sexual risk-taking as the hallmark of trust and commitment. Being exposed in this way to the bodily discharges of their partner increases the risk of disease, especially so if that partner was 'married' to someone else before or engaged in sex with others outside the relationship.


The evidence is strong that both gays and lesbians are more apt to take biological risks when having sex with a partner than when having casual sex. The evidence is also strong that gays disproportionately contract more disease, especially AIDS and the various fonms of hepatitis, from sex with "partners" than they do from sex with strangers. There is also some evidence(20) that gays with partners are more apt to die of both AIDS and non-AIDS conditions than those without partners.


Like gays, 'married' lesbians are more apt to engage in biological intimacy and risk-taking. However, there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether disease or death rates are higher for partnered or unpartnered lesbians.


Fact #3: Homosexual marriage has the highest rate of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a public health concern. Among heterosexuals, not only is it an obvious marker of a troubled marriage, but media attention and tax dollars to aid 'battered women' have both grown tremendously in recent years. What is not reported is the empirical evidence suggesting that homosexual couples have higher rates of domestic violence than do heterosexual couples, especially among lesbians.
In 1996,(21) Susan Holt, coordinator of the domestic violence unit of the Los Angeles Gay Lesbian Center, said that "domestic violence is the third largest health problem facing the gay and lesbian community today and trails only behind AIDS and substance abuse... in terms of sheer numbers and lethality."
The average rate of domestic violence in traditional maariage, established by a nationwide federal government survey(22) of 6,779 married couples in 1988, is apparently less than 5% per year. During their most recent year of marriage, 2.0% of husbands and 3.2% of wives said that they were hit, shoved or had things thrown at them. Unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals report(23) higher rates of violencea rate of about 20% to 25% per year.
When the same standard is applied to gay and lesbian relationships, the following evidence emerges:

  • In 1987,(24) 48% of 43 lesbian, and 39% of 39 gay Georgia couples reported domestic violence.
  • In 1988,(25) 70 lesbian and gay students participated in a study of conflict resolution in gay and lesbian relationships. Adjusted upward for reporting by only one partner in the couple (i.e., "only one side of the story"), an estimated 29% of gay and 56% of lesbian couples experienced violence in the past year.
  • In 1989,(26) 284 lesbians were interviewed who were involved "in a committed, cohabitating lesbian relationship" during the last 6 months. Adjusted for reporting by just one partner, an estimated 43% of the relationships were violent in the past year.
  • In 1990,(27) nearly half of 90 lesbian couples in Los Angeles reported domestic violence yearly. 21% of these wonien said that they were mothers. Interestingly, of those mothers who had children living with them, 11 lived in "violent" and 11 in "nonviolent" relationships. Thus, unlike traditional marriage where parents will often forego fighting to shield the children from hostility, there was no evidence from this investigation that the presence of youngsters reduced the rate of domestic violence.


Overall, the evidence is fairly compelling that homosexual domestic violence exceeds heterosexual domestic violence. The limited scientific literature suggests that physical domestic violence occurs every year among less than 5% of traditionally married couples, 20% to 25% of cohabiting heterosexuals, and approximately half of lesbian couples. The evidence is less certain for gays, but their rate appears to fall somewhere between that for unmarried, cohabiting heterosexuals and lesbians.

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