The Penn State debacle that erupted following football coach Joe Paterno's dismissal continues to rankle sports fans. Now, two high-profile voices are linking the child sex abuse charges facing Paterno's former assistant with the LGBT community -- in particular, citing the case as evidence against gay parenting and same-sex adoption.
First to speak out was Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who used the much-publicized breakup of Toronto's famed "gay" penguins as representative of "the fluidity" of sexual orientation before turning his attention to Penn State's retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse involving eight boys over a 15-year period. "It's a simple, stubborn fact that homosexuals molest children at much higher rates than the heterosexual population," Fischer said. "This is one of the reasons the Boy Scouts have every right to keep homosexuals from becoming Boy Scout leaders."
Echoing those sentiments was Arkansas Family Council's Jerry Cox, who appeared on the NPR news and analysis show "To The Point" via a California-based affiliate and used Sandusky's case as an argument against same-sex adoption. "I find it interesting that we talk about the Penn State situation, and then when we talk about people who claim to have these rights to adopt or foster; in both cases, the children's rights get put in second place," Cox told host Warren Olney, after a gay parent from L.A. spoke about the stringent adoption process to which he and his partner were subjected. "If those are the only two choices -- a child be institutionalized or in a same-sex home -- I would like to challenge this and say, maybe the state can do better than that. I blame the state for that. These children need a place to recover." (You can listen to that interview here)
Olney quickly issued a statement via the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) apologizing for the incident. "We apologize for any confusion about today’s 'To the Point,' which dealt with both the Penn State child-sex scandal and the issue of same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents," Olney wrote, noting he planned to clarify the error on Monday's show. "The connection we intended to make was this: a suspected pedophile backed by a powerful institution was allowed to have foster children, while same-sex couples, who can provide loving families, are often denied that opportunity."
Watch Fischer's AFI speech below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article identified Jerry Cox as being from the Family Research Council. He is actually from the Arkansas Family Council.