In an interview conducted at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. last week, the antigay American Family Association radio host, Bryan Fischer, doubled down on the distortions disseminated on his radio program regularly in which he purports a link between gay men and pedophilia, claiming that there is “solid social science research” showing a connection, even though studies and every respected medical and mental health association refute such claims.
Fischer also weighed in on his fears about Mitt Romney’s commitment to an antigay agenda, and he took aim at a new target: women who “engage in lesbian behavior,” whom Fischer claimed have a higher incidence of breast cancer, even though that possibly higher incidence has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
“Right now the choice between the two parties is no longer a political choice -- it’s a moral choice,” Fischer said in an interview for my SiriusXM OutQ radio program. “One party has taken a clear and unambiguous stand for homosexual marriage. The other party has taken a clear and unambiguous stand for natural marriage. And I’m very optimistic that this is good for the Republican Party because every time natural marriage has been on the ballot it has won. Natural marriage is 32 and 0.”
But Fischer is unsure about Mitt Romney.
“When he was governor of Massachusetts, his record as governor was friendly toward the homosexual agenda,” Fischer explained. “In fact, in my judgement, he imposed same-sex marriage on Massachusetts and the U.S. by executive fiat. Now he’s changed his rhetoric but the question is, will his change in rhetoric be reflected by a change in his governing record? I’ve got real questions about that. Paul Ryan’s been a big help because Paul Ryan’s credentials on this score [are] unquestioned. I think that gives some confidence to the conservative base that Mitt Romney will make good decisions as president.”
Regarding his frequently railing against gay men and making unsubstantiated connections to pedophilia, Fischer bristled when it was pointed out to him that every major medical and mental health group, such as the American Psychological Association, rejects such a connection.
“I disagree with the assessment that there’s no solid social science research behind the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he countered, without referring to any studies specifically on homosexuality and pedophilia. “I believe the research is strong. I believe it is impeccable.”
Fischer then began to quote from this year's controversial Mark Regnerus study on gay-parenting, which was recently determined to be severely flawed in an audit by the very journal that published it. When that was pointed out him, he scoffed that “political pressure” caused the journal to criticize the study.
“That’s a homosexual act,” he said in describing a male pedophile molesting a male child, though studies have refuted any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia and social scientists note that most pedophiles do not have an adult sexual orientation and will often choose either gender in children they molest. “Because it’s a sexual act with someone of the same gender -- there’s no escaping that.”
Asked why he demonizes male homosexuality as dangerous because gay men are at high risk for HIV but rarely mentions lesbians, who are perhaps the lowest risk group for HIV infection (and thus it would negate his claims that homosexuality is medically risky and dangerous), Fisher claimed "lesbian behavior” is associated with medical risks too.
“Well, if you look at the Gay and Lesbian Medial Association web site,” he said. “This is the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association -- not an arm of the [Family Research Council] or [the American Family Association] or the vast right-wing conspiracy -- they identify ten specific medical risks for women who are engaged in lesbian behavior. And one of them is breast cancer and gynecological cancer. And this is the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association -- that’s not me saying that. That’s the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association saying that.”
But as renowned breast cancer specialist Dr. Susan Love has pointed out, "This has nothing to do with being a lesbian per se. Rather, it stems from the idea that lesbians are more likely to have some of the known risk factors for breast cancer: late first pregnancy or no pregnancy and obesity." When it was explained to Fischer that a possible higher incidence in breast cancer among lesbians may have to do with the fact that some studies suggest a higher incidence of breast cancer among women who do not breast feed, and that many lesbians do not have children (and thus straight women who don’t have children or don't breast feed might have an equally higher incidence of breast cancer), Fischer dismisses the fact that a possible higher incidence would have nothing to do with sexual orientation itself.
“Right, but nevertheless, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association says, ‘Look, here are the risks, medical risks among lesbians that are higher than the general population,'" he repeated. "So I’m willing to take their word for it.”Listen to the full interview:
Below, see a slideshow of other horrific things said about LGBT people:
CLARIFICATION: Language has been added to the post to better indicate that Fischer's comments were part of an interview with HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Singorile. Fischer did not speak at the convention.