Monday, April 24, 2006

A Stream of Letters to the Gazette

I'm afraid this post might be a little long; I'm trying to condense reading that is spread across a bunch of newspapers and web sites into one place. The Gazette has published a barrage of letters in recent weeks, going back and forth about homosexuality, sometimes directly related to our sex-ed controversy, sometimes only indirectly. The last edition of the paper had six letters.

This seems to have started with a letter from Tres Kerns in the March 8th Gazette, titled, "Children learn to how interact with both sexes by watching opposite sex parents." You might remember Tres from the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum's March, 2005, town hall meeting -- he was the guy who has to travel to all the gay conventions and get-togethers picking up outrageous materials to show in his talks. Whenever there's any kind of gay event, he goes, and then he can tell us how the "homosexual agenda" is after our children, trying to take over our society, blah blah blah. He's got lots of gay porn and offensive stuff, which he seems to take with him wherever he goes.

Kerns wrote The Gazette, and I'll excerpt just a little here:
My homosexual friends and I are having an interesting discussion about parenting.

I reason that every child wants a loving father and mother who love each other, and are faithful to one another and the Creator for a lifetime. They agree, but retort that not every child has such a loving father and mother. Although we mostly agree on these points, it brings up an interesting dilemma about same-sex marriage.

If it is true that every child wants a loving father and mother, while it is also true that not every child has a loving, faithful father and mother, what would the impact of same-sex marriage be on this problem?


As I have gotten to know many homosexuals better, I have learned that most were not shown the Creative order of true love as children. Some homosexuals do not even believe that it is possible to have a loving, faithful father and mother.


The problem with same-sex marriage, apart from embracing homosexual behavior as normal and healthy, is that it automatically eliminates a loving father or mother by definition. The very situation that most of my homosexual friends have experienced in their lives will become a permanent reality for their children. Will it make a difference? Some will have good results and others will not. However, the results for American society will be profound. We will have fooled ourselves into believing that our human way — secular, radical redefinition of "marriage" — is effective, when in actuality we have transgressed from what works best.

Unless we change course, we will continue down the path of leaving many children never knowing what it is like to have a loving, faithful father and mother at home. Children learn to how interact with both sexes by watching opposite sex parents

It's quite a long letter, and of course provocative. The idea that Tres Kerns has "homosexual friends" is a hoot in itself. Tres has a kind of web site,, I say "kind of" because it doesn't look like it's been updated in a couple of years. Anyway, he gets quoted by the Family Blah Blah groups, he's a classic obsessive gay-hater, and in this letter he proposes a naive theory of developmental psychology with no data to support it, no reason to believe it makes sense in any way except that it's consistent with his preconceptions.

Whatever, in America, everybody has the right to be wrong.

On March 24th, Kerns got a reply in The Gazette from Kenneth B. Morgen, Ph.D., who describes himself as director of Chesapeake Psychological Services in Towson and president of the Baltimore Psychological Association. He writes:
Tres Kerns' mission in life is to prevent people like me from enjoying the same rights and privileges as people like him ("Children learn how to interact with both sexes by watching opposite sex parents," March 3 letter). Although I'm not calling him a hate-monger, his suppressive speech promotes a peculiar brand of "loving" intolerance that threatens thousands of Maryland families like us.

As a parent and a clinical psychologist, I write not only from personal experience, but also from a professional perspective that spans three decades and contains great familiarity with the professional literature about same-sex marriage and parenting.

Fact one: Sexual orientation is not learned or taught, it's discovered. After all, most of us with a homosexual orientation were raised by heterosexual parents. Similarly, many gay parents have straight kids.

It has long been known in the social sciences that gay people do not choose their orientations any more than do straight people. Like when throwing a ball, most people are right-handed, but some people feel more comfortable lobbing with their left.

Gay or straight, people discover their sexual and romantic feelings early in life. Romantic and sexual feelings lead us to form mutually satisfying relationships, which lend our lives meaning and help define the happiness, which our Constitution guarantees us the right to pursue. The only difference between Mr. Kerns' marriage and mine is a piece of paper and the gender of our spouses.


This simple truth was brought home recently by a panel of children, ranging in age from 9 to 30 who were raised by gay or lesbian parents, when they spoke of their experiences at the Park School in Baltimore. Uniformly, they were grateful to their same-sex parents and confused by those who held negative views of families such as theirs.

It's about time we listen to those children and for Heaven's sake, keep them away from "well-meaning," poorly informed, self-appointed, social guardians like Tres Kerns.Children need loving parents — period

This guy rips into it for a bunch more paragraphs, you should click on the link to see all that he has to say. I hate to repeat it all here -- most of us are already familiar with these arguments, though they are made in a most articulate way here.

Then on March 31st, the ubiquitous Ruth Jacobs, the CRC's resident physician, rang in:
In his commentary, "Children need loving parents — period" (March 24), Dr. Kenneth B. Morgen presents himself as an expert in the gay lifestyle based on both personal and professional experience.

He states being gay is "not contagious" and doesn't hurt anyone. Dr. Morgen knows that although male homosexuals are only 2.1 percent of the population, men who have sex with men account for 56 percent of the deaths due to AIDS. About 20 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) are HIV positive.

The Centers for Disease Control states:

*"Although many MSM reduce risk behaviors after learning that they have HIV, most remain sexually active."

*MSM "are at increased risk for multiple sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including ... HIV, ... AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B and hepatitis A."

*"The use of alcohol and illegal drugs continues to be prevalent among some MSM and is linked to HIV and STD risk."

*"Depression, childhood sexual abuse, using more than one drug, and partner violence have been shown to increase high-risk sexual behaviors (in MSM)."

I have seen many people die and be otherwise hurt by infections obtained because of the gay lifestyle. Dr. Morgen should not hide the serious medical consequences of men having sex with men as he promotes the gay lifestyle and shuns those who oppose adopting "gay marriage" as the standard for Maryland.

Dr. Morgen and his partner are doctors and must be intellectually honest enough to interpret the medical data objectively — period. Medical data shows that gay lifestyle is risky

First of all, the acronym MSM, for "men having sex with men," is not at all the same thing as "the gay lifestyle" or even "being gay." For instance, a recent study showed that the incidence of AIDS among blacks is increasing disproportionately because blacks are imprisoned disproportionately. Men in prison have sex with other men, but very few of them are gay. It's just two different things.

Second, if gays use alcohol or drugs, if there are diseases targeting that population ... what in the world does that have to do with a gay couple's ability to raise children? Is she trying to imply that all gay people are the same, they all do all of these things, and therefore none of them are fit to have a family? That's absurd.

By the way, it's fun to look at the CDC document she quotes from: HERE. It's all about teaching gay men about the risks. You can order their poster, which has a big picture of a white man and a black man hugging, and says "Prevent STDs." To twist these warnings about health risks into a statement that gay couples should not raise children is perverse and shameful.

Sharron Barnum of Gaithersburg writes in that same day's paper, saying:
Dr. Morgen needs to clearly state his facts and let us know where they are coming from. Homosexual orientation is a choice.

I'm cutting out most of it, this post is going to be too long already. Actually, her letter is a straightforward paraphrase, not quite plagiarized from a presentation given by Dr. Jeffrey Satinover to a Massachusetts State Senate committee meeting in 2003. You can read it on just about any rightwing web site.

Dr. Jacobs' letter elicited an April 7th response from's very own Dr. Dana Beyer, who said:
...just as most heterosexuals are not prostitutes and are not living "the straight lifestyle," most gay men and women are not living a special lifestyle either.


Promiscuity leads to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Anal sex is associated with a higher incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Focusing on one population is not only misleading but it’s dangerous, because most anal sex is engaged in by heterosexual couples who, if they are acolytes of Dr. Jacobs, will assume that they have no risk from that behavior because they are not gay. That’s absurd.

We should be encouraging a monogamous lifestyle for all our children, gay and straight. But that would mean supporting marriage equality, which is anathema to Dr. Jacobs. So religious extremists continue to twist themselves into knots, promote pseudoscience, and cause more harm to the public health. Encourage monogamous lifestyle for all

--Hey, here's a little tidbit of news for you: Dr. Beyer has just announced her intention to run for State Delegate in Maryland's District 18, which includes Chevy Chase, Kensington, and Wheaton, in the Democratic primary, which is September 12th. We wish her all the luck.

Also on April 7th, but in a different edition of The Gazette, Mike Bernard of Baltimore responded to Sharron Barnum, saying:
I would like to know when and how she was given the choice of her sexual orientation, and what steps she took to choose her orientation. Was it during her childhood or later? I don’t remember my parents or anyone else sitting me down to tell me that it’s time to choose my sexual orientation. I would be most interested to hear how this process takes place in other families.

Since the word "orientation" implies an innate state, sexual or any other orientation cannot be chosen by any individual. Those rejecting their sexual orientation, for example those trying to become "ex-gay" can be compared to brown-eyed people wearing blue-tinted contact lenses and claiming that they’re blue-eyed. The reality is they still have brown eyes. And our orientations are our true selves.

I wish people would focus their energies on accepting those around them as they are, no matter their orientations. How much better our world would be if we did. Accept each other

(By the way, that was his entire letter. You might want to look back here when you see Regina Griggs' comments, below.)

Sharron Barnum's letter also provoked an April 14th response from Chad Wheeler, of Montgomery Village, who said:
I guess she is insinuating that since being gay is a choice that all heterosexuals have made a choice to be straight and that it is really as simple as choosing which shoes to wear each morning. Confronted with the "choice" of being gay or straight I can see why so many choose the "gay lifestyle." Who wouldn't enjoy being persecuted and judged with hatred? Why not choose a lifestyle with no legal rights and a constant fear of violence and hate crimes? Debate surrounding gay lifestyles continues

On the 14th The Gazette also published a letter by Regina Griggs, Executive Director of PFOX - Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays. She wrote:
In his letter ("Accept each other," April 7 Gazette of Business and Politics), Mike Bernard denigrates ex-gays while asking the public to accept people regardless of their sexual orientation. Perhaps he should heed his own advice and accept the ex-gay community.

Contrary to Mr. Bernard’s assertions that former homosexuals do not exist, the ex-gay community can attest to the fact that thousands of men and women with same-sex attractions have made the personal decision to leave homosexuality. Because people like Mr. Bernard refuse to respect that decision, ex-gays are subject to an increasingly hostile environment where we are reviled simply because we dare to exist.

Contempt of those who have resolved unwanted same-sex attractions perpetuates misunderstanding and harm against the ex-gay community. It also demonstrates a disregard for diversity and a refusal to respect a basic human right to dignity and self-determination. We now need to face the other side of sexual orientation — intolerance of ex-gays.

Now, look back at what he said. See if the words "denigrates," "do not exist," "refuse to respect," "increasingly hostile," "reviled," "contempt," and "intolerance" have any relation to his comments. Somebody's panties are in a wad about nothin'. Somebody likes feeling sorry for themselves.

Look, Regina, nobody cares one way or the other if somebody switches from AC to DC, or whatever. People don't like to be preached at. Stop doing that, and you'll find nobody "reviles" "ex-gays" at all. (It would also help if you would stop calling them "ex-gays" and start calling them "straight people.")

On the 14th, Mark Hodge writes in to contest Ruth Jacobs' comments:
When there is so much going on in the world that directly affects the lives of those who read this paper (lack of affordable health care, a war nobody supports anymore, pharmacists and doctors refusing to provide care in the name of morality, spying) do any of them, besides maybe Dr. Jacobs, wake up every day wondering, "What research findings can I manipulate today to continue my anti-gay rhetoric?" Research shows it is highly unlikely.

This is not news. Polls show the majority of Americans don’t care about this.

And ... Ruth Jacobs herself writes again, this time to rebut Dana Beyers' rebuttal of her previous letter.
The Centers for Disease Control is a federal, scientific institution designed to protect the health and welfare of all U.S. citizens. The CDC finds the gay lifestyle contains factors such as depression, illegal drug use and partner violence contributing to high "gay" STDS/HIV risks.

Dana Beyer, a retired physician, tries to dispense with these facts by labeling CDC information as pseudoscience ("Encourage monogamous lifestyle for all," April 7 letter). Instead of the CDC, Dr. Beyer relies on an HIV positive, gay writer Andrew Sullivan.

Anal sex is mostly associated with the gay lifestyle. HIV transmission is 7 percent per year with vaginal sex and about 80 percent per year with anal sex. Anal sex has risks that extend beyond STDS/HIV. However, if all waited until they met their lifetime partner and were then monogamous with that partner, STDs and sexually transmitted HIV would disappear.

While I disagree that the promiscuity and lifestyle choices of homosexuals are the same as heterosexuals, I agree with Dr. Beyer that we should encourage a "monogamous lifestyle for all."

Let me point out to you, first of all, that the CDC's web site, in all its thousands of documents online, does not contain one single instance of the term "gay lifestyle." There is one instance of the phrase "homosexual lifestyle," where a rare form of pneumonia was identified in several gay patients, and the author speculated the fact they were gay "suggests an association between some aspect of a homosexual lifestyle" and the mode of transmission of the disease. That's it.

The CDC does not "find the gay lifestyle contains" any factors regarding diseases. This is not an error in Dr. Jacobs' letter: it's a lie.

Second, anal sex is not "mostly associated with the gay lifestyle." According to a recent survey published by the CDC, 35 percent of women and 40 percent of men have had anal sex with a member of the opposite sex, and only 3.7 percent of males have had anal sex with another male. In other words, anal sex has very little to do with the "gay lifestyle," and lots to do with the "heterosexual lifestyle."

It is very encouraging, though, to see the citizens advisory committee's representative for the CRC agreeing that gay people, as well as straight ones, should be monogamous. Doesn't she agree that the government should recognize the importance of monogamous relationships for gay as well as straight couples?

Stephen Kay of Severna Park writes in the same paper:
The American Medical, Psychiatric, Psychological and Psychoanalytical Associations all say that being gay is a built-in orientation. For most gays, to change is as unlikely as for the straight majority to choose to be gay.

As for the AIDS crisis, in some socioeconomic groups and poor countries the incidence of AIDS in straight populations is about 25 percent to 40 percent. The best AIDS preventative for our gay population would be legal marriage. They become, just like us, legally tied to their spouse, probably appreciating marriage more then we do, and if facing a most painful situation to divorce, learn to accommodate each other.

Finally, Rachel Zipper of Towson sent in this ... zipper:
Dr. Ruth Jacobs, an infectious disease specialist, left out important information concerning HIV/AIDS and the "lifestyles" of gay men.

According to the 2000 Fact Sheet, "HIV/AIDS Statistics," by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "Worldwide, more than 80 percent of all adult HIV infections have resulted from heterosexual intercourse." Homosexual sexual activity does not total the other 20 percent of the infections since drug use and mother-to-child transmissions are a source of infection as well.

International facts about HIV/AIDS are left out by homophobic people since they reveal that unsafe heterosexual activity results in the most infections. America and some Asian and Latin American countries are unique in that unsafe homosexual sexual activity led to more infections.

According to NIAID’s 2000 Fact Sheet on "HIV/AIDS in the United States," 60 percent of men were infected through homosexual sex. Also, with new infections, African Americans and women have been disproportionately infected. The real culprit, then, for both heterosexuals and homosexuals is a lack of outreach by the government and local communities to inform and empower their countrymen in addressing the disease.

I think that takes us up to the present. This stream of letters-to-the-editor doesn't show any sign of slowing down.

Our school district is deciding how to teach about sexual orientation in middle school and high school, and this discussion is an extension of it -- several of these authors have participated in public comments at school board meetings, for instance.

It is clear where Montgomery County stands on the issue. Our gay neighbors deserve the same rights the rest of us have. People in this county don't think of their gay neighbors as dirty, germy, unfit to love or care for a family. Oh, well, a couple do (though Regina Griggs lives, I think, in Virginia). But mainly, this is a done deal. It's time to teach our kids some facts, and get over the yay-hooism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Regina Griggs sure has not been able to work her "presto chango from gay to exgay show" on her own child who is gay and still is.

Kind of flies in the face of logic with her PFOX role in Virginia all the while giving her two cents on Montgomery County, Maryland health curriculum.


April 24, 2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

I find many people who like to claim quotes from certain organizations- and then you go to the website for the organization and it isn't there- or it is misquoted. I personally do not care that Ruth Jacobs is a doctor-that doesn't make her any more honest or knowledgeable to me; especially because of the frequency of her lies and misquotes. As to Regina Griggs- what a laugh- Straight people do not get harassed because they are straight. I have not heard of straight people being beaten up for being straight or having their kids harassed because their parents are straight.

April 25, 2006 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Tish said...

I have wondered for over a year why The Gazette publishes letters from Regina Griggs of Mount Vernon, Virginia, on matters of Montgomery County policy and interest.

April 25, 2006 11:26 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

A few months ago, the Gazette announced a new approach to the letters it receiveds. See

In essence, all the letters it receives go on to its website as an Open Forum. Only a few actually get published in the various local print editions and in the Friday Gazette of Politics and Business.

I have not seen any of these in the Olney edition.

April 25, 2006 12:23 PM  

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