Peter Sprigg speech on 3-19-05 at the CRC Town Hall Meeting

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Well thank you. I知 happy to be able to uh be here to uh speak to you today and I just want to start by affirming uh the leadership of uh Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum uh for the great job that they have done um. I uh did attend that first meeting in December and um and since then I have been uh uh very impressed with the work that uh Michelle and and Ellen Castellano and uh Steve and all the all the people who have uh participated uh in this effort. Uh This has been a model of citizen action and I just want to give my public uh affirmation to everybody involved in it.

I want to say one other thing and I um I知 on the CRC email list and uh they were forwarding some of the comments that were made by um uh some people who who support this curriculum and oppose what CRC is doing, one of which was that uh that this event would bring in a lot of speakers from outside. Um and Steve failed to mention that one of my principle qualifications for being here is I am not an outsider. I live in Montgomery County, I own a home in Montgomery County, I am raising my family in Montgomery County. (Unintelligible) I vote in Montgomery County.

Now what I opt to talk about today though based on the research that I have done in my position at the at the Family Research Council is the subject of myths about homosexuality. Now it痴 interesting the new curriculum actually has myths regarding sexual orientation as one of the topics uh that is included in this unit, however, um there are a number of important myths that are widely prevalent in our society that do not seem to be covered by this new curriculum and what I壇 like to do uh today is to share with you a little bit of information about the myths uh that are not being debunked which are perhaps more in need of debunking than the things mentioned in this curriculum.

The uh first one is uh the myth that people are born gay. If this were true, it would advance the idea that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic like race, that homosexuals like African Americans should be legally protected against discrimination, and that disapproval of homosexuality should be as socially stigmatized as racism. However, it is not true. The research shows no convincing evidence that anyone is born gay and suggests instead that homosexuality results from a complex mix of developmental factors. Now I知 going to go through a couple of these and I知 going to cite you things and please bear with some of this scholarly language but I want you to know that there are sources, peer reviewed academic sources that support all the things I知 saying. For example the Archives of General Psychiatry says, about the origins of homosexuality, QUOTE At present the biologic alternatives seem to have no greater explanatory value. In fact the current trend may be to underrate the explanatory power of extant psychosocial models. OK that means we are not giving enough credit to the belief, the traditional belief, that homosexuality is a psychological and developmental phenomenon rather than a biological.

Myth #2 is that ten percent of the population is gay. Now I don t know if this is ah actually included in the the new curriculum but it痴 widespread uh belief in our in our culture. If this were true it would support the notion that gay people are everywhere, have significant part of every institution in the country and thus commonplace, normal and nothing to fear. However, it is not true. The research clearly shows that a very small percentage of the population, less than three percent, identify themselves as homosexuals. There are...I want to quote now a source for this which said QUOTE The most widely accepted study of sexual practices in the United States is the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS). The NHSLS found that 2.8% of the male and 1.4% of the female population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. Now what痴 interesting is the source of this quote. This source of this was a um footnote in a Friend of the Court Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in a case of Lawrence vs. Texas uh which uh in, involving the Texas uh law against homosexual sodomy. And this was a brief submitted by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation痴 largest gay-rights organization so you have it in their own words. Two point eight percent of men and one point four percent of women, not ten percent.

Uh the next myth is that homosexuals are seriously disadvantaged by discrimination in our society. If this were true it would support the notion that homosexuals are in need of special protections under the law. However, by two of the most common measures of social disadvantage, education and income, it is not true. The research shows that homosexuals actually have significantly higher levels of educational attainment than the general public while their findings on homosexual incomes are at worst mixed. Here痴 uh an a study from the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management which said QUOTE In contrast to studies of anti-discrimination laws for women and ethnic minorities, we have produced no evidence that employment protections for sexual orientation directly increase average earnings for members of same-sex households. END QUOTE

Next myth: Homosexuality is harmless. If this were true it would support the notion that government has no reason to penalize or otherwise disadvantage people uh who engage in homosexual behavior. However it is not true. The research clearly shows that homosexual behavior specifically and the homosexual lifestyle generally are associated with serious threats to the physical and mental health of those who engage in them, and by extension, to public health. The quote here is from the International Journal of Epidemiology, which reported QUOTE In a major Canadian center, life expectancy at age 20 for gay and bi-sexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. END QUOTE

The next myth is that children raised by homosexuals suffer no harm. If this were true it would support the notion that even the most distinctively heterosexual institutions of our society, the family and marriage itself, should be open to homosexuals on an equal basis. However, it is not true. The research shows clearly that children do best when raised by a married mother and father and that the homosexual lifestyle is unstable. Research specifically on homosexual parents has been fraught with methodological problems, but such research as there is nevertheless does show differences in the children of homosexuals that should raise concern. The quote here is from an academic journal in Australia called Children Australia, which says QUOTE Overall, the study has shown that children of married couples are more likely to do well at school in academic and social terms than children of cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples. END QUOTE

And finally, and this is eh perhaps the most controversial of these but I do want to mention it, it is the myth that homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals are. If this were true it would support the notion that homosexuals should be allowed to work with children as schoolteachers, Boy Scout leaders and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. However it is not true. The research clearly shows that same-sex child sexual abuse, mostly men molesting boys, occurs at rates far higher than adult homosexual behavior and it strongly suggests that many of those abusers are homosexual in their adult orientation as well. The quote here is from The Archives of Sexual Behavior which found that ah uh study of, now please, please understand what I知 saying here. I am not saying, not saying that all homosexuals molest children. I知 not saying I知 not saying that the majority of homosexuals molest children. But I am saying that the rate is much higher than it is among heterosexuals. And this study in The Archives of Sexual Behavior of 229 convicted child molesters ah found that QUOTE Eighty-six percent of offenders against males, that is men who had molested boys, eighty-six percent of offenders against males describe themselves as homosexual or bi-sexual. CLOSE QUOTE

Now I did just want to comment about ah one other thing which ah Michelle alluded to in, in her opening presentation. One of the myths that uh, that the um is listed in the curriculum is that if you are straight you can become ah all right well all right I found ..the myth that people cannot change their their sexual orientation and in fact, we have thousands, uh tens of thousands of former homosexuals around this country uh who will testify to the possibility of change uh in their sexual orientation and my understanding is that the committee ignored all ah evidence in that regard. Uh one thing that痴 uh The comment on this uh topic is most experts in the field have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice. This is a false dichotomy that is widespread that people who either you are born gay or you choose to be gay. Those are not the alternatives. There are actually three aspects to sexual orientation and the curriculum fails to adequately distinguish these. There is an aspect of attractions, people痴 sexual attractions, which are a psychological phenomenon and which I would agree people do not choose. But there is a second aspect of sexual behavior and people do choose their sexual behavior and should be held accountable for it. And there is a third element of sexual self-identification of their sexual orientation, in other words do you identify yourself as a gay or lesbian individual. If you survey the American public as the National Health and Social Life Survey did, you will get three completely different answers for these three different measures of sexual orientation. It痴 important to to explain that people who experience same-sex attractions neither have uh neither have a right to engage in same-sex sexual behavior nor are they incapable of uh resisting the temptation to engage in same-sex sexual behavior. We are sometimes accused of degrading the integrity of gay and lesbian people as as individuals by by suggesting that they can contain their sexual behavior. I think it its it would degrade them as individuals to suggest that a person cannot contain and control their own sexual behavior. Ah

But I do want to put in a little plug for a publication that contains all the information that I致e cited and more. It is a publication from the Family Research Council entitled, 敵etting it Straight: What the research shows about homosexuality. I have a few copies with me or you can order it on our website at Thank you for your time.

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