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Jewish World Review Jan. 26, 2000 /19 Shevat, 5760

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Homosexual 'affirmation' --
A VISITOR FROM MARS, surveying the American scene circa 1983, might have logically concluded that the movement for normalizing and legitimizing homosexuality had suffered a severe setback from a virus called HIV. Added to traditional moral qualms about homosexuality was a new enemy -- a fatal disease spread by, inter alia, homosexual conduct.

But the Martian was, of course, wrong. He underestimated the ability of gay-interest groups, with the help of an obliging press, to manipulate public opinion. In their hands, the scourge of AIDS became not a caution against homosexual acts (or even against promiscuity), but instead, evidence of the victim status of gay men. If you've seen one, you've doubtless seen a dozen touching stories on TV about faithful, monogamous gay couples, caring for one another for a lifetime, and fighting unjust and ignorant stereotypes.

That there are such couples is clearly true. Whether they represent the typical homosexual is another matter. Research suggests that among male homosexuals, promiscuity of strenuous proportions is the norm -- and most homosexuals like it that way. Even the most ardent and eloquent advocate for homosexual marriage, Andrew Sullivan, has recently written that he has always defended "the beauty and mystery and spirituality of sex, even anonymous sex."

Spirituality? Paging through pamphlets such as those written by the Gay Men's Health Crisis, pamphlets aimed at stemming the tide of HIV infection, it is difficult to see where Sullivan finds beauty, far less spirituality.

Some of the practices named are so bizarre that they defy imagination.

Others certainly defy the capacity of the human body to take abuse.

Still, everywhere one turns these days, the movement to normalize homosexuality and place it on equal footing with heterosexuality is gaining ground. Vice President Al Gore announces that homosexuals will serve openly in the armed forces in his administration, and that this issue will be a litmus test for appointments to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (a position he later backed away from slightly).

The Vermont Supreme Court has now branded the preference for heterosexual unions enshrined in the laws of 50 states to be mere bigotry. Soon, same-sex couples legally joined in Vermont will sue in other states to have their status recognized (whether for survivors' benefits, insurance or even for adoption and custody). Soon, judges in other states will honor Vermont's law.

(For a cogent explanation of the legal mischief Vermont's court has created, and an explanation of why the Defense of Marriage Act won't stop it, see the Jan. 17, 2000, issue of The Weekly Standard.)

An alliance of education groups and psychological associations has now teamed up to distribute a booklet to all 14,700 public school districts in the nation. Titled the Just the Facts Coalition, the group, which includes the NEA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association, among others, urges that schools create a "safe and healthy environment in which all students" can learn.

Well, no one is against that. But using anti-gay violence as the hook to gain sympathy, the pamphlet offers a highly biased set of "facts" about how the gay orientation develops, and about the supposed futility, even danger, of programs (usually run by Christian ministries) aimed at reversing homosexual inclinations.

Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, describes the impact of the booklet as "history-changing," and declares that gays "need to receive support from their schools. They need to receive affirmation."

And there you have it. This is not about tolerance. It is about affirmation. Anyone who believes that homosexuality is to be tolerated but not encouraged is smeared as a bigot, and now, the public schools, in the name of violence prevention, are to become cheerleaders for gay liberation.

There is much at stake in this battle -- but most of the skirmishes take place out of sight. A few years back, under pressure from gay groups, the major American psychological groups withdrew homosexuality as a mental disorder. Now, they are beating the drums for "affirmation."

The left moves methodically and relentlessly. Concerned parents should visit their children's schools, and demand to see the sex education curriculum. There is no other way.

JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.

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© 2000, Creators Syndicate