Mike Haley, chairman of the board of Exodus International and a spokesman for Focus on the Family, fumed at CBS Aug. 21 for “The Amazing Race,” a show that had the gall to include among its contestants a gay couple that considers itself married for life.
“Why can’t they say they’re married?” a CBS spokeswoman said when conservative activists protested the show’s premiere. “What’s the difference?”
The difference, of course, is that they aren’t really married. At least not in any sense that any U.S. court or state recognizes. Despite Vermont’s civil-unions law, despite some outside-the-mainstream churches that perform “commitment ceremonies” for gay and lesbian couples, the fact is that honest-to-goodness marriage remains reserved for one man and one woman in this country.
Haley’s comment demonstrated considerable disrespect for church-based definitions of marriage and a contempt for gay monogamy.
Haley’s resentment toward gay couples quickly turned to outright distortions of history:
You’ve heard, no doubt, that 10 percent of the population is gay or lesbian, right? A fabrication born when a study by sex researcher Alfred Kinsey was misquoted. In fact, in a brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, a challenge to the state’s sodomy law, a coalition of 31 pro-gay groups admitted that “the most widely accepted study of sexual practices in the United States,” the National Health and Social Life Survey, “found that 2.8% of the male, and 1.4% of the female, population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”
Some gay activists have been quoting percentages in the vicinity of 3 percent for years. Does Haley actually listen to activists before criticizing them?
So why do gay activists continue to quote the larger number? Ask one of them, Bruce Voeller….
A colleague points out to me that Voeller died in 1994. Haley’s suggestion that we ask Voeller is, well, morbidly curious.
Ask one of them, Bruce Voeller, who wrote in his book, “Some Uses and Abuses of the Kinsey Scale”: “After years of our educating those who inform the public and make its laws, that concept that 10 percent of the population is gay has become generally accepted as ‘fact.’ … As with so many pieces of knowledge and myth, repeated telling it made it so.”
Another colleague points out that Voeller wrote no such book. There is a seven-page article of that title in an anthology published by the Kinsey Institute — “Homosexuality/Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation” — but no book.
It would appear, at best, that Haley did not actually read the article that he quoted. And in fact a misquote is just what it was. In the above excerpt, Haley removes parentheses and part of two sentences.
Here is what Voeller originally said:
“In any case, after years of our educating those who inform the public and
make its laws, the concept that 10% of the population is gay has become a
generally accepted “fact.” While some reminding always seems necessary, the 10%
figure is regularly utilized by scholars, by the press and in government
statistics. As with so many pieces of knowledge (and myth), repeated telling made it
so — incredible as the notion was to the world when the Kinsey group first put
forth its data or decades later when the Gay Movement pressed that data into
My colleague reports that, as the author repeatedly made clear in his article, Voeller himself accepted the 10 percent figure as accurate, but that it was repeated insistence of the fact by gays that made the media accept it as a fact.
Haley proceeded further into his tangle of strawman arguments:
Will repeated telling it make gay “marriage” so? That’s the activists’ hope.
Haley’s remark diminishes the value of religious same-gender marriages, selectively consigning religious values and covenants to a disrespected second-class status behind civil marriage.
How so? Gay religious marriages exist, whether Haley likes it or not. They have existed for decades — in some faith traditions, for centuries — regardless of what Haley wants people to say. Haley hopes that civil authorities will continue to favor some faith traditions over others indefinitely.
Moving on from his misquotion of Voeller, Haley expresses bitterness that gay people are achieving more social and religious respect than, say, polygamists. After all, if gay couples can live long, committed, monogamous lives, honor the religion of their choice, and live relatively free of discrimination in jobs and housing, then where’s the pressure to join Haley’s ideological pressure groups?
From his disappointment at the sight of gay couples surviving in America without Focus on the Family, Haley meanders into a character attack against the star of Bravo’s “Boy Meets Boy.”
There has been no mention of the lack of monogamy so prevalent in the gay culture. No mention of the devastating physical consequences that so often accompany such promiscuity. There have only been lots of good-looking, smiling men embracing the fun and frolic of the gay lifestyle.
This, of course, is a bald misrepresentation of the show, which depicts a man selecting — through the course of televised dating and relating — one other man to be his mate. Aside from the TV cameras, this is a rather ordinary thing among many gay men. Haley seems to be upset that so it was so ridiculously easy for Bravo to find gay men who are not “promiscuous.”
Haley’s closing quote ironically describes his own reaction to gay social equality, demographics, and media coverage:
“Yet another half-truth crafted to promote a political agenda.”
Haley was speaking on behalf of Focus on the Family. Nevertheless, it is surprising that Exodus permits its chairman to publicly get his facts so wrong, and to express a public mood of unhappiness and resentment euphemistically described as “ministry.”