In March 2001, Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan declared that upwards of 50 percent of gay relationships are beset by domestic violence — and that, each year, 650,000 incidents of same-sex domestic violence occur.
In order to find that statistic, Glenn had to overlook 12 years of developing research that suggests a gay domestic violence rate not much higher than among heterosexuals.
Instead, Glenn cited a 1991 book, "Men Who Beat The Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence," by Patrick Letellier and David Island. The book was written before any substantive research on the subject had been done. The authors conjectured that, since men might be more prone to violence than women, putting two men together might result in a higher rate of domestic violence. Island and Letellier extrapolated from data on heterosexuals and took a wild guess that there might be as many as 350,000 to 650,000 incidents per year.
Glenn cited only the 650,000 number, made a 1991 wild guess sound like a current statistical fact, and calculated that such a quantity might be 50,000 times higher than the FBI’s sketchy annual counts of hate crimes.
In essence, Glenn sought out an extreme number, misleadingly attributed it to Island and Letellier, and then broadcast the fabrication as far as he could.
Just one month ago, the Culture and Family Institute and Focus on the Family resurrected Glenn’s fabrications and rebroadcast them as evidence that hate crimes are committed by homosexuals against homosexuals, not by gay-bashers. To date, the following organizations have published the fabrications.
Traditional Values Coalition (PDF brochure)
Web Today (Conservative News)
According to Google, Dr. Judith Reisman repeats the distortion frequently. On the page linked above, she carefully bypasses key phrases when she quotes from the Island-Letellier book. Reisman’s hatchet jobs have been published by the ex-gay Abiding Truth Ministries, the Catholic Family Association, Fr. Rich Perozich (spiritual adviser to Courage RC), and Pat Robertson’s Regent University.
Patrick Letellier refuted Glenn’s fabrications, but I find no corrections or apologies issued by those who have distorted Letellier’s work.
By Patrick Letellier
My name is Patrick Letellier, and I am one of two "prominent homosexual activists and researchers" whose work on same-sex domestic violence has been widely cited — and, I hasten to add, grossly distorted — by Gary Glenn, President of the Michigan American Family Association (AFA). I write today to set the record straight, so to speak. …
Letellier’s response should be required reading for the tolerance movement, as well as the religious right.
For those who wish to read some current research for themselves:
Letellier cites reports on gay domestic violence issued by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects. They are available here.
For the sake of contrast: The American Public Health Association published a study in December 2002 on battering among "men who have sex with men" — not always gay couples, and not lesbians. The study abstract is available here; articles that refer to the study are listed here.)