In an Advocate.com article posted April 29, Prof. Warren Throckmorton says he doesn’t believe that Concerned Women for America, the Illinois Family Institute, or Stephen Bennett put direct pressure on Magellan Health Services to restore his seat on a national advisory board.
“I certainly didn’t ask groups to call or to mount an effort,” he told Southern Voice.
But direct pressure on Magellan is not the central issue.
The issue is whether Prof. Throckmorton should have known that if contacted, far-right political organizations would use the media to initiate public pressure against Magellan. And did Throckmorton discourage a media campaign, or did he allow it to occur unimpeded?
In other words, is Throckmorton sincere in pursuing academic integrity and preventing the political misuse of his celebrity, or does he give a wink and a nudge to antigay extremists?
Throckmorton told the Advocate that he believes not all gay people can change their same-sex attraction:
“It does happen with some people, but I don’t think it’s true of everyone I see or everyone who is homosexual,” he says. When asked if he urges all gay people to seek such therapy, Throckmorton says, “No. It’s not something I advocate for all gay people. Only those who seek it.”
But this admission seems to be absent in the religious-right media and exgay press releases that regularly quote Throckmorton. Does the professor stop cooperating with far-right groups that turn his balanced statements into half-truths — or does he repeatedly offer a factoid, a wink and a nudge to groups willing to tell half-truths about sexual orientation?
Beyond the immediate dispute over antigay bias at Magellan, there are broader concerns for me, which remain unaddressed.
I have some fair, balanced, and straightforward questions for Throckmorton.
Prof. Throckmorton, do you…
- support or oppose the inclusion of sexual orientation in existing antidiscrimination laws relating to multifamily nonreligious housing, large secular employers, and public services?
- support or oppose the recriminalization and prosecution of sex between consenting adults of the same gender?
- support or oppose antibullying programs in the public schools that respect freedom of speech and religion while promoting civil disagreement, nonviolence and nonintimidation among people who disagree with one another?
- support or oppose stereotyping and sweeping defamation by Exodus and PFOX against gay people’s divergent religious, political, and moral beliefs?
- support or oppose the separation of secular policy making and law from the belief and practice of a specific religion or faith?
- support or oppose access to civil unions, recognized by state and federal governments, for gay couples who determine that change is not possible for them?
- support or oppose the legality of adoption or foster care by lesbian and gay couples?
- believe that conservative media reports on exgays should make clear that many or most same-sex-attracted individuals cannot change their attractions/orientation from primarily homosexual to primarily heterosexual?
Whatever the answers to these questions, it appears that the Magellan panel is now balanced: Southern Voice reports that the panel includes members who oppose Throckmorton’s views.
Whether that balance is between equally valid gay-tolerant and exgay therapeutic viewpoints — or between one side’s good science and another side’s shady politics — will remain a matter of debate.