Far right issues hypothetical Barney Frank interview

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 07 2003 12:00 AM ET

The far-right group Concerned Women for America has published a hypothetical interview with openly gay U.S. representative Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, regarding Sen. Rick Santorum's recent comments comparing homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery. The "interview," initially titled, "How to Answer Barney Frank on the Santorum Issue," is apparently meant to help their members debate the many charges that comparisons such as those made by Santorum are antigay.

After reading the "interview," Frank issued a statement saying he thought he fared pretty well in the debate. "Even in this format, in which they make up the questions and provide the answers, the Concerned Women for American don't seem to me to do very well in the debate," he said. "I am reminded of the hapless candidate who debated an empty chair and lost the debate."

Frank added, "Since I have in fact debated right-wing representatives on this issue on several occasions recently, with transcripts available from TV shows, it is telling that they eschew the use of what I've actually said in favor of debating me by imputing to me a variety of things that they have made up. I am impressed at least by their self-knowledge--they seem to realize that reality is not something they are good at."

The piece has now been retitled "How to Answer Liberals on the Rick Santorum Controversy." The transcript of CWA's hypothetical interview follows:

LIBERAL: Isn't Senator Santorum comparing gays to people who practice incest?
ANSWER: Sen. Santorum was making a legal point, which is that if the Supreme Court strikes down a state law governing private, consensual sex, then any law dealing with that is in jeopardy. He was not weighing particular offenses against one another. Democratic appointee Justice Byron White made the same point in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986).

LIBERAL: Trent Lott once compared gay people to kleptomaniacs. Isn't Sen. Santorum doing the same thing?
ANSWER: No. Trent Lott was right about the nature of addictions, including sexual addiction, but this is different. Sen. Santorum was rightly pointing out that removing the state's ability to regulate any private sexual conduct would mean legalizing incest, bigamy, and--here's one he didn't say, but would be likely--prostitution. No community can survive without marriage and families, and families cannot thrive in sexual anarchy. I'd like to see you explain to the wrecked generations down the road why we removed even the most sensible restraints and incentives to channel sex into marriage.

LIBERAL: But gay people can't get married. Does this mean you support gay marriage?
ANSWER: Two men or two women don't make a marriage. Or three people, for that matter. You're talking about a counterfeit. Marriage is the joining of the two sexes. And marriage loses when we create counterfeits. Given the high divorce rate and its destructive consequences, we should be strengthening marriage, not creating substitutes. Also, the state has no business creating incentives for people to continue being trapped in destructive or immoral behavior. That's anything but compassionate.

LIBERAL: Some states criminalize sodomy even between a married couple. Do you think a married couple ought to be thrown in jail for what they do in bed?
ANSWER: The Texas law is specific to homosexuality because, Congressman, the marital bed is sacrosanct. What a husband and wife do is none of the state's business, unless they take it outdoors. But because sex outside marriage is so harmful and destructive, particularly homosexual sex, it is the state's business to lay down markers based on public health and morality. That's why we have laws against prostitution, incest, and bigamy. This behavior hurts not only individuals but also communities.

LIBERAL: But some states criminalize oral sex between married people. I ask you again, would you have them jailed?
ANSWER: It's not up to me or you, Congressman. It's up to the people to decide where the lines are drawn, based on public health and morality. The medical data are clear: Homosexual sex is profoundly unhealthy, leading to an increased risk of AIDS, human papillomavirus, hepatitis A, B, and C, syphilis, gonorrhea, "gay bowel syndrome," tearing of the rectum, and other consequences.

LIBERAL: But do you personally believe that oral sex is wrong, even for a married couple? Answer the question!
ANSWER: You know, Congressman, you might have a keen interest in sitting here discussing various sex acts, but I don't. This is a legal, political, and social question.

LIBERAL: You mentioned morality. Whose morality? Yours? Mine?
ANSWER: How about Nature's morality, or if you will, God's, which is universal. Natural law says that homosexual sodomy is unhealthy, immoral, and dangerous, which is why societies all over the world have discouraged it. But in our democratic system, the people set the rules. If the Supreme Court decides that Texans can't take public health and morality into effect when making laws, it will be an act of tyranny.

LIBERAL: There, you brought up God. You're trying to impose your views on me, and that's why I take it personally.
ANSWER: Again, it's not up to you or me. Or a court. The people should decide these issues, not a few judges. Courts have too much power and need to be curbed. If the people of Texas want to scrap the law, that's their business. But they have every right to keep it, too.

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