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Calif. Paper Defends Running Gay=AIDS Op-Ed

Calif. Paper Defends Running Gay=AIDS Op-Ed


Phillip Lee, the "ex-gay" executive director of His Way Out Ministries, wrote an opinion piece in Sunday's Bakersfield Californian that claims being gay "is [a] severe threat to the sanctity of life."

Lee claims to be formerly gay. His Bakersfield-based ministry is focused on those who are "sexually broken." Writing in the Californian, the HIV-positive Lee writes that being gay is dangerous. "If the sexual behavior that is fundamental to most homosexual practice constitutes the primary means of transmitting such disease," Lee writes, "then it only makes sense for society to do all it can to decrease such behavior, which ultimately protects the sanctity of life."

Lee probably didn't read the study that found only 37% of gay men recently engaged in anal sex, nor is likely well-versed in the fact that the majority of new HIV transmissions in China originate from heterosexual sex.

Regardless of Lee's fatally-flawed argument, Californian editorial page editor Robert Price defended his paper's right to run it, saying the newspaper has run numerous articles and editorials in favor of gay rights. Price's statement is below:

"We thought Phillip Lee's perspective as a 'former homosexual' who happens to be HIV-positive, and who lost several friends to AIDS, gave him some standing on the issue, dubious and antiquated as his views might have been. We also thought our consistent editorial positions on gay rights would mean something here...

We do publish opinions we don't agree with ourselves. When we choose to do so, we are almost always pleased to see perspectives of dubious merit answered thoughtfully by others in the community, with the result being a more complete understanding of the issues. I am certain that is happening in this case.

We are committed to portraying the important debates of our time in as balanced and complete a manner as possible, and we are committed to maintaining an editorial voice that stands up for what is just and right -- especially when the issue has an answer that comes straight out of the U.S. Constitution. Our record supports that commitment.

We have already published several letters in response to Lee's op-ed (some also taking us to task for publishing it in the first place) and will publish several more, and we have invited GLAAD to write an op-ed on the subject. Our original thinking here was that we wanted to encourage some conversation on this topic. Well, I guess we succeeded."

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