“Snake Oil” vs. Responsible Information

Presented at Sunstone in August of 1999

By Gary M. Watts, M.D.

One of my close friends asked me just last week where I had come up with the title for this presentation. It really goes back to an interview that our gay son had with Channel 4 two or three years ago. In explaining the evolution of his coming to grips with his homosexuality, he told the interviewer that he delayed his decision to serve a mission for the LDS Church for 10 months because he was in such inner turmoil about how to deal with his same-sex attractions. He decided to serve an LDS mission after much contemplation in what he hoped would be a final effort to rid himself of the “demon” with which he had struggled for the preceding four or five years. He served an honorable mission, but returned with his same sex-attractions undiminished. He then determined that it would be his secret, that it was something he could never divulge to anyone, but circumstances got in the way. There were at least two young women that were romantically interested in him and from the outside it appeared that he would marry one of them and live happily ever after. I particularly liked one of the young ladies and, being completely unaware of his homosexuality, began encouraging him to marry her. He knew that he could not marry either one because of his same-sex attraction and he could not think of a good reason to tell them why other than to tell them the truth. As he revealed his feelings to one of them, he made her promise not to tell a single soul because he feared that if the information got out, it would destroy him. They cried together and then she asked him if he had read anything about homosexuality. “Do you have any information about it?” she asked. When he replied that he did not, she said to him, “Craig, that doesn’t seem like you. You need to get some responsible information.” And he said to himself, “Why haven’t I done that? Why haven’t I read one single thing about homosexuality?” Shortly afterward, he decided to go to the Orem library. He described the trip in the following way: “The library was a wreck. There were very few books on homosexuality and I don’t respect the books that were there anymore now that I have more information.”

Later that month he told us of his dilemma and the next few years were a gradual process of coming out, gleaning responsible information and becoming more comfortable with his homosexuality.

I very much want to emphasize the importance of responsible information, because there is a plethora of irresponsible information in our communities. Information that, for the purposes of this talk, I will refer to as “snake oil”. The early west was plagued by itinerant salesmen who would travel from town to town and make outlandish claims for a product they were selling. Before their claims could be refuted or proven false, they would move on to the next town, always one step ahead of their dissatisfied customers who experienced none of the promised miracles. Many of these charlatans employed shills who would offer testimonials to verify the claims. “Snake oil” was one of those popular all-purpose remedies that these salesmen hawked. Such peddlers have been lumped together as “snake oil” salesmen. Their preposterous claims lacked scientific credibility and eventually resulted in such a clamor that our current Food and Drug Administration was organized to police and license these individuals so they could no longer defraud the citizenry.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have wished we had a similar organization to police information dispensed about homosexuality. In the absence of such an organization, I’m going to identify some of the information that I don’t respect and tell you why I consider it to be like that ineffectual, old fashioned “snake oil.”

This talk is my third public address on homosexuality. My first talk, entitled “Mugged by Reality,” was presented at this conference two years ago and was just published in Sunstone. The second talk, entitled “The Logical Next Step: Sanctioning and Affirming Same-sex Relationships,” was given at the Sunstone Symposium last fall and has been accepted for publication in the fall issue of Dialogue. This talk, which I have entitled “Snake Oil vs. Responsible Information,” is intended to build on and reinforce the premises articulated in the previous talks.

Those premises, which I spelled out in “Mugged by Reality,” represent my own conclusions about homosexuality after almost ten years of intensive study. I think those premises are worth reiterating today, because they have not changed and are unlikely to do so. I find that knowledge of these basic premises is necessary when studying and trying to come to an understanding of same-sex attraction.

The five basic truths are as follows:

  1. Homosexuality occurs in a small, finite percentage of human beings and other mammalian species. It has always been present and will continue to be so.
  2. The causes of homosexuality are complex and are not completely understood.
  3. Homosexuality is rarely chosen.
  4. Homosexuality is not amenable to significant change. By this, I mean the same-sex attraction or the “core” longings.
  5. Homosexuality is morally neutral.

Is homosexuality a normal biologic variant? Its consistent presence in almost every mammalian species that has been studied lends strong support for a biologic connection. The general agreement among researchers that sexual orientation is set very early in life, most will say no later than four years of age, also suggests a biologic component. The most compelling argument that homosexuality simply occurs and is not chosen, however, is the testimony of those with same-sex attraction. While many people do not consider homosexuals to be valid witnesses for their own feelings, I do. I have yet to meet a gay man who says that he chose to be gay.

Why do people have such a difficult time believing that humans with same-sex attraction, just like swans, panda bears, and other mammals, do not choose the attraction, but that it simply occurs? Because they begin with the premise that homosexuality is immoral in humans and try to construct their own reality on that premise. Is homosexuality immoral for swans and panda bears? Interesting, yes; immoral? I’ll let you make the call. The debate about whether or not homosexuals choose to be homosexual finds its genesis in such nonsense.

I might add, however, that gays and lesbians do have to make a choice: whether being homosexual is something to deny or acknowledge. Increasing numbers are choosing to acknowledge their homosexuality. While this makes some people uncomfortable, I think it is a healthy choice. The willingness of more and more homosexuals and their families to openly acknowledge their homosexuality is the prime source of so much public dialogue we are experiencing at the present time. This premise is vehemently opposed by many religions, and is the subject of considerable debate as evidenced by the recent advertising barrage in the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today. This advertising is sponsored by the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council, encouraging homosexuals to seek “cures” for their homosexuality through Christian faith. More about that later.

We see the same line of reasoning applied to whether or not people can change their sexual orientation. People begin with the premise that it is sinful to engage in sex with someone of the same sex and try to construct their own reality on that basis. It is assumed that homosexuals are not capable of having a moral relationship with someone to whom they are naturally attracted, and therefore, they should change, and must be able to change. The concept that the morality of the relationship should be determined by the way the relationship is conducted, rather than by who is involved in the relationship is simply ignored.

The belief that homosexual behavior in humans is immoral is deeply engrained in our citizenry. At the same time, people recognize homosexuals exist and are entitled to live their lives free of discrimination and harassment. This creates a moral dilemma for many and has sparked considerable debate.
In an article in the NY Times entitled “The Homosexual Exception,” February 8, 1998, Alan Wolfe, author of the recently published book, “One Nation, After All,” make the following observations:

If we listen to pundits and politicians, we get the impression that Americans are fighting a culture war. Some people are presumed to be moral traditionalists: they have an abiding faith in God, country and family and long for the days when morality was absolute and virtue predominant. Others, by contrast, are said to be modern, even post modern, in their moral outlook: they accept a more secular America, welcome the fact that families are no longer patriarchal and think that our society has improved because one group can no longer impose its conception of the good life on any other.

Wolfe found them instead divided within themselves; most people want to be traditional and modern at the same time. They honor God, family and country, yet they also want to be fair-minded and to accommodate themselves to the realities of contemporary America. Yet Wolfe also found that there is one exception to America’s persistent and ubiquitous nonjudgmentalism. However much they are willing to accept anything, most of the middle class Americans were not prepared to accept homosexuality.

“The furthest most people were willing to go in the direction of toleration was to say that while they did not like homosexuality, gay people deserved respect because all people deserve respect. Some simply refused to discuss the subject… Still others, ever reluctant to use a word that implies a judgment about someone else’s behavior, had no trouble finding these words, all of which cropped up in Wolfe’s interviews when the subject of homosexuality was raised: ‘abnormal,’ ‘immoral,’ ‘sinful,’ ‘unacceptable,’ ‘sick,’ ‘unhealthy,’ ‘untrustworthy,’ ‘mentally ill,’ ‘wrong,’ ‘perverted,’ and ‘mentally deficient.’ In all likelihood, Americans are less homophobic than they were before the gay rights revolution, but middle-class Americans have not come to the conclusion that homosexuality represents an alternative that is the moral equal of any other.”

It would be folly for me to attempt to address all of the myth and misinformation that you will hear about homosexuality. Instead, I will tackle five major issues and relate them back to our original premises. The five issues I will discuss are recruitment, the wisdom of sanctioning same-sex relationships, the need for inclusion of sexual orientation in our anti-discrimination statutes, the inappropriate linkage of homosexuality to virulent crimes in an attempt to condemn all homosexual people, and conversion or reparative therapy.

The first issue I would like to talk about is recruitment. Many parents believe that gays and lesbians actively recruit their children to the gay community, hence their aversion to having gays and lesbians in positions of responsibility or as role models. I have a very good friend in Orem whose daughter is a lesbian. Nothing I say will ever convince her that her daughter was not recruited to the gay community by her present partner, whom my friend considers to be immoral. She sees her daughter as a victim. As a good person who has been beguiled by the serpent – which in her case is represented by the entire gay community.

My friend refuses to recognize the incongruity between her conclusions about her daughter’s homosexuality and the basic premises we have articulated. Because she remains convinced that homosexuality is immoral, that it is abhorrent, and that it should be actively shunned and opposed she is unable to accept any information, which suggests the opposite. It should come as no surprise that, despite her daughter’s involvement, you will not find her in the forefront of gay rights activism. To believe that gays “recruit,” one has to reject all of the first four premises, and assume that same-sex attraction does not occur naturally, but is a result of seduction or abuse, an assertion that is simply not supported by scientific research.

Let me recount with you the Bresnahan story. Representative David Bresnahan stated publicly on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives in 1995 that his young brother, who has since died of AIDS, became homosexual because he was sexually abused by his scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster in his early teens. He further asserted that 21 other boys in the scout troop were similarly abused and that “through checking with one another” it had become apparent that most were homosexual. It was his contention that this story confirms the fact that homosexuals “recruit” and force these young people into a “homosexual lifestyle.” He used this story as a basis for his opposition to the gay-straight alliance at East High School.

Having considerable faith in the five premises already cited, I offered to pay $10,000 to any charity of Representative Bresnahan’s choosing if he could document his claim. As you may have guessed, such documentation was never forthcoming. In fact, the story was debunked by a former troop mate and by the retired pastor of the Evangelical Congregational Church who ministered to the Bresnahan family for 20 years during the time of the alleged abuse and recruitment. The story was pure and simple “snake oil”. Unfortunately, a great many people believed it.

Every human being I know does some “recruiting,” so to speak. We groom and dress ourselves in order to appeal to others. When we interact with someone we are attracted to physically, we treat him or her with special kindness and consideration. But if a more intimate relationship is to develop there must be a mutual interest. The attraction, the interest, and the feelings precede the relationship. Do gay people have an ability to create same-sex attraction in someone who is straight? Do gay teachers create same-sex attraction in their students? No. The idea that gay individuals can somehow induce same-sex attraction in others is more of that bitter tasting “snake oil.” Go back to the basics. Homosexuality occurs in nature. The orientation, the same-sex interest, is established early in life, is rarely chosen, and is not amenable to significant change.

The second major category of “snake oil” that I want to discuss involves the rhetoric being expounded by so many who are opposed to the sanctioning and affirming of same-sex relationships. Is there anyone here who has not heard a statement along the lines of the following?

I am not homophobic. I have many gay friends. I oppose discrimination. But, if we begin to sanction same-sex relationships it will ultimately lead to the destruction of the “traditional” family and traditional marriage. Therefore, gay people should not have their committed relationships affirmed by the state.

This uneducated argument is near the top of my irresponsible information, or “snake oil” list. There is no evidence other than conjecture to support this rhetoric. In fact, there is credible scientific evidence that rather than destroying the “traditional” family and “traditional” marriage, the sanctioning of same-sex relationships does not significantly alter either, yet generally alleviates the tension that exists between gays and straights in societies.

Case in point: Denmark, after considerable debate and with fierce opposition from religious groups, which prophesied the same dire consequences we hear about today in America, legalized registered partnerships for same-sex couples in 1989. So what has been their experience? According to a published report in the Wall Street Journal, (June 8, 1994) “even opponents say ’89 law resulted in no social ills” The article goes on to say that “some who were skeptics now acknowledge their concerns may have been overblown.” “We were anxious about it,” says Bishop Vincent Lind of Denmark’s Lutheran Church, which doesn’t yet allow official church weddings of homosexual couples. “The consequence of the law has, in fact, been good.” Now that they have equal rights to marry, he believes, gay men and lesbians have become less militant. There was a tendency of demonstrating everywhere and every time. But to the contrary since then, there is no sensation. They are quite normal. “We’re past the debate that it’s a threat to the community,” says the Rev. Margrete Auken, a Lutheran minister and former member of Parliament who voted for the same-sex marriage law. “That’s an American debate, not a Danish debate. We don’t think in Denmark that you can make anyone homosexual who is not homosexual.”

Many Americans believe that conventional morality is eroding. Homosexuality has become the symbol and scapegoat of this supposed erosion. I say supposed because I honestly believe that we are a more just, more moral society today than we were in the fifties. Civil rights have been expanded and ignorant prejudices diminished. Nevertheless, opposition to the sanctioning of same-sex relationships has become the rallying cry for the Christian right. It seems not to have occurred to many that the lack of validation of these relationships is contributing to the very erosion of conventional morality that they are committed to saving.

As Andrew Sullivan queries in a recent article in “The New Republic,”

What, I wonder, would happen among straights if marriage didn’t exist, if, indeed, domestic partnership didn’t exist, if their relationships were accorded no public recognition and acknowledgement, their children no legal rights to their parents, their commitment to each other no moral or social support? I have no doubt would happen . . .. Social chaos. But the incentives believed essential for one segment of the society (the straight segment, the heterosexual majority) are to be ruled out of bounds for another. There is only one explanation for this . . . . . gay men and women are considered so beneath and beyond the concern of real society that it is incumbent upon them to merely echo the stigmas that perpetuate their exclusion.

You tell me. Which information is responsible and which is “snake oil?” If you were in a regulatory position would you find speculation about the possible deleterious effects of same-sex unions persuasive or would you rely on the empirical evidence produced in a country that has sanctioned same-sex unions for almost 10 years? After 5 years of registering gay partnerships in Denmark, the dissolution rate of gay couples was less than that of heterosexual marriages performed during the same time. In reality, sanctioning same-sex relationships in the gay community promotes the very morality opponents suggest it will destroy.

Thoughtful people in the United States are exploring the possibility of sanctioning and affirming same-sex relationships. Earlier this month, a gubernatorial commission on the Rights and Responsibilities of Same-sex Relationships in Colorado has recommended that the state change its current laws to create a “legal framework” to recognize the establishment and registration of committed relationships. These relationships are defined by the commission as a relationship between two people of the same sex who affirm that they are not related by kinship, are of the legal age of consent and are not otherwise married or registered in another committed relationship. The commission strongly recommends that the state protect these relationships in the same manner it recognizes and protects married relationships. Using this definition, the state should extend certain rights and responsibilities to committed gay partners, the commission said. Such laws are intended to cover several issues including probate and inheritance, medical and health-related issues, contractual relationships, health insurance benefits, dissolution of relationships, privileged communications, workers compensation benefits, wrongful death benefits and other insurance issues. The commission seemed especially interested with the legalities involved with the children of gay and lesbian parents. “It is clearly in the best interest of society to provide children – including these children – with the most stable and nurturing environment possible,” the report said. The commission is concerned that children being raised in committed same-sex relationships are being deprived by laws that essentially allow these children to have only one legal parent.

The third issue I have chosen to address is the rhetoric we hear from those opposed to the inclusion of sexual orientation in our anti-discrimination statutes. The current controversy in the Salt Lake City Council has been interesting. Led by councilman Bryce Jolley, four of the seven council members have taken the position that gays and lesbians should not be included as a protected class in their anti-discrimination statute. Laws should outlaw discrimination against everyone, the city council says, and that to specify gays and lesbians somehow grants them a “special right.”

Had the Council familiarized themselves with the brief filed with the Supreme Court by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers in October, 1994, in the Colorado Amendment II hearing, they would have learned the following: (I’m quoting directly from that brief)

Gay people historically have been subject to intense prejudice and discrimination, both public and private . . . Indeed; “lesbians and gay males have been the object of some of the deepest prejudice and hatred in American society . . . . .. Intense prejudice against lesbians and gay men remains prevalent in contemporary American society. Public opinion studies of attitudes towards lesbians and gay men indicate that, among large segments of the public, gay people are the subject of strong antipathy. Verbal abuse is common. Discrimination against gay people in such critical areas as employment and housing remains lawful in most jurisdictions, and appears to be widespread. High rates of specifically anti-gay violence or “hate crimes” have been consistently documented.

With such strong documentation of this group as the target of intense prejudice and discrimination, it escapes me why anyone would object to specifically including them in an anti-discrimination statute. One can only conclude that some of the council members are either ignorant of the facts or subscribe to the same prejudice and discrimination so prevalent.

Contrast their position to that of Canada’s Supreme Court, which ruled in April of this year that the Canadian Province of Alberta’s human rights code must offer specific protection to homosexuals. The case arose because a 32-year-old lab instructor had been fired by a “Christian” college in Edmonton in 1991 because he was gay. That case closely parallels the Wendy Weaver case here in Utah.

In requiring the province to include specific protection for homosexuals, the Supreme Court had this to say. “Excluding homosexuals from the code sends a message to all Albertans that it is permissible, and perhaps acceptable, to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.” The high court further stated that “sexual orientation is a deeply ingrained personal characteristic that can’t be changed and is a ground for discrimination just like religion, race and gender.” I agree with Canada’s Supreme Court. Excluding gays and lesbians from the Salt Lake City code sends the wrong message to the citizens of Salt Lake City.

Much of the legal maneuvering currently extant revolves around the question, is homosexuality a status or a behavior? Was the Canadian Supreme Court correct in identifying sexual orientation as a deeply ingrained personal characteristic that can’t be changed? The majority of Americans still feel that homosexuality is chosen and is changeable, as seen in the University of Virginia’s Post-Modernity Project, 1996, which cites 47% who say it is chosen and 38% who say it is not. However, most of the legal decisions being made suggest that jurists and judges are persuaded that homosexuality is, indeed, a status, a deeply ingrained personal characteristic that can’t be changed, and not simply a behavior.

One is prompted to ask why judges tend to consider homosexuality a “status” whereas the general population considers homosexuality to be chosen, and therefore, a “behavior?”
Are judges inherently more liberal and less homophobic than the general population? I doubt it. I suggest that being in a position that requires them to hear both sides of the debate, they are in a better position to identify “responsible” information and discard the “snake oil.”

Right wing moralists now refer to those judges who have shown support for homosexuality as a “status” as “judicial allies of the gay agenda.” The legal questions of our gay community are generally Constitutional in nature, and when judges conclude that it is illegal and unconstitutional to deny equal rights to our gay and lesbian children, the response by the right wing has been to attempt to remove them from their judgeships or to change the constitution. It seems that the idea of giving basic constitutional rights to those who are viewed as immoral threatens the moral code of the Christian right. Their reluctance to reconsider the moral question seems to blind them to the truth of the first four premises already stated.

The “snake oil” of linking homosexuality to virulent crimes is particularly distasteful to me and is the fourth issue I wish to discuss. In a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Why It Matters,” William J. Bennett employs this technique. Mr. Bennett is our former Secretary of Education and author of “The Book of Virtues” and is currently a leading spokesman for those who support a public policy that discourages the sanctioning of same-sex relationships.

In the article to which I refer, Mr. Bennett has this to say:

Those who constantly invoke the sentiment of “Who are we to judge?” should consider the anarchy that would ensue if we adhered to this sentiment in, say, our courtrooms. What would happen if those sitting on a jury decided to be “nonjudgmental” about rapists and sexual harassers, embezzlers and tax cheats? Justice would be lost. Without being “judgmental,” Americans would never have put an end to slavery, outlawed child labor, emancipated women or ushered in the civil rights movement.

In this passage, Mr. Bennett utilizes rather egregious acts, repellent to everyone, which involve innocent victims: rape, sexual harassment, embezzlement, forced child labor, slavery and tax cheating, to marshal support for his own belief that any consensual sex outside the bonds of marriage, even for our gay and lesbian children who are currently not allowed to marry, is morally wrong and must be so judged by everyone. In other words, while the Savior told us to “judge not,” there are certainly exceptions. Perhaps we should refer to them as the “Bennett exceptions.” Since it is unclear who is being victimized in these consensual relationships, Mr. Bennett clarifies by linking these relationships to the flagrant crimes with which he artfully equates them. And in the process, this “man of virtues” can help you feel better about violating Christ’s commandment.

In the process of encouraging people to not only judge, but actively support legislation that would outlaw same-sex marriage, he links this type of judging to the abolition of slavery and child labor, the emancipation of women and the ushering in of the civil rights movement. Am I missing something here? It seems to me that all of these changes came about because we quit being judgmental. We quit judging blacks as inferior, we quit judging women as incapable of making their own choices, we quit judging ethnic groups, and the disabled as inferior and we began to see that all these groups deserve dignity and respect like all other citizens.

The fifth and mercifully, the last issue I would like to discuss today has to do with the propriety of conversion therapy. I mentioned earlier that some conservative organizations have recently placed a series of ads in several of our prominent newspapers encouraging homosexuals to seek a cure from their homosexuality through intensive counseling, will power and the help of God. The ads showcase a former lesbian who attributes her homosexuality to sexual abuse when she was four years of age, recounts her dissatisfaction with the “gay lifestyle” and tells of her ultimate conversion to heterosexuality and God’s forgiveness. The ads conclude by saying “thousands of ex-gays like these have walked away from their homosexual identities. For information on an ex-gay ministry in your area, please call…” Should we classify this ad as “heterosexual recruiting?”

I would simply ask three pertinent questions. (1) Which organizations are for and against change therapy? (2) Are there any clients who are unhappy with their heterosexual orientation who are presenting themselves as candidates to be changed to a homosexual orientation? and (3) Would you want your heterosexual son or daughter to marry someone who has identified themselves as having same-sex attraction and then claims to have changed their sexual orientation?

First, none of the professional organizations dealing with homosexuality recommend conversion therapy. Not only do they not recommend it, they actually discourage it. There are no accredited programs on reparative or conversion therapy being taught in any of our graduate schools in America.

The National Association of Social Workers has this to say:

Social stigmatization of lesbian, gay and bisexual people is widespread and is a primary motivating factor in leading some people to seek sexual orientation changes. Sexual orientation conversion therapies assume that homosexual orientation is both pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful. NASW believes social workers have the responsibility to clients to explain the prevailing knowledge concerning sexual orientation and the lack of data reporting positive outcomes with reparative therapy. NASW discourages social workers from providing treatments designed to change sexual orientation or from referring practitioners or programs that claim to do so.

The American Psychological Association responded to the ads with the following statement from Raymond Fowler, Executive Director:

For nearly three decades, it has been known that homosexuality is not a mental illness. Medical and mental health professionals also now know that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be altered. Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called “conversion therapy” are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.

It is inconceivable to me that all of the professional organizations would uniformly oppose reparative or conversion therapy if there were data to support its efficacy. One can only conclude that the “thousands of ex-gays” the reparative therapy supporters claim to have walked away from their homosexual identities have not been followed in a longitudinal study that has scientific credibility. When you re-examine the claim in conjunction with our five basic premises enumerated at the beginning of this presentation, it should come as no surprise to anyone.

Second, it almost goes without saying that therapists are not being inundated with clients seeking conversion to homosexuality. Why? Because homosexuality is not valued socially. If such a client did exist, would therapists seriously undertake an attempt to help him or her make such a conversion? Reorientation techniques would not exist if homosexuality were considered a normal, biological variation.

Third, the question about having your heterosexual son or daughter marry someone who has identified as gay, but claims to have changed is relevant. Those who are proponents of change therapy should be willing to answer that question with an empathic YES or they should get out of the business.

In closing, I would like to paraphrase the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963, for I, too, have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day Wendy Weaver, and Camille Lee, and Doug Wortham, and Clayton Vetter and many other gay teachers will be able to stand tall as persons of integrity and be judged as teachers on the merits of what takes place in their classroom, not on the basis of whom they choose to love. I have a dream that one day, all members of the Salt Lake City Council will see the need to say to its citizens: “prejudice and discrimination have no place in this city. Our gay brothers and sisters are valuable and welcome. They do not need to leave this city and go elsewhere to find acceptance. We will not tolerate gay bashing here.” I have a dream that one day our gay and lesbian children and brothers and sisters will be able to say, “I’m gay and it’s okay,” and not have to worry about suffering the injustice and indignities that too often accompany such an announcement today. I have a dream that one day our school boards and state legislatures will include responsible information in our school system about homosexuality and to distance themselves from the myth and misinformation that is too often allowed to go unchallenged and too often repeated. I have a dream that one day our gay children will be able to go to work for a company or a government agency that provides the same benefits for them as for their straight employees. I have a dream that one day their relationships will be sanctioned and affirmed not only by government agencies but also in the churches they choose to attend. This is my dream. I invite you to join with us in making it a dream come true.

May 2, 1998

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