Breaking: anti-gay N.C. Senator Forrester falsifies credentials – and an open letter to the lawmaker (w/updates)
UPDATE: Equality NC responds; Chapel Hill Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt calls for Forrester’s resignation ; WRAL picks up the story (“As of 10:00 tonight, the accreditation has not been deleted from either his campaign website or his profile on the Gaston County GOP site.”) and QNotes also has an update.
NOTE FROM PAM: It’s sad that a lawmaker, namely North Carolina State Senator James Forrester, is so blinded by ignorance and bigotry that he embarrasses himself — and his cause (to amend the state’s constitution so that NC recognizes the “only domestic legal union” in the state as a marriage between a man and a woman). He went on the air with Mike Signorile, who asked Forrester to cite his “facts” – something mainstream media almost always fails to do with these bigots — and lo and behold, the lawmaker scrambled and came up with a goose egg.
Equality supporter Scott Rose has written an open letter to the Senator, and exposes the fact that Forrester, also a physician, lied repeatedly during that broadcast — and is also peddling false credentials about his qualifications. The Blend has the correspondence with the American College of Preventive Medicine, where Forrester claims to be a Fellow. Let’s just say the ACPM was not happy to hear what the lawmaker is pimping about himself.
As a regular contributor to the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, I write to you — (while simultaneously addressing voters in North Carolina) — as a duty of conscience.
You have proposed an amendment to the Constitution of North Carolina that, if approved by anti-gay voters, would write anti-gay discrimination into the Constitution. Your proposed amendment presents a textbook example of what political scientists refer to as “the tyranny of the majority.” Through a separation of powers, most democratic societies successfully avoid being afflicted by a tyranny of the majority. When you speak contemptuously of judges who rule that existing laws against LGBT equality are discriminatory, you are expressing open disdain for the separation of powers in our political system. What you are saying is “I want a tyranny of the majority, so we can treat gay people as second-class citizens, and I don’t care what rational criticism anybody might make of it.”
I was dismayed recently to hear your radio interview with Mike Signorile. There is a strong appearance that although you are a licensed physician, you intentionally falsify health care information and health care statistics in a political context in order fraudulently to demonize LGBT human beings and to motivate anti-gay bigots to strengthen the currently pertaining sexual orientation apartheid in our society. Your behavior in that runs counter to medical ethics. And speaking of medical ethics, your online bios claim that you are a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, but today, ACPM officials told me that you are not a member, still less a Fellow, which is their highest level of distinction, and that they would be asking you to remove your phony claim from the internet. Apparently, your lack of integrity in talking dishonestly about gay human beings extends to claims you make about your professional medical associations. I sent an e-mail to your Senate address firstname.lastname@example.org giving you a chance to explain yourself, but you didn’t even give me the courtesy of a reply.
No decent person should be swayed by your malignant hostility against gay human beings, for you personally are exceedingly closed-minded and deceitful. I wonder if you have ever talked with the mother of a gay child who committed suicide after being endlessly and mercilessly bullied at school. I might recommend that you personally meet with Elke Kennedy, the surviving mother of Sean Kennedy, who was murdered by some thug who had grown up hearing your brand of hateful lies told against gay human beings. I sincerely doubt that you are man enough, or human enough, to look Elke Kennedy in the eyes and explain why you are hostile towards gay people.
I invite you to look around the world at which countries have LGBT equality, and which do not. Canada does; Saudi Arabia does not. Spain does; Uganda does not. Holland does; Iran does not. Each of those that does not, justifies the discrimination on religious grounds. That is to say, they are theocracies. In a theocracy, the religious impose their faith on the entire society by means of the government.
Imposing your religious views on other Americans by means of the government is unconstitutional, just as your lying about being a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine was unethical. I hereby call on you to spend every day between now and your May 2012 Bigot Ballot vote personally associating with long-term gay and/or lesbian couples in North Carolina. If you are going to snap an iron bear trap down on the civil rights of a social minority, making that minority bleed for you, you should at least have the decency to face your human victims and to learn who they really are.
You see, all of the irrational hate that you in your vile ignorance can dish out will not stop same-sex couples from making lives together. You read that right — what you are seeking to do is to ensure that loving, committed long-term same sex couples in your state are stigmatized with an inferior legal status that disadvantages them economically in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts.
Illicit powers, wielded over and against a social minority. Speaking as a regular contributor to the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, I am telling you that the phrase “Never again!” means that people of good conscience do not wait until unfair discrimination against a minority reaches its lowest imaginable point. “Never again!” means that wherever ignorance-fueled antipathy against a minority appears about to be enshrined into law, enlightened people refuse to allow the injustice to occur. Shame on you as a doctor for violating medical ethics by falsifying health care information to demonize a minority. Shame on you as a doctor for opposing equality, in an era when the American Medical Association unequivocally calls for marriage equality to become the law of the land.
10:45 PM ET: WRAL has picked up the story. Laura Leslie reports that “As of 10:00 tonight, the accreditation has not been deleted from either his campaign website or his profile on the Gaston County GOP site.”
* QNotes: Forrester falsifies medical credentials
American College of Preventative Medicine distances itself from anti-gay, N.C. lawmaker
UPDATE: from the comments, Forrester still peddles his phony credentials on his web site:
UPDATE 2: Equality North Carolina emailed this reaction:
Public Calls for Forrester Resignation After Anti-LGBT Amendment Sponsor Falsifies Medical Credentials
9/29/2011 – An outraged public called today for the resignation of Gaston County state Sen. James Forrester (R), the lead sponsor of the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, after it was revealed that he had falsified his medical credentials.
News of the falsified credentials prompted a flurry of online commentators to call for Forrester to step down from his N.C. Senate seat, including Chapel Hill Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt. In sharing Qnotes’ account of the incident, the openly-gay Mayor Kleinshmidt tweeted that Forrester should simply: “RESIGN NOW.”
“Sen. Forrester’s falsification of his credentials is indicative of the very anti-LGBT falsehoods he’s made it his job to circulate for almost a decade,” Mayor Kleinschmidt told Equality NC. “Given the egregiousness of his most recent claims about gay and lesbian people paired with the latest findings that he misrepresented his own biography, I’d say it’s clear he’s unfit for the job he was actually elected for: to represent North Carolinians with honesty, dignity and respect.”
The news broke this morning in an open letter to Sen. Forrester posted at Pam’s House Blend, where contributor Scott Rose detailed misrepresentations in the lawmaker’s online bio claiming he is a “Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine” (ACPM). The ACPM told Rose that Forrester is not, in fact, a Fellow (their highest level of distinction), nor even a member of the organization, prompting Association officials to speak out and seek action.
“The quick answer to your questions is that Dr. Forrester is not, and never has been, a member of ACPM (much less a Fellow, which is our highest designation of membership),” wrote Michael A. Barry, executive director of the organization. “However, this is troubling to us, too, that he’s apparently claiming to be a Fellow of ACPM, and we would like to know where Dr. Forrester is making these proclamations so that we can approach him and demand that he cease falsely using ACPM credentials in his campaign or wherever else he’s using it. If you can point us to some places where he’s using those credentials, we’d be most appreciative.”
According to Qnotes, Rose pointed ACPM in the direction of a Gaston County Republican Party web page containing Forrester’s bio in which the supposed credential was listed. Click here to see a screenshot of the page. The bio page is still available online and still includes the false information. The false information also appears on Forrester’s campaign website (screenshot).
Sen. Forrester’s latest false representation caps a week full of controversy surrounding the anti-LGBT amendment sponsor. On September 27, the anti-LGBT amendment sponsor appeared on Sirius/XM’s “Michelangelo Signorile Show,” where he repeatedly refused to answer questions about recent claims made at a town hall in Gaston County during which the trained medical doctor asserted–among other falsehoods–that gays and lesbians had shorter lifespans.
“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Sen. Forrester would misrepresent his medical qualifications as he and other sponsors of this harmful amendment have so consistently misrepresented the harms it represents for our state,” said Alex Miller, interim executive director of Equality North Carolina. “The truth of the matter is that every major public health organization in this country, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly oppose amendments like this because of the harms they pose to individuals, families and children, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Forrester and his wife Mary Francis, the associate state director of the North Carolina chapter of Concerned Women for America (CWA)—a group described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of a “dozen major groups [that] help drive the religious right’s anti-gay crusade”—have been steadfast proponents of anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina.
This strategy of avoiding the truth was also exposed in a recent CWA post in which Mary Frances Forrester warned ultra-conservative amendment supporters of certain language to avoid “at all costs.” This language included using the phrase, “ban same-sex marriage,” despite the fact that banning same-sex marriage is precisely what the anti-LGBT amendment would do, in addition to also banning civil unions and domestic partnerships. Mrs. Forrester wrote, “(Saying ‘ban same-sex marriage’) causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls. Don’t use it. Say we’re against ‘redefining marriage’ or in favor of ‘marriage as the union of husband and wife’ NEVER ‘banning same-sex marriage.’”
For the past eight years, Sen. Forrester has led the charge for an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment that would ban marriage, prohibit civil unions and strip domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. The measure’s placement on the May 2012 ballot was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature on Sept. 13.