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N.C. Senator Forrester’s office sends unprofessional, fact-challenged e-mail defending his anti-gay views

This reporter sent North Carolina (SB106) marriage amendment sponsor Senator James Forrester a number of questions regarding his attitudes pertaining to his SB106.  His legislative assistant Mona Fitzgerald said I should send my phone number so that Forrester could call me upon his return.  In reply, I said that all communications with Forrester had to be in writing. The next day, I received from Fitzgerald’s e-mail address an e-mail empty save for an attachment titled “Response Regarding Marriage Amendment.”  The attached document is addressed to “To Whom it May Concern,” and is not on the Senator’s letterhead and is not signed.  We have some concern that the Senator could be sending out communications this way, in order later to be able to deny that he had written them. Nonetheless, Forrester is a public servant accountable for the communications sent in his name from his office.

The received document is divided into three sections.  1) features Senator Forrester’s attempt to deflect accountability for his falsification(s) of his professional medical associations; 2) a referral to a 1997 article from the Journal of Epidemiology, which Senator/Doctor Forrester alleges proves that all homosexuals die twenty years prematurely; 3) a letter which legislative assistant Mona Fitzgerald said “has been referenced many times” regarding Forrester’s attitudes around Amendment 1.

That letter, which Forrester sends, apparently, to anybody who questions his facts and/or SB106 reads “In regard to your angry diatribe and personal slander to SB 106, I am also happy to respond.” Apparently, the Senator automatically characterizes all mail against SB106 as “angry diatribes.” This communication came from a state senator.  What is “personal slander to SB106“?

Forrester goes on to claim, incorrectly, that “the average life span of a homosexual is only 55 years as opposed to 78 years for a heterosexual.”  His wife Mary Frances Forrester has previously claimed that homosexuals on average only live to be 39.   Forrester’s false claim of life expectancy goes back to his reference to an article in the Journal of Epedemiology.  Where this reference occurs in the communication received from Forrester’s legislative assistant, the language suggests that he sent it to her, to insert it into the communciation.   “One reference,” the email says, “that might help stop the misinformation of inquiring parties is: Lifespan for ‘gay’ men lowered by up to 20 years: “Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men,”  Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 26, 657-661, 1997

Notice how Forrester accuses people asking him about his documentable falsehoods on homosexuals’  life expectancy of having “misinformation.”   For true misinformation, you need look no further than the reference Forrester provided to show that “Lifespan for ‘gay’ men lowered by up to 20 years.”  Notably, Forrester, or his legislative assistant, had to put ‘gay’ in scare quotes.  The date on the article tells you everything you need to know; 1997.  That is before the introduction of modern Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, through which the life expectancy of HIV positive people is approaching parity with general statistics. We are to believe that Senator Forrester, a physician, does not understand that a 1997 study of mortality in HIV patients does not represent state-of-the-art current research?  That study of HIV treatment outcomes is as relevant to actual HIV treatment outcomes today as yanking a tooth out with a string tied to a doorknob is to modern dentistry.  The question becomes, what are Forrester’s motives for using this outdated material in a political context aimed at reinforcing discrimination against gay human beings?

Even though Forrester promotes wrong life expectancy statistics, he explains that homosexuals only live on average to 55 “because there is no known cure for the related illness and disease from this abnormal form of coupling.” Please note that here, Forrester is generalizing as though all homosexuals have fatal STDs, that  nobody knows  about safe sex practices and there are no long-term gay couples in which both parties do not have HIV.  In his view all gay people as diseased.  He refers to their intimacy as an “abnormal form of coupling.” Read the American Medical Association’s Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation; notice that the AMA is opposed to all forms of anti-gay discrimination, and that Forrester, though purportedly a member of the AMA,  proposed SB106, a discriminatory amendment.

Forrester goes on to assert that gay Americans don’t need equal rights because they “already have them,” and alleges that anybody may live with whom they choose “under whatever arrangement and division of property they so decide.” Here is a very brief introduction to How DOMA Hurts Same Sex Couples.

Note that it is characteristic of abusers to minimize or even totally deny the harm they are doing to their victims. The harm that awaits tax-paying North Carolinians, should his amendment pass, is well-documented in Equality North Carolina‘s The Truth About the Discriminatory, Job-Killing, Harmful, Family-Unfriendly, Divisive, Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment.

Forrester talks about what “homosexual activists” want, with no regard for the  pro-equality support that LGBT people have from heterosexuals.  Again, this is a tactic characteristic of abusers.  Portray the victim as isolated and without friends.  The news media should ask Forrester if he can say how many PFLAGS there are in North Carolina. (PFLAG is Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  The North Carolina PFLAG page shows sixteen North Carolina PFLAGS; and many of them service entire metropolitan areas around cities.

Look what Forrester says here: “This is a lifestyle that every society, every culture and every religion has disapproved of for over 5000 years. ”  Now look at this page of one-hundred and thirty-nine (139) “Welcoming Gay Friendly Churches” in North Carolina. It isn’t that Forrester doesn’t know of these Churches. He wants to make “the homosexuals” think they are isolated and without friends, and accordingly asserts that “every religion has disapproved” of gay human beings for over 5,000 years.  Here, you can see lists of “Welcoming Gay Friendly Churches” in each state. Holding anti-LGBT beliefs is not synonymous with Christian and that being pro-equality is not synonymous with anti-Christian, despite Senator Forrester’s propaganda to the contrary. In demanding marriage equality, gay and lesbian couples aren’t threatening marriages of heterosexual couples. Yet Forrester speaks derisively about “homosexual activists” as though they were out to get him personally and destroy his marriage.  Perhaps he should check out the Facebook page “My Marriage Is Not Threatened By Gay Marriage in NC” that contains the testimony of numerous heterosexual couples unafraid of marriage equality. Forrester claims that every society has disapproved of what he calls a “lifestyle” for over 5,000 years — then why does Canada have marriage equality? Why does Holland have it?  And what about Argentina? Oh wait, facts don’t matter to him.

Another abusive tactic is to demean the victim by telling the victims that they are of scant importance. Forrester’s letter asserts that homosexuals are only 1% of the population. Even were that figure accurate, (it is not), we see the malice in Forrester’s assertion that “the real issue” of SB106 is to prevent “Redefining the universal definition of marriage for social acceptance of a minority group.” Forrester simply does not want gay human beings to be given equal rights, because he does not think they should be “accepted.”

Elsewhere in this communication he duplicitously claims that he “loves” his homosexual patients more than his heterosexual ones.  That duplicitous statement is absurd on its face, in light of Forrester’s later admission that he doesn’t want to see homosexuals “accepted” by gaining equal rights.  In domestic violence in a household, as in national domestic violence perpetrated by a majority against a minority, the abusers allege that they love the victims, and the victims if they are to be freed from the abuse have to recognize that that’s not love.

For Forrester, marriage equality for gay people amounts to “special rights” and that the “special rights” “discriminates against the universal institute (sic) of marriage and family structure originated by our Creator for the procreation, nurture and social stability of our species since the beginning of time.”  Deny the victim some sort of liberty and then accuse the victim of trying to deny you one.

Although my communications with Forrester have been consistently professional, the form letter he had his legislative assistant send me refers to my “hate filled dissent” to SB106. It is preposterous to claim, as Forrester regularly does, that LGBT Americans demand their inalienable rights because they are trying to “get” Christian heterosexuals.   Gay people are not out to get Christians. But to inflame anti-gay passion, hysteria and moral panic in his followers, Forrester alleges that they are.  If my inquiries are “hate filled dissent,” it appears that his office has crafted this fact-free form letter to sends to anyone who questions his reasons for sponsoring SB106.

Forrester has been using expired professional medical affiliations on his bios while simultaneously distributing expired information HIV scientific articles in a political context to inflict maximum political damage on his victims, “the homosexuals.” That is why it is worth examining Forrester’s character when he lashes out at those reporters uncovering his peddled inaccuracies, as well as his refusal to accept personal accountability for the bogus, outdated information and credentials.

In this communication, Forrester is still trying to mislead the public.  He says that his Fellowship with the American College of Preventive Medicine expired because he had not paid his dues.  Forrester himself states in his letter that the ACPM only started keeping records in 1997.  When this reporter first contacted the ACPM to fact-check Forrester’s bios, ACPM officials told me they had no record of Forrester ever being a member.  That means that Forrester’s Fellow-ship expired before 1997.  Yet Forrester does not admit in his letter the year that his Fellow-affiliation with the ACPM expired, and says “Since Dr. Forrester just recently retired from his medical practice he chose not to reinstate his membership.” Got that?   He’s promoted the false claim that he was a current Fellow of the ACPM that has been up on the internet bios for years; it was only this month that he was exposed for that misrepresentation. Instead he has attacked reporters for detecting it, and says that he decided not to “reinstate” his membership due to his retirement from medicine this year.  Why did he decide not to reinstate it last year, or the year before, or the year before that?  He wasn’t retired and the false claim that he was a Fellow was still up on his website bios. Now he wants the public to believe that just this year, he “decided” not to renew his membership.  This is important because  Forrester was touting these expired professional medical affiliations to bolster his status as an expert on such matters as he waged legislative warfare on gay and lesbian couples from his position as an elected official.

James Forrester is abusing his public office by sponsoring legislation — now a ballot initiative — that is reinforcing a hateful and antiquated abuse of a minority’s inalienable rights and must be defeated next May.

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Scott Rose

Scott Rose