LGBT rights opposition

LGBT rights opposition

LGBT rights opposition refers to various movements or attitudes which oppose the extension of certain rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The specific rights that are opposed may include rights to social equality, same-sex marriage or civil unions, adoption, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


The first organized gay rights movement arose in the late nineteenth century in Germany.Fact|date=February 2007 When the German Nazi party came to power in 1933, one of the party's first acts was to burn down the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft. Subsequently, the Nazis also began sending homosexuals to concentration camps (see History of gays in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust). The organized gay rights movement would not rise again until after the Second World War.

From the late 1940s to the early 1960s gay rights movements began to form in America and Western Europe, but it was not until the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s that an organized movement arose to oppose gay rights.

In the 1980s the rise of AIDS contributed to a public backlash against LGBT rights issues.Fact|date=February 2007

United States

Conservative opposition to LGBT rights in the US

In the late 1970s gay rights organizations were forming self-supporting communities in large urban centers in America such as San Francisco, New York City, and Minneapolis. Several states reformed their criminal code to decriminalize same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults, and some cities passed local anti-discrimination laws that included protection based on sexual orientation.Fact|date=August 2007

Anita Bryant organized the first major opposition movement to gay rights in America, based on fundamentalist Christian values.Fact|date=February 2007 The group used various slogans that played off the fear that gay people were interested in "recruiting" or molesting children into a "life-style." A common slogan of the campaign was "Homosexuals cannot reproduce — so they must recruit." The Bryant campaign was successful in repealing many of the city anti-discrimination laws, and in proposing other citizen initiatives, such as a failed California ballot question designed to ban homosexuals or anyone who endorsed gay rights from being a public school teacher.Fact|date=February 2007 The name of this group was "Save Our Children," and its most successful campaign resulted in the repealing of Dade County's Civil Rights Ordinance by an overwhelming margin of 69 to 31.Fact|date=February 2007 Soon after, legislation was passed outlawing adoption by non-heterosexual persons in Florida.Fact|date=February 2007 In 1998, Dade County passed an anti-discrimination law that included the protection of people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the ban on homosexuals adopting children remains on the books.Fact|date=February 2007 The success of the Bryant campaign encouraged the development of other organizations which opposed gay rights legislation.Fact|date=February 2007

From the late 1970s onwards, Conservative Christian organizations such as the 700 Club, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women For America, and the Christian Coalition built strong lobbying and fundraising organizations to oppose the gay rights movement's goals. These organizations tend to align themselves with the Republican Party.

Conservative Christian organizations behaved similarly in other nations.Fact|date=August 2007 In the 1980s organizations opposed to gay rights successfully persuaded the British Conservative Party to enact Section 28, which banned public schools from "promoting homosexuality" or endorsing same-sex marriages.Fact|date=February 2007

US public opinion

Public opinion has shifted towards increased acceptance of homosexuality and equal rights for gays and lesbians over the past 30 years. According to the Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who think that same-sex relations between consenting adults should be legal has increased from 32% to 57% since 1986. [ American Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Continue to Become More Tolerant ] ] [ Senior Citizens at Odds with Young Americans over Gay Rights ] ] In 1977, 56% of Americans thought that gay people should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Today, that number has risen to 89%. [ [ Six out of 10 Americans Say Homosexual Relations Should Be Recognized as Legal ] ] In 1992, 38% thought that homosexuality should be considered an acceptable lifestyle. Today, that number is 54%. In 1997, 27% of Americans thought that same-sex marriages should be legally valid. That number is now 39%. [ [ U.S. public opinion polls on same-sex marriage ] ] In 1977, 13% of Americans thought that sexual orientation was genetically determined; now, 42%Fact|date=February 2007 think it is.

Numerous studies have investigated the prevalence of acceptance and disapproval of homosexuality, and have consistently found correlations with various demographic, psychological, and social variables. For example, studies (mainly conducted in the United States) have found that heterosexuals with positive attitudes towards homosexuality are more likely to be female, young, non-religious, politically liberal or moderate, and have close personal contact with openly gay men and lesbians. [Studies finding that heterosexual men usually exhibit more hostile attitudes toward gay men and lesbians than do heterosexual women:
*Herek, G. M. (1994). "Assessing heterosexuals’ attitudes toward lesbians and gay men." In "B. Greene and G.M. Herek (Eds.) Psychological perspectives on lesbian and gay issues: Vol. 1 Lesbian and gay psychology: Theory, research, and clinical applications." Thousands Oaks, Ca: Sage.
*Kite, M.E. (1984). "Sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuals: A meta-analytic review." Journal of Homosexuality, 10 (1-2), 69-81.
*Morin, S., & Garfinkle, E. (1978). "Male homophobia." Journal of Social Issues, 34 (1), 29-47.
*Thompson, E., Grisanti, C., & Pleck, J. (1985). "Attitudes toward the male role and their correlates." Sex Roles, 13 (7/8), 413-427.For other correlates, see:
*Larson et al. (1980) "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Homosexuality", The Journal of Sex Research, 16, 245-257
*Herek, G. (1988), "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men", "Journal of Sex Research", 25, 451-477
*Kite, M.E., & Deaux, K., 1986. "Attitudes toward homosexuality: Assessment and behavioral consequences. Basic and Applied Social Psychology," 7, 137-162
*Haddock, G., Zanna, M. P., & Esses, V. M. (1993). "Assessing the structure of prejudicial attitudes: The case of attitudes toward homosexuals." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1105-1118.See also: Lewis, Gregory B., "Black-White Differences in Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights," Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 67, Number 1, Pp. 59-78
] They are also more likely to have positive attitudes towards other minority groups [Herek, G.M. (1991). "Stigma, prejudice, and violence against lesbians and gay men." In: J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), "Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy" (pp. 60-80). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.] and are less likely to support traditional gender roles. [ Kyes, K.B. & Tumbelaka, L. (1994). "Comparison of Indonesian and American college students' attitudes toward homosexuality." Psychological Reports, 74, 227-237.]

Boy Scouts of America

Policy and rationale

The Boy Scouts of America exclude gay and bisexual people from its organizations, generally for Scoutmasters but also for scouts in leadership positions. Their rationale is that homosexuality is immoral, and that scouts are expected to have certain moral standards and values, as the Scout Oath and Scout Law requires boys to be "morally straight."Fact|date=August 2007 The Boy Scout organization does not view their policy as unjustly discriminatory, but instead defends their policy saying that, "Tolerance for diversity of values does not require abdication of one's own values". [ [ Position Statement: United Way ] ]

In 2000 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, and as such can decide its own membership rules. [ [ - Supreme Court says Boy Scouts can bar gay troop leaders - June 28, 2000 ] ] There is still a movement to try and persuade the organization to change its policy or allow local chapters to decide for themselves.

In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed the "Support Our Scouts Act of 2005" to exempt the BSA from anti-discrimination laws, to require the Department of Defense to support scouting Jamborees (thus rendering ineffective a Federal Court injunction prohibiting this as an unconstitutional establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment) and to require state or local governments that receive Community Development Block Grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow BSA to have meetings in their facilities or on their property.Fact|date=August 2007

Critics claim that gay people are not incompatible with scout values and are allowed to be members in most countries in the world, [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008] including the United Kingdom, where scouting was founded. Some United Ways, municipalities, school districts and businesses have stopped supporting the BSA for those reasons. []

Other outdoor-focused, youth-based organizations such as the 4-H club and Girl Scouts of the USA do not have similar policies. The BSA, however, receives a high level of support from religious groups, many of which are noted for their opposition to the gay rights movement. [ [ ReligionLink - Boy Scouts: Two-year anniversary of Supreme Court case ] ]

United States Armed Forces

The United States Armed Forces' "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy requires gay men and lesbians to be discharged from the armed forces if they come out, but does not allow the military to question people about their sexual orientation.

Even when it was put in place, there have been advocates for allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. Critics of the current policy often argue that when the United Kingdom admitted gay people, no such unit cohesion or morale was lost.Fact|date=August 2007 The same comparison is made to no negative consequences when African-Americans and women were admitted into the military.

Fascist and far-right opposition

Fascist political parties have been universal in their violent opposition to gay rights. Today, Neo Nazi organizations oppose gay rights, and may advocate life sentences in prison or concentration camps for homosexuals, or even the death penalty [ [ The Michigan-based "'National Socialist Movement'] ] (which was instituted by the original Nazis in 1942 [ [ Southern Poverty Law Center] ] ). The British National Party has shifted its platform from recriminalisation to an extension of clause 28-style legislation, ie. making it illegal to portray homosexuality positively in the media. [ [,11913,783675,00.html "The Observer"] ]

In Israel, both mainstream ultra-Orthodox religious groups and Jewish right-wing movements such as the Samson Blinded oppose LGBT rights which are claimed to run contrary to the Bible.Facts|date=January 2008


Most LGBT groups see homosexual orientation as natural and not a choice. A resolution adopted by the American Psychological Association in August 1997 states that "homosexuality is not a mental disorder". [American Psychological Association Council of Representatives (1997). [ "Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation"] . (Adopted August 14, 1997)] Ego-dystonic sexual orientation is listed in the ICD-10 by the World Health Organization.(ICD10|F|66|1|f|60)

Some LGBT groups do not see sexual behavior as a choice. Orson Scott Card commented "In my opinion, all homosexuals should be enraged at the notion that of all human beings, only homosexuals cannot control their sexual behavior by conscious choices."cite news
title=Science on gays falls short
publisher=Deseret Morning News
date=Aug. 7, 2008
first=Orson Scott

Some groups, many of which are funded by religious organizations, promote conversion therapy, which is designed to reduce homosexual attractions and behaviors and for some people increase heterosexual attractions. Sexual Identity Therapy is another alternative where clients can choose the direction based on their personal values, whether it be gay relationships, celibacy, or heterosexual relationships.cite journal
publisher=Monitor on Psychology
date=June 2007
title=Programming highlights for San Francisco
] [ Sexual Identity Therapy Framework] ] cite news
title=New ground in debate on 'curing' gays
publisher=Los Angeles Times
] [cite news
title=Christian conservatives, gay leaders work together to transform "ex-gay" therapy
date=June 20, 2007
publisher=The Advocate


Some opponents of gay rights argue that promoting gay rights leads to an increase in health risks coming from men who have sex with men, such as STDs and anal cancer. [ [ The Health Risks of Gay Sex] ] Critics charge that political correctness has led to the association of sex between males and HIV being downplayed. [cite news
title=The risks in hiding the HIV/AIDS truth
publisher=Business Day
date=March 12, 2007
] [cite news
title=The people punish Mr Blair
publisher=Daily Mail (UK)
date=May 6, 2005
] Some also associate gay sex with higher levels of promiscuity. [ [ The Health Risks of Gay Sex] ]

Traditional Marriage Movement

People in the traditional marriage movement believe only unions between one man and one woman should be legally defined as marriages. They believe that children should be reared in homes with both a father and mother.cite web
title=Defining Marriage Down - We need to protect marriage.
publisher=National Review
date=July 09, 2004
] [ "The Family: A Proclamation to the World"] They have said same-sex relationships are not marriages, [] that legalization of same-sex marriage will open the door for the legalization of polygamy, [] that it is unnatural [cite web |url= |title=Anti-Gay Backlashes Are on 3 States' Ballots |date=1992-10-04 |accessdate=2008-06-06 |publisher=The New York Times] and that it encourages unhealthy behavior. [ [ - Same Sex Marriages (Pros & Cons, Arguments For and Against) ] ] []


Christian, [Strauss, Lehman, Litt.D., F.R.G.S. [ "Homosexuality: The Christian Perspective"] .] [ [ "Roman Catholics and Homosexuality"] , Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (2006)] [ [,16866,4266-1,00.html?LibraryURL=/lds/hf/display "Teaching about Procreation and Chastity: Homosexuality"] , The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. Home & Family.] Jewish, [Shafran, Rabbi Avi. [ "Jewish Law: Marital Problems"] . Jewish Law Commentary: Examining Halacha, Jewish Issues, and Secular Law. ] and Islamic [ [ "Islam and Homosexuality"] , Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (2005).] social conservatives view gay sex as a sin, and its practice and acceptance in society as a weakening of moral standards. For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stated "The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship." [ [ First Presidency Message on Same-Gender Marriage] ] However, it does permit people in homosexual relations to attend worship services, [lds|3 Nephi|3_ne|18|22-23] and does not object to rights regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights. [ [ The Divine Institution of Marriage] ] The Unification Church concurs with this view. This is a primary reason why many religious social conservatives oppose the gay rights movement.

By contrast, some Liberal Christian churches are supportive of gay rights. The leadership and many congregations within the United Church of Christ have supported the right for same-sex couples to marry. [ PDFlink| [ In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All] |34.2 KiB , United Church of Christ (2005). Resolution by General Synod 25 in Atlanta.] Currently the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) bless civil unions but do not 'marry' their congregants.

Also, in Europe some Lutheran, Reformed and United churches in Germany (EKD), Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden are supportive of gay rights. In recent years, support has also come from some Anglican churches (Canada, England).

Some also cite natural law, sometimes called God's law or nature's law, when opposing the gay rights movement. [Pickett, Brent (2002). [ "Homosexuality: Natural Law"] . The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2002 Edition). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved May 12, 2006.] [Vitagliano, Ed (2003). [ "Morality: hanging by a thread"] . American Family Association Journal (April 2003). Retrieved June 6, 2006.] [Flynn, Eileen P (2000). [ "Responding to the ‘Gay Agenda’"] . America: The National Catholic Weekly (Vol. 183 No. 9, September 30, 2000). Retrieved June 6, 2006.]

Conflict with other rights

Religious leaders in England have expressed concerns that gay hate-crime legislation infringe on freedom of speech and commented that "People holding firm opinions on sexuality will generally be reluctant to risk the emotional and financial costs of being challenged by a neighbour or colleague and being investigated by the police." [cite news
title=Gay hate law 'threat to Christian free speech'
date=28th November 2007
publisher=Daily Mail
] They cite examples of Harry Hammond, Stephen Green, and other Christians who have been arrested for expressing opposition to homosexual relationships. [cite news
title=Christian faces court over 'offensive' gay festival leaflets
date=6th September 2006
publisher=Daily Mail
] [cite news
publisher=The Times
title=I'd like to say this, but it might land me in prison
date=December 24, 2002

Concerned Christians Canada expressed similar concerns over investigation over comments made by Craig Chandler against homosexual relationships, calling such investigation a "witch hunt". [cite news
title=Christian group likens Tory candidate review to witch hunt
date=November 28, 2007
publisher=CBC News
] Also in Canada Chris Kempling was suspended from his job from writing in a newspaper against homosexual relationships."Supreme Court rejects teacher's appeal over homosexuality issue", Calgary Herald, 29 January 2006, B5 ] [cite news
title=Conduct unbecoming a free society
date=April 09, 2008
publisher=National Post

Leaders of adoption agencies complained of discrimination of Roman Catholics after new gay right laws shut down an adoption agency in England. [cite news
title=Catholic adoption service stops over gay rights
date=June 5 ,2008
] Earlier, when Catholic adoption agencies in Boston chose to close their doors rather than comply with non-discrimination laws, Mitt Romney commented "It's a mistake for our laws to put the rights of adults over the needs of children... I find the current state of the law deeply disturbing and a threat to religious freedom." [cite news
title=Catholic Charities to halt adoptions over issue involving gays
date=March 10, 2006
publisher=Boston Globe

Gay rights have also brought up conflicts with religious rights in the workplace, [ cite news
title=Employer's Dilemma: When Religious Expression and Gay Rights Cross
publisher=New York Law Journal
date=October 31, 2007
] [cite news
title=Collision of religious and gay rights in the workplace
date=Jan-Feb, 2008
] as a government-subsidized Christian organization in Canada was ordered to abolish a conduct policy which prohibited employees from viewing or engaging in various sexual acts, including gay and lesbian relationships. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario wrote that "the effect of the policy was to make (the employee) a pariah within the organization." [cite news
date=April 24, 2008
publisher=The Record
title=Christian Horizons rebuked: Employer ordered to compensate fired gay worker, abolish code of conduct
] and churches are forced to hire people in sexual relationships outside of marriage. [cite news
title=Bishop loses gay employment case
date=18 July 2007
publisher=BBC News
] An Ocean Grove church group is suing New Jersey, saying that the state is pressuring it to allow a civil union ceremony for a lesbian couple at its oceanfront pavilion, thereby violating the group’s First Amendment rights. [cite news
date=August 14, 2007
title=Church Group Complains of Civil Union Pressure
publisher=New York Times
] The pavilion lost its exemption from property taxes, as its exempt status was dependent on being open to all members of the public, and a state official ruled that the church's prohibition of civil union ceremonies constituted a violation of this requirement. [cite news
title=Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue
publisher=New York Times

Some ex-gays have felt oppressed by the gay rights movement. PFOX sued and won a case where they said the Arlington school district discriminated against them because they allowed gay rights group to pass out fliers to a school and not ex-gay groups. Randy Thomas has said "As a former homosexual, when I was involved in the 1980s promoting the gay agenda, our only focus was to seek tolerance, whereas today's political activism has moved from true tolerance into political domination and power. It's an amazing thing to watch a group that said they were oppressed become oppressors."cite news
title=Documents Reveal San Francisco Mayor's Ties to Homosexual Activists
publisher=Cybercast News Service

See also

* Culture war
* Gay agenda
* Heterosexism
* Homophobia
* Homosexual recruitment
* LGBT social movements
* LGBT retirement issues


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