Last week the Bush Administration nominated a judge to the federal bench whose previous decisions have been criticized as racist and homophobic This week, gay rights groups and many in Congress are outraged after the White House nominates a Kentucky doctor as surgeon general—whose questionable history includes affiliation with an ex-gay ministry and authoring a paper that argued gay sex was "biologically unnatural."
Dr. James Holsinger is a University of Kentucky professor. (PDF bio.) In 1991, he wrote a paper prepared for a United Methodist Church committee studying homosexuality, Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality. In a graphic description of anal sex, Holsinger compared human genitalia to "pipe fittings" and concluded disease, injury or death could occur. "Doctors who reviewed the paper derided it as prioritizing political ideology over science, and Democratic aides on Capitol Hill say the paper will make his confirmation hearings problematic, if not downright bruising."
The Lexington Herald-Leader also notes, "A Lexington church that Holsinger helped found, Hope Springs Community Church, has a ministry dedicated to helping gay people who want to become heterosexual." At the church website, several faith-based "recovery" programs are advertised, from addiction treatment to "Men's Sexual Integrity" which offers "an opportunity for men to heal from sexual brokenness and find strength to overcome unhealthy sexual behaviors in a safe and confidential environment."
“Dr. Holsinger has a record that is unworthy of America’s doctor,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “His writings suggest a scientific view rooted in anti-gay beliefs that are incompatible with the job of serving the medical health of all Americans. It is essential that America’s top doctor value sound science over anti-gay ideology.”
The Bush Administration defends its nominee and says Holsinger's writings reflected scientific data from the 1980s. "Over the last 20 years, a clearer understanding of these issues has been achieved," says Holy Babin of the Department of health and Human Services. "Any new compilation of scientific information on health issues facing homosexual populations would have a substantially different focus."