Sigh... I would like to say I'm surprised by the latest media-grabbing "campaign" from the bigoted hate group Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), but all I can really muster is an exasperated sigh and maybe an eye-roll.
After all, the Naperville, Illinois based organization is officially designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for "spreading discredited or slanderous propaganda about a group of people."
And their latest offensive and hate-filled campaign certainly falls squarely into that description.
The Peter LaBarbera led group has launched the "Keep the Gay Blood Ban" or "KGB²" (seriously??...) campaign to uphold the federal ban against gay blood donors. The much criticized ban was enacted in 1983 and prohibits blood donations from "men who have had sex with men since 1977, as well as women who have had sex with men who have had sex with men."
In 2010, 40 members of Congress, led by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to lift the discriminatory ban. Kerry, as well as medical experts at the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers and the American Medical Association, said that the current blood donor policy is discriminatory and "medically and scientifically unwarranted." Rep. Quigley has said that they would "continue to push for a behavior-based screening process both in the name of fairness and a safer blood supply." HHS seems to agree, announcing that they had begun a comprehensive evidence-based policy evaluation on the ban.
It's a slow approach that uses science, studies, and basic fairness. After all, current law requires that all donated blood be tested for HIV and other diseases already, which eliminates the risk of infecting the blood supply. Not only that, but lifting the gay donor ban would increase the nation's blood supply by more than 200,000 pints per year, a much needed boost. It seems like a long overdue move that makes sense on every level.
Well, common sense, science, and fairness apparently don't sit well with the hate-mongers at AFTAH. LaBarbera's campaign uses old fears and biases, calling on the government "to put the safety of Americans - and a pristine blood supply - ahead of the demands of the selfish Homosexuality Lobby."
They also ask for a congressional investigation "into the health hazards of homosexual behaviors (just as the government studied the dangers of smoking)." The campaign also goes after Rep. Quigley, who he calls the man "who represents the homosexual Boystown neighborhood in Chicago", and Sen. Kerry saying that "the politically incorrect reality is that male-on-male sex and the 'gay' sexual culture are extremely high-risk due directly to the dangerously perverse and unsanitary acts - and unprecedented promiscuity - practiced by 'men who have sex with men.'" And for good measure, Peter LaBarbera also claims to want to show the "harsh, shocking realities of homosexual sexual behavior", which he does by including "graphic and vulgar descriptions of homosexual acts" in his online rant, something he regularly does (which has earned him the nickname "Porno Pete" for his seeming affinity for hardcore gay pornography, photos, and descriptions). That's keeping it classy, for sure.
Like I said, I'm not surprised by Porno Pete and AFTAH's new "campaign." They peddle lies, propaganda, and bigotry on a daily basis. It's a successful money making operation for them since nearly 3/4 of the organization's $110,000 operating funding goes into paying LaBarbera's $75,000 salary. Or perhaps they were looking to distract attention for the recent loss of their tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, a status they still claim on their website. Or maybe it was just another excuse for Porno Pete to "research graphic descriptions of homosexual acts"... all in the name of combating the gays, of course.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, the "Keep the Gay Blood Ban" is clearly just another example of why the group is designated a hate group and should be recognized as such by everyone.
img Bryan Cipolla