I can’t parse Jim Wallace any other way than that.
His position against gay marriage, at least this week, appears to be that supporting gay marriage would be tantamount to supporting bad health choices, because gay men have a shorter life expectancy than smokers: “The homosexual community’s own statistics for its health – which it presents when it wants more money for health – are that it has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years,” are his reported words. First off, this is a lie. It’s based on a cobbled together series of studies, each with dubious premises. Not that Wallace has deigned to Show His Workings, but presumably he is referring to a 1997 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, undertaken in Canada, which concluded that “life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men”. That study used data collected at the height of the HIV epidemic (1987 – 1992) and before advanced HIV treatments were developed. Oh, but how can we expect Wallace to have read the details of a study he’s using to justify an oppressive bigoted position? He doesn’t have to have done:.this 2001 follow-up study statesthat the results would be radically different if repeated any time after 1996, which is when the medical profession really got a handle on treating HIV.
Oh, maybe that’s unfair. Perhaps he’s referring to the ‘Gay Obituary’ study, critiqued here, which studied obituarities of dead gay men (also during the height of the HIV epidemic) to conclude that dead gay men were dead earlier than … non-dead gay men, whose obituaries were strangely missing from the data set.
Or, possibly, he’s referring to…you know what? Maybe he should back up his own damn claims, rather than throwing spurious statistics out there as if they’re true.
But hey, let’s proceed on the assumption that the gay population does have a higher rate of drug taking and suicide than the heterosexual population. Why would that be, then?
A 2012 University of Queensland study, The Psychology of Same-Sex Marriage Opposition, contains the following:
Same-sex attracted Australians who reported having frequent contact with people who actively opposed same-sex marriage were statistically significantly more likely to:
– Report self-hatred (e.g., agree to statements such as “Sometimes I feel that I might be better off dead than have same-sex attractions”)
– Feel that having a happy, healthy relationship was not a possibility for them (e.g., agree to statements such as “A long-term, loving, committed relationship cannot happen between same-sex attracted people”)
– Feel unsatisfied with their life and hopeless about the future (i.e., they were more likely to agree with statements such as “I feel that my life has been a failure“)
This isn’t exactly a surprise. Generally speaking, being exposed to bigotry and hateful rhetoric in one’s daily life doesn’t tend to create a warm fuzzy feeling. On the other hand, marriage is correlated with lower suicide rates. Lower alcohol consumption. Longer lives.
So since Mr Wallace is so very concerned about the health of the gay community (he has “a number of gay people he counts amongst his friends“, you know. What they think of him is, as yet, unreported) it seems fairly obvious what he should do to help, doesn’t it?
Support marriage equality.