A prominent Republican has told attendees at the Value Voters Summit to keep pornography away from young boys because it will turn them gay, the Washington Independent reported.

Michael Schwartz, chief of staff for Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and a well-known social conservative, made his comments during a panel discussion titled The New Masculinity on the third, and final, day of the conservative meet up at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington D.C.

“Pornography is a blight. It is a disaster. It is one of those silent diseases in our society that we haven't been able to overcome very well. … It's been a few years, but not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys around 10 years of age. But it is my observation that boys of that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that's because they don't want to be that way. They don't want to fall into it.”

Schwartz told the crowd that an AIDS activist who had converted an old hotel into an AIDS hospice once told him: “All pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

“Now, think about that,” Schwartz said. “And if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he's going to want to get a copy of Playboy? I'm pretty sure he'll lose interest. That's the last thing he wants! You know, that's a good comment, it's a good point, and it's a good thing to teach young people.”

Bloggers immediately responded. Lisa Richardson blogged at the Los Angeles Times: “I'm so confused. Didn't we used to tell little boys that indulging in, say, an inward sexual drive would make them go blind? Now it's gay?”

Dan Savage, sex columnist and editor of the Seattle alternative The Stranger, didn't hold back.

“We should teach boys that pornography – even pictures of naked ladies – and masturbation – which 99.999999% of them engage in – will turn them gay,” Savage said. “Because masturbation turns them 'inward.' Because, hey, every time you touch your own cock, every time you give yourself an orgasm, you've just … um, what? Desensitizing yourself to sucking off strangers in toilets?”

These people are “absolutely terrified of human sexuality,” Savage added. “They're afraid of women having control of their own reproductive systems, they're afraid of pornography, they're afraid of masturbation, of birth control, of homosexuality.”

“What's most amazing about this particular lie is how easily disproved it is. If pornography and masturbation makes you gay … how come all men aren't gay?”

Value Voters Summit is sponsored by Tony Perkin's Family Research Council (FRC), an ardent opponent of gay and lesbian rights.