An opponent of gay marriage says the
secondhand impact of the institution is more destructive than
smoking, the Des Moines Register reported.
Chuck Hurley, president of the
Christian-based Iowa Family Policy Center, a leading opponent of gay
marriage in Iowa, likened the negative effects of smoking to gay
marriage in a statement released Friday, and urged legislators to
“The Iowa Legislature outlawed
smoking in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs
that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said. “The
secondhand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more
destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”
“Homosexual activity is certainly
more dangerous for the individuals who engage in it than is smoking,”
Hurley said he based his conclusions on
a report issued this week by the U.S. Center for Disease Control that
found gay men have higher rates of HIV and syphilis.
“Iowa lawmakers need to pay attention
to hard facts and not be persuaded by emotion laden half-truths,”
Hurley said. “Because of their unwillingness to correct the error
of last April's Iowa Supreme Court opinion, the Iowa Legislature is
responsible for sanctioning activities that will lead to dramatically
higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa.”
Social conservatives in Iowa have
declared war on the state Supreme Court's 2009 unanimous ruling
legalizing gay marriage and are fuming that Democrats have blocked
passage of a resolution that would put the issue before voters.
Opponents have vowed to make repeal of gay marriage in the state a
pivotal issue in the upcoming gubernatorial race.
The agency's report, however, found
that “factors such as homophobia and stigma” increase the
likelihood that gay men won't seek prevention, testing and treatment
Jordan Selha, executive director of the
AIDS Project of Central Iowa, agreed with that finding: “Stigma and
discrimination only add to the barriers people face in accessing
testing, prevention and healthcare services,” he told the paper.