WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign spoke out today in opposition to President Bush's nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to the position of surgeon general. Among other things, the U.S. surgeon general is charged with educating Americans about public health.
"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."
In a document titled "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality," Holsinger opined, in his capacity as a physician, that biology and anatomy precluded considering gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality in his denomination. The opinion very clearly states that this is his scientific view, stating that theological views are separate.
Additionally, Holsinger and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church which, according to the church's pastor, ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian. The pastor, the Rev. David Calhoun, said that the church has an "ex-gay" ministry. "We see that as an issue not of orientation but a lifestyle," Calhoun said. "We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle." This type of "ex-gay" conversion therapy has been condemned by almost every major, reputable medical organization - including the American Psychological Association, which issued a condemnation more than 10 years ago.
"Although the church's theology isn't being nominated, this discredited practice purports to be a psychological and medical service, and if Dr. Holsinger is involved in any way, it conflicts with his duty to accept and promote sound science in the interest of public health," continued Solmonese.
"We are hopeful that during the hearing process Congress will fully examine Dr. Holsinger's background and part of that examination will include issues affecting our community, including his stance on conversation therapy. Too often, we have seen President Bush send nominees to Congress that have proven their inability to separate their personal beliefs from their professional duties. As the nation's chief medical doctor, the office of surgeon general is an extremely important position that has an impact on the lives of gay and lesbian Americans and the hearing process should involve a discussion about where Dr. Holsinger stands on medical issues relating to our community," Solmonese concluded.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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