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Wherein the ADF tries, fails to recast 'Good Night and Good Luck'

by Jeremy Hooper

From time to time, we've seen proponents of anti-gay measures and ideas liken themselves to Joseph McCarthy's blacklist victims. But it never gets any less offensive.

This latest one from the A Lie in Defiance of Fun Alliance Defense Fund's Austin Nimocks, addressing the way lawyers questioned Dr. Hak-Shing William Tam, a "pro-family" leader who rallied Asian-Americans to support Prop 8:

As the day lingered on, and the assault on Dr. Tam continued, I couldn’t help but think of a famous moment from the past involving Sen. Joseph McCarthy during his grilling of several American citizens during committee hearings. At a critical moment, when Sen. McCarthy breached an agreement regarding the hearings, Army attorney Joseph Welch came down on him saying, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator.... You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Had someone stood up and said this today during the cross-examination of Dr. Tam, it wouldn’t have come a moment too soon.
Updates from the trial. 1/21/10 [ADF]

Okay. Uhm, so essentially, Mr. Nimocks is saying that a man who is being questioned for his role in discrimination against millions, and who takes to the stand to ass-crazy say things like this...

(transcript from Rick Jacobs)

David Boise: You said that you thought Prop. 8 would lead to legalizing prostitution. Why?

William Tam: Measure K in SF. I saw some homosexuals hanging around there.

B: You know that Measure K has nothing to do with Prop. 8.

T: Yes.

B: You told people that next will be legalizing sex with children. That’s the homosexual agenda. Do you believe this?

T: Yes.

...and factually incorrect things like this...

B: Document says, “Science proves that homosexuality is a changeable sexual preference.” What science were you referring to?

T: I did not write this.

B: Do you know what science is being referred to?

T: Yes. Have you heard of Dr. Spitzer? Used to very prominent physician who in 1973 who was one of persons who promote that homosexuality is not a disease. Because of that, what I learned is that homosexuality is not a disease, just a part of normal human behavior. That’s what I learned. Later on, the same Dr. Spitzer produced evidence that some homosexuals did turn back and return to heterosexuality. Changeable sexual preference. It is not genetically wired.

B: Did you understand that Dr. Spitzer not genetically wired?

T: No. Francis Collins said that. He’s the one who mapped the human genome.

B: Does Collins believe that sexual orientation can be changed?

T: I saw it on the NARTH site

B: You think NARTH is an objective website?

T: Yes. It’s reliable.
Tam's testimony, as conveyed by Rick Jacobs [Prop 8 Trial Tracker]

...should be directly compared to the innocent victims who were grilled as part of an un-American witchhunt that constituted one of America's darket periods of impropriety. Because to the current Prop 8 backers, merely being called to the witness stand has become some sort of odd "un-American" offense, and simply asking folks to own the very snake oil that they sold to the public is considered "out of line." Forget McCarthyism -- it's the judicial process itself that the anti-gay side is painting as a modern-day "red scare"!

It is demagoguery that duped a bare majority into supporting Prop 8 in the first place. So yea, you're damn right we are pushing back against that. And we're doing so we because we do have decency, sir. At long last -- we have a sense of decency!


*UPDATE: The NARTH quote that Tam attributes to Collins NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED. NARTH apparently put words in Collins' mouth, and it took off as a far-right meme.

How do we know this? Well, because Collins himself has written Ex-Gay Watch to speak out against the way his works have been misstated. Twice, in fact: Update: Noted Geneticist Confirms XGW Correction of Greg Quinlan, NARTH [XGW]

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Your thoughts

They honestly compared this recent testimony to McCarthyism? Was it not McCarthyism that sought to compare homosexuals to communists? Did he not seek to remove all possible homosexuals from office or employment in the US government? They need to learn to crack open a history book once in awhile.

"McCarthyism is the term applied to the attempts in the late 1940s and early 1950s to expunge Communists and fellow travelers (often identified as homosexual) from American public life. Named for Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, the term has come to signify Red-baiting, political extremism, and civic hysteria.

For gay men and lesbians, the period was one of police harassment, witch hunts, suspicions of disloyalty, and dismissals from jobs, especially in the public sector.

Indeed, McCarthyism may be seen as the time when homosexuals became the chief scapegoats of the Cold War. In the United States and Great Britain, throughout the 1950s, thousands of individuals were arrested and imprisoned on homosexual charges. The popular consensus that homosexuals were immoral, emotionally unstable, and untrustworthy justified their punishment and stigmatization."


Posted by: Shane | Jan 22, 2010 6:25:29 PM

It's all part of their new strategy, Shane. They are trying desperately to flip the script: To put themselves in the victim chair. The want our choice to stand up and push back against the CULTURE WAR THAT THEY DECLARED to be seen as "radical" and even "un-american."

It won't work.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 22, 2010 6:41:49 PM

He says that TAM is the one being assaulted?!

The man is being asked questions about his own beliefs, stances, public records and information he's forwarded.
It's an assault to be questioned about them, taking and OATH to tell the truth?

Something TAM should be EAGER to say without prompting.

Yes, casting oneself as a victim in the face of simply restating for ANOTHER public record what you firmly believe is rather ridiculous.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Jan 22, 2010 7:56:22 PM

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