Even as tolerance seems to be on the increase, gays have learned they've got a new nemesis: the harsh-tongued talk-radio oracle Dr. Laura Schlessinger, 53, who's surpassed Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh as most-listened-to personality on the air. Her anti-gay remarks on air were well known in the gay community, but when she landed an upcoming TV show, protests ignited. She backed off a little last week, but nobody thinks the trouble's over.
Several years ago Schlessinger had a reputation for being tolerant of homosexuality, but she's since embraced Orthodox Judaism and moved farther to the sociocultural right. She's trashed feminists ("They nauseate and sicken me") and mixed ("interfaithless") marriages. In a November broadcast, she savaged--by name--a Connecticut eighth grader for an award-winning essay in favor of free speech on the Internet: "If she was my daughter, I'd probably put her up for adoption... When she makes her marriage vows and her husband has sex with everybody else, let's see if she thinks that this philosophy works." She also suggested the girl be "sacrificed," Inca style.
Schlessinger decries homosexuality on Biblical grounds: in Genesis, God "didn't get Adam another guy." She calls gays "deviants," prevented by "a biological error" from relating "normally" to the opposite sex; she supports "reparative therapy," the dubious "cure" for homosexuality. Same-sex parenting is "despicable." She makes the absurd claim that "a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys," and warns of a militant gay conspiracy: "You people have to get off your duffs, or you're going to lose your country to fascism. …