Gay Rights Opponents Employ Questionable Statistics

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 28, 1997 | Go to article overview

Gay Rights Opponents Employ Questionable Statistics


I am writing in response to Linda Bowles' Nov. 21 commentary, "With benefit of political doxology." Miss Bowles has resorted to myths, stereotypes and bad research to make her points, which are purposeful distortions.

In his Nov. 8 speech at the Human Rights Campaign's national dinner, President Clinton did indeed draw parallels between the gay rights movement and the black civil rights struggle. So, too, did several leaders of the black civil rights establishment, a fact Miss Bowles ignores.

Also speaking at that dinner were Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and Dorothy Height, a towering figure in the civil rights community for more than 40 years. Not only did both these black civil rights leaders agree that our quests have much in common, but Mr. Henderson stated that passage of a federal bill outlawing job discrimination against gays is the missing jewel in America's crown of civil rights protections.

In an effort to prove that gay people are privileged and not subject to employment discrimination, Miss Bowles cites market research data about gay people. Any first-year student of statistics knows that to extrapolate such data to describe the entire gay community is tantamount to using a reader survey conducted by Architectural Digest to describe all Americans. Miss Bowles also claims some 60 percent of gay people are college graduates, although she does not give the source of that statistic.

Here are some empirical facts surrounding gay people, income and education:

In September 1996, the Human Rights Campaign released the first nationally and statistically valid survey of America's gay and lesbian population, which found that gays and lesbians earn wages similar to most Americans.

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