Bush’s surgeon general nominee tells committee he’s not anti-gay

Posted on 12 Jul 2007 at 2:20pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Statements during confirmation hearing conflict with 1991 document Holsinger wrote calling homosexuality unhealthy and unnatural

Surgeon General nominee Dr. James Holsinger denied being “anti-gay” Thursday, July 11, during a Senate committee hearing on his confirmation, according to Reuters.

“I am deeply troubled personally by these claims, which do not reflect who I am, what I believe or how I have practiced medicine for the past 40 years,” Holsinger told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“Questions have been raised about my faith and about my commitment to the health and well-being of all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans,” he said.

Gay rights groups oppose Holsinger’s nomination, based largely on a document he wrote to a United Methodist Church panel studying homosexuality in 1991. The document said homosexuality isn’t healthy or natural.

Holsinger also has opposed lesbian ministers in the church.
On Thursday, Sen. Edward Kennedy called Holsinger’s document “ideological and decidedly not an accurate analysis of thte science then available on homosexuality.”

“The misuse of science gravely concerns me,” said Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Earlier in the week, two gay rights groups isssued press releases again blasting Holsinger, who was named in May by Bush as the president’s nominee to succeed Dr. Richard Carmona.

On Tuesday, Carmona accused the administration of muzzling him for political reasons on hot-button health issues such as emergency contraception and abstinence-only education, according to the Associated Press.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called Carmona’s statement “profoundly disturbing.”

“The Bush administration not only expects but demands that right-wing ideology and partisan politics triumph over science, and they know Dr. Holsinger will compliantly deliver,” NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman said in a press release Wednesday, July 11.

“Our nation deserves better and we call upon the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to reject this shameful nomination. We also call upon Congress to pass laws that will protect all future surgeon generals from political pressure from the executive branch.”

Equality Texas also issued a press release saying it opposes Holsinger’s nomination.

“As “‘America’s Doctor,’ the surgeon general must be devoted to helping all Americans lead healthy lives and be totally committed to science,” Equality Texas Executive Director Paul Scott said. “Dr. Holsinger has clearly demonstrated, in his writings and in his actions, that he is unable to set aside his personal beliefs and honestly consider scientific information. His record demonstrates that he will sacrifice scientific honesty in order to promote his, and the Bush administration’s, non-scientific agenda.

“A Surgeon General must be committed to evidence-based science in order to serve as this country’s chief public health advocate. Dr. James Holsinger, Jr. should not be the surgeon general.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 13, 2007.

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