‘No basis in Church’s claim gays die young’
A DOCTOR said yesterday that there is no medical basis for a claim made by the Catholic Church in Scotland spokesman that gay men die earlier than heterosexuals.
Jack Drescher, a member of the World Health Organisation’s Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health, has accused spokesman Peter Kearney of making the claim as a “political scare tactic”.
Mr Kearney claimed that a “vast” body of evidence showed that practising homosexuals could live as much as 20 years less than heterosexuals and described gay sex as “very, very hazardous”.
His comments have been dismissed by Dr Drescher, who said: “There are no reputable scientific studies that show gay men, in general, die earlier than heterosexual men. Unfortunately, there are individuals known to oppose gay civil rights who create their own ‘data’ and reach questionable conclusions about gay men’s lifespans.
“Although these ‘studies’, more like pseudo-studies, have little or no basis in empirical science, some choose to publicise them to the general public and use them as political scare tactics.”
Gay rights groups have also criticised Mr Kearney’s comments, which he made on a television show on Wednesday while discussing a suggestion by Philip Tartaglia, archbishop-elect of Glasgow, that the death of gay Labour MP David Cairns was linked to his sexuality.
The ongoing row comes after The Scotsman revealed the archbishop-elect’s comments on his views on Mr Cairns’ death.
The MP died in hospital suffering from acute pancreatitis last year, aged 44.
Green MSP Patrick Harvie has written to Mr Kearney to ask him to clarify which health studies he was referring to.
He wrote: “I would like to offer you the opportunity to clarify your comments and to give clear references to the ‘vast array’, or ‘overwhelming body of medical evidence’ to which you referred.”
Last night, the Catholic Church declined to comment on Mr Harvie’s letter.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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