Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Twisted Logic Of South Bend's No Special Rights Folks

In a never-ending search for the bottom of the barrel, the South Bend "No Special Rights" folks achieved a new low today. In opposing South Bend's proposed human rights ordinance, which would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the No Special Rights Folks trotted out the brother of a deceased man who blames his brother's death on the "homosexual lifestyle" as a voice against equality.

Jay Dunlap, a former news anchor for WSJV-28, describes his brother as being "generous to a fault." He laments that his brother died almost 10 years ago because of his exposure to the "homosexual lifestyle." As Dunlap explains to Jamie Loo of the South Bend Tribune the tragic death of his brother:

Dunlap said that as a teenager his brother was seduced by a man at an athletic club where he worked out frequently. For years after that, Dunlap said, his brother struggled with his same-sex attraction both psychologically and physically and was in and out of hospitals for "being treated roughly" and for mental health issues.

When Tim Dunlap died at age 27, Jay Dunlap said, the official cause of death was listed as asphyxiation. Dunlap said, "It's hard to know if that was the result of a seizure or something else."

Dunlap said all of the hospital stays made it difficult for his brother to build a career."It was a short, difficult life for a guy that deserved better," Dunlap said.

Because of this experience, Dunlap said, homosexuality has always been difficult for his family to discuss.

Tim Dunlap's death is indeed very tragic. But he is not here today to express in his own words how he felt. It is wrong for the No Special Rights group to use Dunlap's brother's death as a case study in support of legalized discrimination against all gay people. It is a real tragedy that Tim Dunlap had to endure a difficult life, but one cannot paint with a broad brush the experience in one person's life as representative of an entire group of people. AI understands and appreciates that the Dunlap family loved Tim very deeply. It is simply unfortunate that his memory is being used in a way that can have the effect of making life difficult for those trying to cope with their sexual orientation.

UPDATE: AI has revised the original text of this post. AI apologizes to the Dunlap family for the characterization in the original post--it was not right or proper and it has been revised accordingly.

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