Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #76 -- June 2006


1. America--Land of Sex Maniacs?
2. The President; Clueless About Democracy
3. Gay Marriage, of Course
4. Dobson: Gay Marriage a "Force of Hell"
5. Court Ends U.S. ‘International Gag Rule'
6. Senate Demands More Indecency (Fines)

1. America--Land of Sex Maniacs?

Here's a fun activity to try: go outside the U.S. and listen to people talk about Americans' sexual habits.

I've just returned from Turkey, Croatia, and Austria, and acquaintances and colleagues in all three countries have the same image--that we are the world's horniest people, doing it in the streets, eating porn for breakfast, committing sex crimes for lunch, and skipping work to have orgies (which we videotape) with Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson.

When I informed people it wasn't quite that way, they were startled. So I pointed to that week's issue of Croatia's national Globus Magazine, a cross between Parade and Newsweek. The cover featured photos of celebrities, news items, and a little one-inch shot of a barebreasted woman. You couldn't do that in America, I said. Really?, they said.

OK, to really convince them, I said that in America:

They were amazed by all of it.

So am I.

2. The President; Clueless About Democracy

Last week, President Bush again showed his dramatic ignorance about democracy. As he has shown in Iraq and elsewhere, he thinks it just involves people voting on a bunch of stuff. What a pathetic, simplistic vision of the most glorious institution humans have ever created.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said "In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives." So far, so good. But he continued that "in a free society, decisions about such a fundamental social institution as marriage should be made by the people--not by the courts." He is dreadfully, dangerously, demagogically wrong.

You don't put slavery up for a vote. You don't have a referendum on whether women can drive, blacks can marry whites, or public school should be abolished. We already have a wonderful set of rules that covers the basics. It's called the Constitution, with its Bill of Rights. These rules guarantee certain liberties to everyone, whether such rights for particular people (such as Japanese, Jews, women, or blacks) are in or out of favor.

"Democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of marriage in America," says the President, who apparently doesn't realize the courts are part of the democratic system. So Mr. Bush, here's how it has worked for over 200 years: The courts exist to protect Americans when their elected representatives pass laws that violate the rights we're all guaranteed--even when we ask for such laws. Judges are responsible to the system, which is bigger than the current passions of the people. Courts are how the system protects the people from their own impulses (or the political manipulations of their representatives) that would undermine the system the people depend on.

A president who disrespects the judicial system should be educated. If he's one of those genial but unfortunate people who simply can't be educated, he should be impeached, because he can't "preserve, protect, and defend" a system that he doesn't understand.

3. Gay Marriage, of Course

The President's radio address, of course, was about same-gender marriage. Bush, Frist, and millions of other people are terrified that letting gays marry will somehow destroy the institution they say is the bedrock of civilization. Well if heterosexual marriage can be destroyed by a bunch of gay couples honeymooning in Niagara Falls or Key West, it's an institution so weak that nothing can save it.

In referring to the terror of gays destroying everything-that-has-ever-mattered-to-anyone, Bush also said "As this debate goes forward, we must remember that every American deserves to be treated with tolerance, respect, and dignity. All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another, and all people deserve to have their voices heard." He means, of course, that we shouldn't criticize those who want to destroy America to save it.

As The New Yorker's Steve Coll says about Bush this week in another context, "we remain burdened by a president who believes passionately that he is at war, and yet has only the most tenuous grasp of his enemy."

4. Dobson: Gay Marriage a "Force of Hell"

On his May 31 radio show, Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson said: " you all very well know, marriage is under vicious attack now, I think from the forces of hell itself. And...with that, the decline of Western civilization itself."

According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Dobson has also said that same-sex marriage will destroy the U.S., destroy the earth, and is more important than the war on terror. He also has compared marriage equality advocates to Hitler and the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Yes, really.)

So will President Bush urge Dobson--a million-dollar supporter--to apologize for failing to "conduct himself with civility and decency?"

5. Court Ends U.S. ‘International Gag Rule'

Our hero and good friend Phil Harvey has done it again. He has sued the U.S., won, and forced some sexual sanity onto our government. Again.

In DKT International v. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), two different federal courts struck down the U.S. requirement that groups explicitly oppose prostitution in order to receive grants for international family planning and HIV-prevention activities. Both courts said the requirement violated groups' First Amendment rights by requiring them to parrot the government's position.

Congressional conservatives had created the requirement in 2003 to both express disapproval of sex work and, by default, make more money available to their allies who promote abstinence.

But in the real world (including the U.S.), outreach to sex workers is crucial in fighting HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancy. Requiring educational groups to denounce prostitution would obviously hinder or prevent their activities.

Non-profit DKT International, which challenged the requirement, supports family planning and HIV-prevention activities in 11 developing nations, distributing hundreds of millions of condoms a year toward those ends--including to sex workers. It has received many grants from the U.S. and foreign governments, international organizations, and foundations. It neither opposes nor supports prostitution.

DKT President Phil Harvey called the decision "a major victory for DKT, for free speech, and for the integrity and independence of private U.S. organizations."

District Judge Victor Marrero criticized the government's "somewhat cavalier take-it-or-leave-it answer to an infringement of speech--which can more or less be characterized as 'if you don't like it, lump it.'"

6. Senate Demands More Indecency (Fines)

Both houses of Congress have passed legislation to dramatically increase fines against broadcasters that air "indecent," "profane" or violent programs.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has decided to champion the Senate bill in a nakedly political move intended to appease conservative Republicans as he prepares his 2008 presidential bid.

The FCC can currently levy fines of up to $32,500 for each "indecency" violation, which is $32,500 too much. The Senate bill would authorize fines up to $325,000 per violation. The House, whose members run for election three times as often as Senators, wants to authorize such fines up to $500,000 for each "dickhead" or 1/2 second of nipple.

It's a disgusting new Congressional version of "my penis is bigger than yours," or "I hate Communism more than you do." The world's most powerful media can't deliver news shows that actually educate Americans, but they are highly adept--and eager--to scare everyone with unending stories of crime and perversion.

SI is firm in its belief that there should be no "decency" standards in the electronic media as long as all TVs and radios come equipped with an on-off switch.

However, if the government insists on fining the media for "indecency," they might want to consider programs that:

Since the FCC is part of the real "indecency" problem of the American media, it should be relegated back to the job it was created to do, but has failed at miserably; encouraging diversity in programming. The government of a free country has no business regulating the contect of the mass media.

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