Re Metro Weekly, Washington DC’s GLBT Newsmagazine:
Public hearing on the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009”
Dr. Ruth Jacobs of Rockville, MD, against Gay Marriage Bill, Public Witness at Washington, DC Hearing. DC Council, Monday, November 2, 2009:
Synopsis: Conservative activist Dr. Ruth Jacobs presenting ridiculous testimony as a public witness during the DC City Council's hearing about a pending same-sex marriage equality bill. It's not clear why Jacobs was there since she appears to have traveled down from Rockville, MD, and that she knew nothing about existing District law. In 2007, Jacobs led an effort against a transgender equality bill in Montgomery County claiming that men would expose their genitalia to women and girls, and testifying that the bill would discriminate against ''ex-transgenders.'' During a questioning period, she admitted to Council chair Phil Mendelson that she had no evidence of her claims of a connection between same-sex marriage and HIV infection. Councilman David Catania asked her what gay male sex had to do with lesbians and marriage, especially since lesbians have the lowest rate of HIV infection. Jacobs became flustered and said she wasn't there to talk about that fact. (City Council via Office of Cable Television)
Full transcript. Note, I’ve skipped the first 41 seconds provided in the Metro Weekly article (all of which is reiterated below). Again, please feel free to use this transcript, in full or in part. No credit requested.
Beginning @ 41 seconds:
Council chair Phil Mendelson: Dr. Jacobs…
Dr. Ruth Jacobs: My name is Dr. Jacobs. I’m an infectious disease specialist, and I have seen the pain and hurt of the AIDS epidemic. This has been identified as one of the most sever health problems facing the District. It’s a generalized and severe epidemic, affecting the good citizens of D.C. A shockingly high number of 6% of heterosexual black men, 3% of black women, and Hispanic men in the District are HIV positive. But this number pales when compared to 46% of black and 20% of men who have sex with men who are HIV positive. The immediate action of passing the same-sex marriage bill 18 40 82, is to normalize, predominantly, homosexual activity, such as anal sex, and require the promotion in school as a legal normal activity, and part of the sex education.
We have a man who lost his daughter in Massachusetts for simply expressing disagreement with same-sex marriage. Brookstone’s termination letter to Peter states that “In the state of Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is legal.”
The Centers for Disease Control, Federal [drug?] Administration, and Nation Institutes of Health tell us that while new HIV infections have decreased among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, the annual number of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men, has been steadily increasing since the 90’s. The Surgeon General has stated “condoms provide some protection, but anal intercourse is simply too dangerous to practice,” and this is on an updated FDA website. Anal sex has higher HIV transmission than vaginal sex. Estimates are as high as 1 life altering HIV deadly conversion for every 20 anal sex acts. The people of the District who are already suffering more than anyone who should suffer from HIV / AIDS, should be able to vote on bill 18 40 82. Who will speak truthfully about the risks of same-sexual activity in the Districts after 18 40 82 is passed, who will protect the children? There are more new HIV infections among young black men who have sex with men, age 13-29, than among any other age group, and racial group of men who have sex with men.
In a Washington Post article, “AIDS Crisis: serious times calls for serious measures,” the author exhorts “down low brothers, to don’t go so low as to become a murder too.” The people of the District who are already suffering more than anyone should suffer from HIV / AIDS, should be able to be informed about the risks, and vote on this issue, which is of life and death importance to themselves, their families and their children. Let the people vote.
Council chair Phil Mendelson: Thank you Dr. Jacobs and Reverend…
Dr Jacobs: The anus was designed for exit, not entrance.
Council chair Phil Mendelson: Dr. Jacobs, I had one question for you. Did you attach to your testimony, or do you have any research that’s been done with regard to the effect on HIV / AIDS, which is the essence of your testimony, in the 6 states that have legalized same-sex marriage?
Dr. Jacobs: I don’t have those statistics, but I know that there has been people from Massachusetts that have been saying that they feel that there are increased funds being spent. But, I think the immediate effect of any law---all of these are all 1 or 2 years---is the longer term and right now, for example, in Montgomery County, there are various classes of people may or may not accept. Once this becomes law, it is part of the health education. If you want to avoid your child being taught that anal sex is just as safe as vaginal sex, you can opt yourself out. Once this [is] law, you will not be able to opt yourself out.
Council chair Phil Mendelson: Thank you. Mr. Cantania, do you have any questions?
Councilman David Cantania: I do Mr. Chairman, I just have to respond. Miss Jacobs, are you a District resident?
Dr. Jacobs: No, I am an infectious disease in Rockville Maryland, but I do have patients that come from the District, and I have become involved in the schools because of concerns about that.
Councilman David Cantania: You’re not a District resident?
Dr. Jacobs: I am a physician who cares for people who come from the D.C.
Councilman David Cantania: Now are you aware that homosexuality has been taught as pursuant to regulation since 1979 in D.C. public schools, but marriage is not now, nor has it ever been part of the curriculum, and nothing in this legislation would require it to be part of the curriculum?
Dr. Jacobs: In terms of, once it is the law---in Massachusetts, when it became the law---anal sex became taught as part of the curriculum as normal and healthy.
Councilman David Cantania: Dr. Jacobs, we’re talking about the District of Columbia, which is about 1000 miles south. Nothing in our law that we are passing today would require anything about marriage to be taught. And isn’t it also true that in the District, pursuant to our regulations and long standing law, that all sex education materials are to be shared with parents? Parents have the authority to object and to take their children out of sex-education in the District. Which is different than in Massachusetts. Are you aware of that, Dr. Jacobs?
Dr. Jacobs: I am aware that students are terrified to be taken out of sex-ed. They get on the knees and beg to their parents to be included. Because to be outside, is to be labeled as the conservative. To go to the library, while everybody else is in class, having sex-ed, means you are then, you then become--when you refuse to go to sex-ed, you then become the group that is discriminated against.
Councilman David Cantania: Dr. Jacobs, our law is very clear, parents are given the authority to pre-approve and to withhold that certain instructions from their children, it’s been a long standing part of our municipal regulations. I somehow thing that that is, it’s a nice compromise that respects the importance and the prerogative of the parent, while also allows us to have a curriculum that is consistent with the law of the city.
I’m a little perplexed, to be honest, by your legislation. You seem to be implying that because there’s a high rate of HIV among gay men, white or black, that that in and of itself should disqualify the population from the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Is that your testimony?
Dr. Jacobs: My testimony is that there is a significant risk to anal sex. The anus was designed for exit, not entrance. And when you normalize marriage, I’m telling you…
Councilman David Cantania: Dr. Jacobs, we’re on limited rounds. I know you’re new to the District, but the way it works here is, we ask questions of the witnesses. And so, if your testimony is that you’re only eligible to marry if your population has a low HIV rate, then the first in line, because the lowest HIV incidents in the city, according to our 2008 epidemiology, are lesbians. So based on your testimony, then we should only marry lesbians.
Dr. Jacobs: This is not my argument. I am putting… You haven’t allowed me to speak, Mr. Catania.
Councilman David Cantania: Ok, well then please, enlighten me.
Dr. Jacobs: You asked me if this--what I gave is a specific piece of information---as an infectious disease specialist---which raises concerns for me. And I think that the people of the city should be allowed to be aware of this information, and to vote. They may choose to say something, such as marriage and the vagina and the penis are designed to go together, and the penis and anus is not.
Councilman David Cantania: Dr. Jacobs, thank you very much, I think the people of this city are entitled to decide whether or not they marry someone of the same sex or the opposite sex, and that’s what this is about.
Dr. Jacobs: Yes, I hope they will get to vote.
Councilman David Cantania: I wish we would have had same-sex marriage 30 years ago, to be perfectly honest. Because I think there would be thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of gay men who would be married and alive today if this society would have afforded them the same equality, and the same normalcy, and the same dignity, as is afforded opposite-sex couples. I believe, had in 1977, when the first marriage equality bill was introduced in this council, had it passed, had we exposed gay and lesbians to an appropriate dignified avenue to channel their love and affection, we would have far fewer people dead today. Than you Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Jacobs: May I respond?
Council chair Phil Mendelson: No, there’s not a question.
PS, on an inspirational note: