By David C. Pruden – BarbWire guest contributor
State Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford), the author of or major legislative supporter for virtually all the major homosexual and transgender legislation in the Massachusetts state Legislature over the last decade, has resigned from his position to become the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. On March 25, Sciortino told the Boston Globe that he would be leaving the Legislature and that he has HIV.
Rep. Sciortino has a long history of gay advocacy. On June 3, 2003 the Boston Globe reported that gay-rights activists took their fight with the Catholic Church over same-sex marriage from the streets to the pews of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross when protesters walked out in the middle of Mass, some kissing and holding hands as they left. The article in the Globe noted that Sciortino, a former altar boy at St. Agnes Church in Milford, Conn., arose during the homily turned his back on the alter and the services, and marched out slowly down the center aisle holding the hand of his partner, Mark Murphy.
Only a few months later on November 18, 2003 the Supreme Court of the state of Massachusetts required the Legislature to open marriage to same-sex couples in the landmark Goodridge v. Department of Public Health decision, a ruling that would have allowed Rep. Sciortino and all other gay citizens of Massachusetts to marry.
In 2004, homosexual groups selected Sciortino to challenge — and eventually defeat — Democratic State Rep. Vinnie Ciampa (D-Somerville) in the Democratic primary. Sciortino stated that he ran against his fellow Democrat because of Ciampa’s support of traditional marriage. Homosexual advocacy groups spent more than $200,000 on that primary race and Sciortino beat Ciampa by 93 votes.
Clinicians for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and NARTH supporters are often asked, “Why would anyone who has homosexual attractions seek help from a licensed therapist to manage or diminish those unchosen feelings?” While there are various motivations that might prompt someone to seek help for their unwanted homosexual attractions, lifestyle choices are sometimes a consideration. Carl Sciortino’s health challenges illustrate their concern.
Here is an obviously intelligent, educated man who has lived in a state where gay marriage has been a legal option for more than ten years. He had a partner (at least he did in 2003) and clearly understood the risks associated with non-monogamous gay sexual behavior. Sadly, this well informed adult community leader still contracted HIV and that danger alone should give a same-sex attracted adolescent or young adult a reasonable concern and a rational motivation for exploring all the options that might be available to them.
Imagine a world where a mental health professional’s opposition to limiting by law their client’s freedom to explore all their potential healthy life options and their advocating for every citizen’s right to sexual self-determination – shaping our sexual behavior, identity and feelings according to our own personal goals or values – could be branded as hateful or homophobic. Welcome to America in the year 2014.
David Clarke Pruden, MS is the Executive Director for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.