Matt Comer

Falsification or Embellishment? Anti-Gay NC Lawmaker Lied

Filed By Matt Comer | September 30, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: James Forrester, marriage amendment, NC, North Carolina

When you were little, your mother or father probably told you at one time or another, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." It's a great lesson for children; one that should be applied practically as an adult. It's a lesson anti-LGBT North Carolina state Sen. James Forrester never really took to heart.

james-forrester.jpgFor eight years in a row, Forrester has been the lead sponsor of North Carolina's draconian anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on marriage, civil unions and domestic partner recognition for same-sex couples. He finally succeeded in his quest on Sept. 13, when the legislature approved putting the measure on the May 2012 ballot.

Over the past two days, he's been at the center of a whirlwind sustained by North Carolina's LGBT and political media and blogosphere after news surfaced of potential falsification on some of his medical credentials and affiliations. Pam's House Blend first broke the story and I added more through my reporting at QNotes, Charlotte's LGBT newspaper.

Today, we learned that Forrester did, in fact, have former affiliations with two medical associations he lists as current on his campaign website resume. Though past affiliations are there, they aren't as current as Forrester implies.

Questions about the exact nature of Forrester's membership in a third organization, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, remain unanswered. Forrester was not listed in the group's public database of practicing members.

Obviously, Forrester isn't too happy he's come under scrutiny. From QNotes:

"What has happened is the gay community - the homosexuals don't like the bill that I pushed through the General Assembly," Forrester told Qnotes via phone. "They don't like the bill. They are trying to kill the messenger. They are working to discredit me but they can't."

Forrester added, "If I put anything on my resume that is false, I'll certainly change it."

Any mistakes, Forrester said, were "inadvertent."

"I don't need to make up credentials; I have enough of them already," he said. "The gay community is just trying to dig up anything bad about me to discredit me and discredit the bill. I wish they'd quit sending such hate mail and the terrible phone calls I'm getting from them."

Forrester says he's already changed references to the groups he has former memberships for, but that isn't the case. His campaign website and a web page on the Gaston County Republican Party have yet to be updated.

The nature of the story on Forrester's credentials has changed quickly over the past 24 hours, moving from outright "falsification" to embarrassing "embellishment."

Either way, though, Forrester is a liar - one who points fingers and assigns blame and attempts to strip away the civil and human rights of vulnerable minorities. And, he's the one who should be upset? I don't think so.

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Forrester's credentials as a physician wouldn't be relevant or of interest, except for his history of getting the credible evidence about LGBT people wrong.

He had the option to qualify what he said about gay lifespans (speaking as a layperson for the moment, because he hadn't examined the evidence himself, etc., he believed gay lifespans to be 20 years shorter).

But, he didn't. He referenced his experience as a physician, that he treats LGBT patients, and that he is mindful of his lifespan "data" while treating those patients.

That was just one example in a long history of anti-gay advocacy.

It's one thing for a politician to promote myths and junk data; when licensed, credentialed medical professionals do it, while also acting as politicians, they should expect challenges to their evidence and qualifications.

Wow, you call this dirt? That he hasn't updated that he did or didn't belong to some obscure fundie group? I thought he had been outed as gay.

This seems more like dust than dirt to me.

Looking back at the posting on Pam's House Blend,

this guy claims to be a "Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine." This is a non-trivial claim, because it states that one has qualified to be board-certified in at least one recognized area of medicine AND to have minimum levels of experience in an area.

And both patients and the public have a right to believe that someone with credentials claiming particular expertise knows what s/he is talking about. With respect to GLBT issues and spearheading attacks on us, it is quite material that misinformation, disinformation, and admission of ignorance about facts about gay men and women and the nature of HIV/AIDS that known to an educated layperson are being vomited by someone who, fraudulently, claims to be a specialist in preventive medicine. DEFINITELY somebody who should know what s/he is talking about.

Yeah - blame the gays. We padded his resume; he didn't. We made unscientific medical claims; he didn't. We lied to voters; he didn't. Oh wait. That's all backwards!! What a load of Santorum.