Does homosexuality cause cancer?

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By Newsweek

An Irish family campaigning group has launched a series of extraordinary attacks against same-sex couples, including claims that same-sex couples die younger, are more prone to cancer, and are more likely to abuse and injure children.

The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM), an initiative based in Ireland which claims to “promote and defend the traditional family”, have been distributing the leaflets to spread their beliefs this week. Witnesses say they have been handed out outside churches and rugby matches among other venues. A journalist for the Irish website Her was handed one of the pamphlets outside a Divine Mercy event in Dublin. It comes in the run-up to the Irish Republic’s referendum in on same-sex marriage due to take place on May 22.

ADFAM have defended the pamphlet, which is titled ‘Why Should I Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage?’ and have listed reasons why readers should vote against the marriage equality referendum.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Séamas de Barra a member of the alliance said the claims are backed up by research undertaken in Denmark, where civil partnerships were legalised in 1989.

The group also defends its claim that same-sex marriage “is a confidence trick” which “tends to be very short-lived, and promiscuous” and that “frequently, same-sex pairs don’t even live together.”

In the past the group has stated that voting for same-sex marriage “is like voting for Islamic State-style sharia law. It is giving in to a very small minority. In this case, the very small minority will dictate what marriage means. Persecution of Christians surely will follow, and it will become a crime to teach and preach Christian morality.”

Tiernan Brady, policy director at the Irish Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), fiercely condemns the pamphlet’s content. “Most importantly, it’s not true,” he says. “It’s disrespectful, and an attack on the humanity of certain citizens of Ireland.

“Unfortunately there are those who will take us back to a time of intolerance. ADFAM don’t seem to care that the referendum is a vote about real people and real people’s rights. Lesbian and gay people will read that pamphlet, and the intent can be nothing other than to do as much damage to people. Their motivation is dark, dangerous and disgraceful. We have to remain positive.”

While Brady says that pamphlets like these are “poisonous” and believes they will increase in the run up to the referendum, he also thinks that the anti-gay sentiments expressed are “out of tune” with Irish popular opinion. Currently, the polls are showing that 77% are in favour of same-sex marriage and all the political parties support it.

However, Brady added that is is “desperately worrying” that there has been no official condemnation from a number of religious organisations and believes that if the Irish church was to openly condemn the pamphlets it would be a powerful move. “The polls are positive, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent,” Brady added.

“Ireland has been a phenomenal success story in recent years, from the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity in 1993, to a referendum on equal marriage in just over 20 years. But this leaflet is an attempt to turn the clock back to a time when gays and lesbians lived in the shadows.”

But other religious groups have distanced themselves from the controversial comments. David Quinn, the director of the Iona Institute which opposes same-sex marriage, says: “We would echo the words of Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin here. He called this week for participants in the marriage debate to refrain from using “language which is insensitive and overly judgmental.  Many of the arguments used in the ADFAM pamphlet, besides failing to meet that standard, simply have nothing to do with the question of the redefinition of marriage and should not form part of the debate.”

Same-sex couples have been able to enter into a civil partnership in the Republic of Ireland since January 2011, but Ireland does not permit same-sex civil marriage. Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced last Thursday that his party Fine Gael, will support the referendum, declaring that Ireland is a “compassionate and tolerant nation”. Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail both announced last month they too will support the referendum.

The Catholic church in Ireland is campaigning against the introduction of same-sex marriage. Last December, Ireland’s Catholic bishops launched a 15 page pamphlet setting out its position, stating it would be “a grave injustice” if gay and lesbian couples were granted equality in marriage.

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