Peter LaBarbera: Why Did a Gay Man Get Treated with Respect?! November 19, 2010

Peter LaBarbera: Why Did a Gay Man Get Treated with Respect?!

***Update***: Dan Savage has responded to LaBarbera’s claims here.

Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is pissed off at my local public broadcasting station because it aired an interview with sex columnist Dan Savage and treated him like a human being:

How dare they respect Dan?! He’s openly homosexual!

I think Pete’s just jealous that Dan Savage is far more influential than he can ever hope to be…

I saw Phil Ponce‘s interview and it was fantastic:

Sex positivity, a brain, a sense of humor, and the courage to speak out against religious bigotry has earned Dan Savage some well-deserved respect whether or not you agree with everything he says.

Irrational fear of homosexuality and an insistence that public broadcasting networks give equal time to hate-mongerers will only get you traction within the subset of Christianity that reeks of contempt and acrimony.

We’ve already seen the kinds of lies that LaBarbera enjoys spreading via his organization. It’s no surprise that credible journalists aren’t rushing to his office door.

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  • Heidi

    Keep talking, Dan. Sounds like you’re doing something right!

  • S-Y

    Anyone who is against bullying on the basis of orientation is also a hateful anti-christian satan worshipping hypocritical extremist muslim-terrorist atheist. See, I know how to use big words too.

  • The Peter should watch his language: “demonization.” He’s the one who believes in actual demons.

  • Iason Ouabache

    “Saliva terrorist”? I’m not even going to bother googling that.

  • Claudia

    I think Pete’s just jealous that Dan Savage is far more influential than he can ever hope to be…

    Hmmm or he could just be jealous that Dan gets more dick than he does, if you’ll excuse the expression.

  • Anonymous
  • Oh god… some people just make me shake my head.

    Dan is a brilliant, well-spoken, funny man who gives excellent and valuable reality based advice. He has thoroughly earned respect.

    Peter LaBarbera, frothing over the fact that an interview of Dan was respectful, doesn’t sound like he is showing any qualities worthy of respect here.

    Also, I do not understand the American media’s weird assertion that “fair and balanced reporting” is equal to giving air time to two “extreme” positions. That’s not fair and balanced representation… that’s two people yelling at each other. Don’t get me wrong, debate is important, allowing different voices to speak up is important. But fair and balanced reporting has to do with actually putting thought into what you present, how you present it, doing fact checking, etc. Putting two people on opposite sides of a spectrum on air requires no thought and doesn’t have any inherent value in and of itself.

  • Spherical Basterd

    Methinks the manly man doth protest too much.*

    *Regards to Mr. Shakespeare

  • Miss Peter is upset that some of us are out and proud and don’t want to be his buddy in the Closet. sorry petie, but it’s boring and filled with stupid people and the sex isn’t any good in there. you really should come on out. i wish i could tell him personally: he would be very, very welcomed in the community if he came out. really, we’re a pretty forgiving bunch.

    but i’m glad it’s beyond obvious even to str8 people. remember kids: anyone who thinks, talks and writes about gay sex this much? not str8.

  • I can only see two possible futures for Mr. LaBarbera: he spends the rest of his life believing that homosexuality is a perversion, or he comes ROARING out of the closet.

  • Nice to see that the media hasn’t lost it’s sense of non-biased fairness all together. Good luck seeing that happen here in Central NY.

    Wish more media outlets would have programs like this and publicize them so we’d know they were on.

    Can they interview a Trans Activist next? That should get some real interesting responses for the zealots.

  • Guy G

    “Saliva terrorist”? I’m not even going to bother googling that.

    Oh but you should – it’s all rather amusing. It refers to an story Savage posted online about having the flu and licking doorknobs. Apparently there are elements of truth to it, but no doorknobs were actually licked. People got really wound up about it and considered it a hate crime (because his doorknob licking was politically motivated). There’s a lovely quote from Savage, which says “I originally had a paragraph at the end where I let everyone know I hadn’t licked any doorknobs. But I wanted the Bauer people to squirm and clean the office, which was really a filthy pit.”

    There’s an article about it here

  • Maybe it’s because he’s not a total douchebag?

  • JD

    I thought Santorum was one of those pro-family congresscritters that had an affair, but surprisingly, that wasn’t true, it seems like most of them eventually get caught with a man, or a woman that’s not their wife.

    He did say that legal gay sex was tantamount to incest, bigamy, etc., which is silly.

  • Eddie

    Haha! I just like to Thank Pete whoever he is. I’ve heard of Dan Savage but not him. Thanks for being, in the words of George Takei, a total douche-bag. This is the best: “treated with great respect” oh, “God forbid that, huh?” Please say this is true and not parody.

    I’ve just had some Americans going on about how the UK isn’t free and the only thing they could find were random allegations of Sharia Law, that’s all they could find as opposed to the list of repression the USA has.

  • Patrick

    Dan Savage is one of my heroes. Awesome interview.

  • I call Haggard’s Law on Mr. LaBarbera. I’ll bet $100 he’s a closet homosexual just aching to burst out of that closet he’s in.

  • Okay, and this is the “Love” religion, yes?

  • tim

    This is nothing new for LaBarbera.

    But really – Savage does more harm than good. His books are humorous. His interviews are not. He comes across as completely clueless on most issues outside of sex. Every time he shows up on Real Time with Bill Maher I cringe because I know he will make a comment that is completely ignorant. He never disappoints.

  • Every time I think these people have lost the ability to surprise me with their assholery and jerkoffishness, something like this comes up. Clowns like this are trying to pull America backwards something fierce.

    I’ve admired Savage for years, and I agree, he absolutely deserves respect for so many things he’s done, not the least for trying to save children’s lives.

  • Gretchen

    I’ve never seen Real Time with Bill Maher, Tim, but I seriously doubt anything Savage could say on there would equal out to him having done “more harm than good.” Savage has been a tireless advocate for gay rights while keeping a skeptical eye on arguments made by people on his own side. He’s intellectually honest, a praiseworthy trait if there ever was one. I started reading his column in the Reader in 1997, and it’s impossible to know how many people’s minds– straight, bi, and gay– have been opened and their relationships improved due to his advice.

    As for other subjects– I would agree that Savage shouldn’t be treated as any more of an authority than the average person, but then that’s not how guests on Maher’s show are treated, are they? As average people who happen to be famous for something or other. Savage’s “things” are relationships, especially the sexual side, and gay rights. I happen to also agree with him on things like the drug war and religion, but do wish he would keep commentary on those a little more separate from his field of expertise.

  • Nicole

    I have the weirdest mental relationship towards Mr. Savage.

    Half of me loathes him with an unutterable loathing and thinks he’s an awful ass who needs to learn when to be quiet and also not to tell me that secretly I crave polygamy because deep down we all do (I don’t have a problem with it, but it isn’t for me).

    The other half thinks he’s the best damn thing since the last most awesome thing to happen. That half has enormous respect for him.

    Regardless, this reaction to his being treated like a human being is, uh… really disgusting.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for posting the interview, it was very enjoyable for me. It also helps me stop confusing Dan Savage with Ron Reagan Jr.

  • Look, I’m no great fan of Savage’s whose column I don’t like in the least (though as I’m getting exposed to him outside the column, I’m finding him more likeable) but to say he shouldn’t be given respect because he’s gay is ridiculous. Find legtimate fault.

    Frankly, at this point of obsession with the gay, it is pretty damned apparent that he is closted and repressed. It’ll be freaking hilarious when he either comes roaring out or is caught with a male escort or some such.

  • Heidi

    And another thing. Can these haters quit calling everything they do “pro-family,” please? My family has gay people in it.

  • Eddie

    Haha. @Heidi, you are love.

  • Rieux

    Good for Ponce; he did a very nice job with the interview.

  • Wow, a jerk hating on a jerk.

    For those of you who aren’t aware of the harm Dan Savage does:

    Not that I have the least bit of sympathy for LaBarbarian.

  • Gretchen

    Actually, I thought Dan was pretty dead-on in that column although he could’ve been nicer about it. That lady was being a total shit to her husband, and being assaulted, while horrible (which he explicitly noted first off) isn’t an excuse for that.

  • Gretchen, you’re being a total shit in agreeing with that vile comment.

    I guess we all have different opinions on what behaviors = shitty. And isn’t it fun that we don’t just label the behavior as shitty, but the person hirself becomes a shit (a total one, at that).

  • slingshot

    To everyone saying Peter is a closet homo, he is actually not even in the closet. He’s one of those “ex-gays” and he goes to gay festivals and porn shops all the time claiming he’s doing “research”. He’s very amusing.

  • What delightful irony – Dan Savage is treated with respect and Porno Pete is butthurt.

  • Fraser

    @Palaverer: Dan was spot on with his response. Our life experiences do not entitle us to be shits to other people. And what she was doing was being a shit to somebody who had nothing to do with what she went through.

  • PJB863

    Everyone knows LaBarbera’s wife beats him.

  • Sheridan

    Thanks for the video. As a WTTW subscriber, i sent them an email thanking them for their interview. As for the “other side” well, we already know what they are all about. Don’t need to hear them spouting their homophobic lies. We have already heard enough from them.

  • Tim

    Dan Savage is not anti-Christian; he’s anti-hatred, anti-lies, anti-bigotry, etc.. I took the liberty of pointing out to “Americans for Truth about Homosexuality” that if they claim that Dan Savage is anti-Christian, they are admitting that Christianity consists solely of hatred, lies, and bigotry.

  • Robert W.


    @Palaverer: Dan was spot on with his response. Our life experiences do not entitle us to be shits to other people. And what she was doing was being a shit to somebody who had nothing to do with what she went through.

    I find his “advice” to that poor lady offensive but apparently typical of his thoughts on the devaluation of the the emotional impact of sexual encounters.

    This “life experience” involved a very intimate act that will have some emotional effect, even if this couple has devalued it by including everyone into their open marriage. The fact that this lady states she was raped and then her husband is pouting because she won’t have sex with him shows that he is juvenile and petty.

    The fact that Savage would agree with him shows he is a moron who takes sex apparently as lightly as the husband he is agreeing with.

    And I disagree that the husband had nothing to do with what she went through. The assault apparently happened with one of their play partners in an open marriage that the husband was agreeing with. SO by opening his marriage up to multip0le sex partners he was at the very least an accomplice. And really, what does the fact that he wasn’t the actual rapist give him the right to treat his wife like an object that should be there to service him?

  • Fraser

    Hi Robert,

    Those poor women, they can’t make any decisions on their own, can they? I mean, by letting somebody else fuck his property wife, he was just asking for it.

    Could you leave your full name, so I can forbid my daughters from marrying you? It’s right there in Genesis.


  • Fraser, you are painfully ignorant on this topic. Our life experiences entitle us to do what we need to take care of ourselves. No one is entitled to sex from another person. It sucks for him, but it sucks for her, too. Marriage without sex with her is not the deal he signed on for; by the same token, marriage without sex with the other guy is not what she signed on for. The solution is not for the victim of sexual assault to put herself in a compromising position. And the person at fault is the rapist. Maybe the husband can go hit him up for sex. I hope you never find out what it is like to be sexually assaulted, or to be triggered by it, but I hope someday you can have empathy for those who have/are.

    Hemant, you often take churches and religious leaders to task for paying lip-service to/not fully supporting gay rights. Dan Savage is worse than that. Yeah, he supports gays, but he’s actively hateful toward other marginalized groups including women and bisexuals. So does a misogynist bigot get a free pass as long as he says, “yay for the gays!”? It reeks of hypocrisy.

  • Robert W.


    Those poor women, they can’t make any decisions on their own, can they? I mean, by letting somebody else fuck his property wife, he was just asking for it.

    Could you leave your full name, so I can forbid my daughters from marrying you? It’s right there in Genesis.

    Nowhere did I state or imply that a wife is property. Just the opposite. This couple opened their sex lives to others outside their marriage and the husband agreed to that arrangement. It led to a sexual assault of his wife. Had they not done that it apparently wouldn’t have happened. So yes he is partially responsible for what happened.

    Not in the sense that he owns his wife or can tell her who she can have sex with, but in the sense that he participated in the behavior that led to her getting assaulted.

    I’m not saying that the rapist not responsible for his actions, just that the husband can’t now act like a punk and complain.

    As for your daughters, I pray that they find someone who would treat them far better then this guy and that you wouldn’t teach then that if they have multiple sex partners in an open marriage and one of them rapes them, go have sex with your husband anyway because he doesn’t value you enough or your marriage enough to keep it sacred and you are just a piece of meat for him to enjoy anyway.

  • AxeGrrl

    Dan’s thoughts on open relationships sometimes make me want to give him a shake (well, mainly just his ‘sometimes lying about it isn’t the wrong thing‘ stance), but in all of the colums/podcasts of his I’ve read/heard, he’s usually fair and on-point re: this topic imo.

    But to call someone a ‘shit’ in this case? The reality is that you cannot always predict what the emotional fallout will be when you open up your relationship. If emotional/physical responses were always nice and neat and controllable, then no one would have issues ~ but that’s simply not the case. And to add sexual assault into the mix… can almost guarantee that things aren’t going to be easy and rosy, with all partners walking away feeling happy/secure/free of jealousy.

    Dan can be an obnoxious jerk at times. This seems to be one of them.

    (note: my opinion is based on the blog about the column, not the column itself. I didn’t read the actual letter and Dan’s actual response)

  • Palaver, I did follow the links through to the actual column:

    I’m sorry that you were sexually assaulted—that’s awful, PTSD, and I hope you went to the police and I hope you’re pressing charges. But I also hope you know that being the victim of sexual assault is not a Get Out of Being a Human Being Free card.

    Just because you’ve been victimized doesn’t mean you operate in an alternate moral universe where you’re not obligated to take other people’s feelings into consideration—particularly the feelings of people you profess to love and happen to be married to. Your first priority in the wake of your assault had to be your own physical and emotional safety, of course, but your behavior toward your husband is both cruel and selfish.

    If you truly loved your husband and valued your marriage, PTSD, you would’ve put the boyfriend on hold and gotten your ass into therapy without having to be told. It looks to me like you want out of this marriage. But instead of taking responsibility for wanting out, you’re playing the victim card while slamming both hands down on your marriage’s self-destruct button.

    To sum up, PTSD: You’re being a total shit. Do you love your husband? Is your marriage a priority? Then start acting like it: Cut the boyfriend off—for the indefinite future—and get your ass onto a counselor’s couch. If you’re not willing to do those things, PTSD, then stop emotionally assaulting your husband and put both your marriage and him out of their misery

    This is exactly why I don’t like Savage. It seems glaringly obvious to me that the boyfriend was doing something right in approaching her after the assault that husband wasn’t. Why didn’t this possibility of this even occur to Savage? Hope to hell his husband is never assaulted because he’ll have all the empathy of a goat. Frankly, this chick should consider leaving the husband for the boyfriend who is showing her some gentleness and understanding (obviously or else she wouldn’t be able to sleep with him either) and I’m not usually one to promote that. However, if the husband truly valued her, he’d be having some freaking patience with the trauma she’s going through. Hell, if their marriage really was so damned open, why isn’t he comparing notes with the boyfriend and finding out what he is doing right?

    Savage, frankly, seems a bit chauvintistic to me. His column ran in our free weekly paper. I read it a couple of times and quit it in disgust. When it comes to straight couples, he seems to nine times out of ten consider the man right and the woman wrong. It’d be somewhere closer to 50-50 if he wasn’t a freaking male chauvinistic pig.

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