Advertisement

Anti-gay politics online: A study of sexuality and stigma on national websites

  • Janice M. Irvine
Article

Abstract

The Internet is transforming politics in the United States and is proving to be a formidable new communication technology and organizing tool for religious conservatives. This study examined how a sample of six national Christian Right organizations used the Internet for anti-gay politics. It examined the utilization on their websites of sexually stigmatizing rhetorical strategies, along with their uses (and sources) of scientific research. This study found that the organizations differed in the degree to which they used their websites for anti-gay purposes, and that there was little overlap or interconnection among the six websites. The websites employed a mix of rhetorical strategies, with most using sexually stigmatizing attacks and religious arguments. One of the most significant functions of these national websites is to bring an allegedly objective, but actually quite biased and sometimes distorted or inaccurate, body of anti-gay news and information to a much broader audience.

Key words

Internet anti-gay Christian Right sexual stigma 

References

  1. Abraham, Y. (2004, February 16). Influence of MoveOn undeniable. The Boston Globe, p. A13.Google Scholar
  2. Ammerman, N. (1994). Accounting for Christian fundamentalisms: Social dynamics and rhetorical strategies. In M. E. Marty & S. Appleby (Eds.), Accounting for fundamentalisms: The dynamic character of movements (pp. 149–172). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, D. (1990). Theparty of fear. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  4. Berlet, C., & Lyons, M. (2000). Right-wing populism in America: Too close for comfort. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  5. Brainard, J. (2003, November 7). NIH begins review of studies that were questioned at a Congressional hearing. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A24.Google Scholar
  6. Brasher, B.E. (2001). Give me that online religion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Cooperman, A. (2003, November 29). Opponents of gay marriage divided: At issue is scope of an amendment. The Washington Post, p. A01.Google Scholar
  8. Dailey, T. (2003). Dark obsession: The tragedy and threat of the homosexual lifestyle. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Detweiler, J. (1992). The religious right’s battle plan in the “civil war of values.” Public Relations Review, 18, 247–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diamond, S. (1989). Spiritual warfare: The politics of the Christian right. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dobson, J. (1995, June 19). Why I use “fighting words.” Christianity Today, p. 28.Google Scholar
  12. Dobson, J., & Bauer, G. (1990). Children at risk. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Drudge, M. (1998, January 17). Newsweek kills story on White House intern xxxxx blockbuster report: 23-year old, former White House intern, sex relationship with president. Drudge Report. Retrieved January 16, 2005, from http://www.drudgereport.com/ml.htm Google Scholar
  14. Faludi, S. (1991). Backlash: The undeclared war against American women. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  15. Family Research Council. (1994). The children of table 34. [Video]. (Available from the Family Research Council, 801 G St., NW, Washington, DC 20001 or online at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=VC001 Google Scholar
  16. Family Voice Staff (2001, May/June). Our challenge is to tell the truth. CWA Family Voice. Retrieved February 1, 2005, from http://www.cwfa.org/familyvoice/2001-05/26-30.asp Google Scholar
  17. Focus on the Family. (2004, January 23). When it comes to raising kids, same-sex marriage isn’t the same [Full-page advertisement]. The Boston Globe, p. A23.Google Scholar
  18. FRC Action. (2004, February 5). Is your state legislator denying you the chance to vote on marriage? [Full-page advertisement]. The Boston Globe, p. B4.Google Scholar
  19. Gibson, P. (1989). Gay male and lesbian youth suicide. In ADAMHA, Report of the Secretary’s task force on youth suicide, vol. 3 (DHHS publication no. ADM 89–1623, pp. 110–142). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  20. Grossman, L.K. (1995). The electronic republic. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  21. Harding, S. (2000). The book of Jerry Falwell. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  22. Hershberger, S. & D’Augelli, A. (1995). The impact of victimization on the mental health and suicidality of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Developmental Psychology, 31, 65–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hilliard, R.L., & Keith, M.C. (1999). Waves of rancor: Tuning in the radical right. Armond, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  24. Hofstadter, R. (1965). The paranoid style in American politics. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  25. Huck, P. (2004, August 26). Moving the masses. Retrieved October 15, 2004, from http://www.theage.com.au/ articles/2004/08/25/1093246611490.html?oneclick= true Google Scholar
  26. Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. (2002). The virtual trail: Political journalism on the Internet. Retrieved February 20, 2003, from http://www.ipdi.org/UploadedFiles/virtual trail.pdf Google Scholar
  27. Irvine, J. (2002). Talk about sex: The battles over sex education in the United States. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. “Judge to Christian mom: No ‘homophobic’ teaching.” (2003, October 31). Retrieved November 1, 2003, from http://www.WorldNetDaily.com/ Google Scholar
  29. Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., & Martin, C.E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  30. Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.W., & Gebhard, P.H. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  31. Kirkpatrick, D. (2004, February 8). Conservatives using issues of gay unions as a rallying tool. The New York Times, p. 1.Google Scholar
  32. Knight, R. (2003). Talking points on marriage. Concerned Women for America. Retrieved February 1, 2005, from http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=4233&department=CFI& categoryid=papers Google Scholar
  33. LaBarbera, P. (2003, August 6). When a friend falls. Concerned Women for America. Retrieved February 25, 2004, from http://www.cultureandfamily.org/ articledisplay.asp?id=4411& department=CFI& categoryid=cfreport Google Scholar
  34. Laumann, E., Gagnon, J., Michael, R., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Lawrence v. Texas (02–102), 539 U.S. 558 (2003).Google Scholar
  36. Leonard, M. (2003, September 28). Gay marriage stirs conservatives again. The Boston Sunday Globe, p. A1.Google Scholar
  37. Lewis, R. (2004, January 9). Groups muster to fight gay marriage in Mass. The Boston Globe, p. B10.Google Scholar
  38. Lipset, S., & Raab, E. (1970). Politics of unreason. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  39. Marshner, W., & Rueda, E. (1984). The morality of political action: Biblical foundations. Washington, DC: The Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.Google Scholar
  40. McGirr, L. (2001). Suburban warriors: The origins of the new American right. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Petchesky, R. (1984). Abortion and woman’s choice: The state, sexuality, and reproductive freedom. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  42. Reisman, J.A., Eichel, E., Court, J., & Muir, G. (Eds.). (1990). Kinsey, sex and fraud: The indoctrination of a people. Lafayette, LA: Lochinvar.Google Scholar
  43. Reisman, J.A. (1998). Kinsey: Crimes and consequences. Crestwood, KY: The Institute for Media Education.Google Scholar
  44. Remafedi, G., Resnick, M., Blum, R., & Harris, L. (1992). Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics, 89, 714–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Rubin, G. (1984). Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality. In C. S. Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and danger: Exploring female sexuality (pp. 267–319). Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  46. Savin-Williams, R. (2001). Suicide attempts among sexual-minority youths. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 983–991.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Smidt, C., Kellstedt, L., Green, J., & Guth, J. (1994). The characteristics of Christian political activists: An interest group analysis. In William R. Stevenson, Jr. (Ed.), Christian political activism at the crossroads (pp. 133–171). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  48. Smith, T.W. (1991). Adult sexual behavior in 1989: Number of partners, frequency of intercourse, and risk of AIDS. Family Planning Perspectives, 23(3), 102–107.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Starr, K. (1998). Referral from Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr in conformity with the requirements of Title 28, United States Code, section 595(c), communication from Kenneth W. Starr, independent counsel, transmitting a referral to the United States House of Representatives filed in conformity with the requirements of Title 28, United States Code, section 595(c). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  50. Traditional Values Coalition. (2002–2003a). Exposed: The myth that “10% are homosexual.” Retrieved September 1, 2003, from http://traditionalvalues.org/ urban/two.php Google Scholar
  51. Traditional Values Coalition. (2002–2003b). Exposed: 30% of teen suicide victims are homosexuals ... NOT!! Retrieved September 1, 2003, from http:// traditionalvalues.org/urban/five.php Google Scholar
  52. Traditional Values Coalition (2002–2003c). Homosexual urban legends: The series. Retrieved September 1, 2003, from http://traditionalvalues.org/urban/ Google Scholar
  53. Warner, M. (1999). The trouble with normal. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  54. Wuthnow, R., & Lawson, M. (1994). Sources of Christian fundamentalism in the United States. In M. E. Marty & S. Appleby (Eds.), Accounting for fundamentalisms: The dynamic character of movements (pp. 18–56). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherst

Personalised recommendations