Mon 22 May 00 21:10
Canada and Dr. Laura

For all you Dr. Laura "fans" out there...

Wednesday May 10 7:04 PM ET

Canada Blasts U.S. Host Dr Laura Over Gay Comments
By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's official broadcast watchdog Wednesday issued a damning indictment of controversial U.S. radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, saying her anti-gay views could trigger violence against homosexuals.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) condemned Schlessinger for referring to the sexual behavior of gays and lesbians as "abnormal", "aberrant", "deviant", "disordered", "dysfunctional" and "an error".

"The hosts's unremittingly heavy-handed and unambiguously negative characterization of those sexual practices is abusively discriminatory and in breach of (Canada's broadcasting) code," the CBSC said in one of its most hard-hitting judgements in recent years.

Schlessinger's weekday U.S. call-in radio program, heard by an estimated 18 million listeners, is rebroadcast on some Canadian stations.

The CBSC acknowledged Schlessinger did not "advocate any of the homophobic hostility or, worse, brutality, which can be found in criminal corners of society".

But it said the cumulative effect of her views on gay and lesbian issues "from her powerfully influential platform behind a very popular microphone...may well fertilize the ground for other less well-balanced elements, by her cumulative position, to take such aggressive steps".

Schlessinger -- whose comments the CBSC variously described as "clearly pejorative" and "fatuous and unsustainable" -- denies being anti-gay or trying to foment intolerance toward gays and lesbians.

"The sexual practices of gays and lesbians are as much a part of their being as the color of one's skin or the gender, religion, age or ethnicity of an individual," the CBSC said.

"To use such brutal language as she does about such an essential characteristic flies in the face of Canadian provisions relating to human rights."

CSBC head Ron Cohen said Canadian radio stations would now have to stop broadcasting any comments by Schlessinger which broke the country's broadcasting code.

"Human rights are very important for the CBSC. This is one of the clearest judgements on this issue we have released," he told Reuters.

"We have reiterated this issue on a number of occasions and while I would say our previous judgements have been clear I believe it would be fair to say this program provided us the opportunity to be particularly clear," he said.

The CSBC noted that professional psychiatric and psychological associations felt Schlessinger's views were more than a quarter of a century out of date.

In March, gay activists staged a boisterous rally outside the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles to protest the studio's plans for a TV talk show hosted by Schlessinger.


... Canada: Where cigarettes are $7/pack but heart transplants are free.


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