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Sponsor of N.C. anti-gay marriage amendment has questionable medical credentials

A lead sponsor of North Carolina’s proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is under fire this week for allegedly falsifying his medical credentials and walking out on an interview about his statements that gay men have shorter lifespans than the general population.

State Sen. James Forrester (R) first raised the ire of LGBT rights advocates when, at a town hall meeting on the anti-gay amendment, he said gays and lesbians have short lifespans, basing the statement on his professional medical experiences.

“If this bill does not pass then homosexuality will be taught into public school as the norm,” he said. “Do you want that? No. The homosexuals want to have their lifestyle considered normal.

“At least 20 years is taken off a homosexual’s life, if they practice homosexuality, due to the increased death rate from AIDS, and hepatitis, and all of the other related factors to that. That doesn’t seem to discourage them from practicing this unhealthy lifestyle,” he continued. “I’m trying to talk with them. And I’ve got a few homosexual patients, and I treat them just the same as anybody else. I love them. Perhaps even more, because I know they’re going to die at least 20 years earlier.”

(That statement is unsupported by most credible medical research on LGBT health.)

“We need to reach out to them and get them to change their lifestyle back to the one we accept,” he said.

That prompted radio host Michaelangelo Signorile to invite Forrester on his program to elaborate on those claims — only Forrester could not.

Forrester’s claims, and his inability to back them up, led Scott Rose of Pam’s House Blend to check his medical credentials and found them lacking.

Forrester’s website says, “Senator James S. Forrester, M.D. is a tenth term member of the Senate of North Carolina and a retired Brigadier General with the USAF and the NC Air National Guard. A Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, he is an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Society.”

Rose asked the American College of Preventive Medicine if Forrester was a fellow in the organization. The group said “no.” (PDF)

“The quick answer to your questions is that Dr. Forrester is not, and never has been, a member of ACPM (much less a Fellow, which is our highest designation of membership),” the group told Rose in an email. “However, this is troubling to us, too, that he’s apparently claiming to be a Fellow of ACPM, and we would like to know where Dr. Forrester is making these proclamations so that we can approach him and demand that he cease falsely using ACPM credentials in his campaign or wherever else he’s using it.”

North Carolina’s legacy media, such as WRAL, also attempted to contact Forrester about the discrepancy but he did not return requests for comment.

As of Friday morning, the contested portion of Forrester’s website still named him a fellow in the ACPM.

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