Profiles on the Right: Paul Cameron

Paul Cameron

Paul Cameron

Throughout much of the 1980s, Paul Cameron (b. November 9, 1939) lent dubious scholarly authority to the anti-LGBTQ movement through his prolific research and articles. In 1985, one publication described him as “the most dangerous antigay voice in the United States today.” But Cameron’s frequent use of bizarre statistical sampling techniques, sleight-of-hand logical tricks, and out-of-context (or fraudulent) references to other research papers damaged his reputation in the 1990s, and he is now regarded as a pariah by many of his former U.S. allies. As his domestic reputation has deteriorated, though, Cameron has cultivated a global audience, and his bogus statistics have been employed by anti-LGBTQ activists in Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, and elsewhere.[1]

Cameron, who earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1966, was among the first researchers to identify a possible connection between secondhand smoke and children’s health.[2] Beginning in 1978, his publications focused exclusively on homosexuality, [3] and in 1982, he founded the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality, later renamed the Family Research Institute (FRI).[4]

Cameron initially enjoyed considerable prestige among anti-LGBTQ activists, and his manufactured statistics appeared in pamphlets and publications put out by the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the Traditional Values Coalition. Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-CA) hired him as “an expert on AIDS” in 1985, just as Cameron was proposing that gay people with AIDS should be rounded up and quarantined.[5]

Cameron’s unethical misrepresentation of legitimate scientific research soon garnered the attention of his peers in psychology and the social sciences. He was ousted in the 1980s from the American Psychological Association and denounced by the Canadian Psychological Association and the Nebraska Psychological Association.[6] The American Sociological Association condemned him for having “consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism.”[7]

In 1999, Cameron published an article in his FRI Report newsletter that described how Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz, “knew how to handle homosexuals.”[8] From 2002 to 2005, Cameron collaborated with Thomas Landess, a member of the neo-Confederate movement and contributing editor of the pro-Confederate Southern Partisan magazine.[9] As a result, most U.S. social conservatives no longer cite Cameron’s work.

In 2008, he traveled to Eastern Europe and Russia, where he urged officials to ban LGBTQ advocacy and gay-pride parades.[10] In 2009, he toured Poland, where he was barred from speaking at a university following protests by faculty and students.[11] In 2008, 2009, and 2011 Cameron traveled to Moldova, where he gave several talks railing against an anti-discrimination law that included sexual orientation.[12]

 


[1] For example: Paul Cameron, Kay Proctor, William Coburn, Jr., Nels Forde. “Sexual orientation and sexually transmitted disease.” Nebraska Medical Journal 70, no. 8 (August 1985): 292-299.

Paul Cameron, “Domestic violence among homosexual partners,” Psychological Reports 93, no. 2 (October 2003): 410-416.

[2] Paul Cameron, “Children’s reactions to second-hand tobacco smoke,” Journal of Applied Psychology 56, no. 2 (April 1972): 171-173.

Paul Cameron, “Effect of home environment tobacco smoke on family health,” Journal of Applied Psychology 57, no. 2 (April 1973): 142-147.

[3] Paul Cameron, “A case against homosexuality,” Human Life Review 4, no. 3 (Summer 1978): 17-49.

[4] Southern Poverty Law Center, “Paul Cameron,” (Undated, accessed August 25, 2013): http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/paul-cameron.

[5] Tara Stevens, “Congressman’s new AIDS adviser,” Washington Post (August 19, 1985): D3.

[6] Gregory M. Herek,“Paul Cameron Bio and Fact Sheet.” Web page (undated, accessed August 25, 2013): http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_cameron_sheet.html. This article cites Nebraska Psychological Association. Resolution. Minutes of the Nebraska Psychological Association. (Omaha, Nebraska: October 19, 1984).

[7] “Sociology group criticizes work of Paul Cameron,” Lincoln Journal Star (September 10, 1985): 1.

[8] Jim Burroway,  “Paul Cameron’s World,” Box Turtle Bulletin (May 22, 2007): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,020.htm

[9] Jim Burroway, “Paul Cameron Announces a New ‘Journal,'” Box Turtle Bulletin (September 23, 2007): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/09/23/810

[10] Jim Burroway, “Paul Cameron Urges Russia to Suppress Gays,” Box Turtle Bulletin (June 20, 2008): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/06/20/2241

[11] “Polish Catholic University Cancels Conference on Homosexuality After Leftist Paper Accuses Speaker,” Lifesite News (May 8, 2009): http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive//ldn/2009/may/09050810

[12] Jim Burroway, “Paul Cameron Headed to Moldova,” Box Turtle Bulletin (October 15, 2011): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/10/15/37888

Jim Burroway, “Paul Cameron in Moldova,” Box Turtle Bulletin (October 25, 2011): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/10/25/38104