'Homosexuality Isn't Natural or Healthy'

Bush's nominee for surgeon general has incited gay rights groups.

ByJake Tapper
November 17, 2008, 6:38 PM

June 7, 2007 — -- President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., wrote a paper in 1991 that purported to make the medical argument that homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy. Doctors who reviewed the paper derided it as prioritizing political ideology over science, and Democratic aides on Capitol Hill say the paper will make his confirmation hearings problematic, if not downright bruising.

Holsinger, 68, presented "The Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality" in January 1991 to a United Methodist Church's committee to study homosexuality. (Read the paper here.) The church was then considering changing its view that homosexuality violates Christian teaching, though it ultimately did not do so. Relying on footnotes from mainstream medical publications, Holsinger argued that homosexuality isn't natural or healthy.

"A confirmation fight is exactly what the administration does not need," said David Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, who predicted the paper would cause a "minor storm" among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"You have to wonder given the quality of some of the nominations that have gone forward recently, whether the selection group in the White House has gone on vacation," Gergen said. "There has been a growing criticism the administration favoring ideology over competence, and this nomination smacks of that."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events