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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ex-Gay Leader Claims Gay Activist Said He Should Be Injected With AIDS

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM

click to enlarge Wayne Besen doesn't wish AIDS on anyone
  • Wayne Besen doesn't wish AIDS on anyone

Well, this isn't your typical fight among gays and ex-gays. An ex-gay advocate was sued after he went on television and told viewers that a gay activist had wished murder and harm on him. Gregory Quinlan may say he's no longer gay -- but he does have a flare for the dramatic, it would seem.

Quinlan appeared on WDCW-TV in October 2011 and told viewers that Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a nonprofit critical of the ex-gay movement, said Quinlan should get run over by a bus --  or better, injected with AIDS.

A Virginia judge ruled that Quinlan, the president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, didn't technically defame his gay nemesis.

Here's exactly what Quinlan said on the air:

"Wayne Besen. He's asked for people, you know, 'somebody

needs to run Greg over.' 'He needs to be hit with a bus.' 'Somebody

should inject him with AIDS.' Those are the things Wayne Besen and Truth

Wins Out says about me."

Quinlan later indicated that he knew Besen wasn't serious and that it was obviously "Wayne just being Wayne -- one part bluster, two parts hyperbole, and three parts hot air."

Greg Quinlan doesn't wish homosexuality on anyone
  • Greg Quinlan doesn't wish homosexuality on anyone
This certainly filled Besen with hot air -- angry hot air -- as he watched Quinlan cast him as a hateful gay activist who wished death on others. He asked Quinlan to retract his statement, and when the gay-cure leader refused, Besen did what any frustrated American would do: He sued.

Judge Henry Hudson -- who must have been given a hard time in geography class growing up -- chalked this up to nothing more than an emotionally charged public dispute about sexual orientation. He dismissed Besen's claims that Quinlan had defamed him on television.

"As a public figure, plaintiff must show that the allegedly defamatory

statements were made with knowing falsity or with reckless disregard for

the truth," Hudson wrote. "Reckless conduct is not measured by whether

a reasonably prudent man would have published, or would have

investigated before publishing. There must be sufficient evidence to

permit the conclusion that the defendant in fact entertained serious

doubts as to the truth of his publication."

The judge noted that establishing actual malice is no easy task, because the plaintiff needs very clear and convincing evidence that malice occurred. "Plaintiff has not met his burden, and his

defamation claims must be dismissed," Hudson added.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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