Published on Saturday, March 4, 2000 in the San Francisco Chronicle
'Stop Dr. Laura' Website Receives 1 Million Hits In Just Two Days
by Elaine Herscher
A San Francisco group's protest against radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger for her view of homosexuality as deviant has picked up national steam.
Within two days of its inception on Wednesday, a Web site called Stop Dr. Laura had surpassed 1 million visits. The site encourages people to flood Paramount, producers of Schlessinger's planned television talk show, with complaints about giving her a wider forum.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will jump into the fray on Monday, with the entire 11-member board co-sponsoring a resolution demanding that Schlessinger tone down statements about lesbians and gays. And Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley said in a recent radio interview that her views ``make me sick to my stomach.''
John Aravosis, an Internet consultant who is part of an ad hoc group of gay activists who put up the Web site, said, ``She tapped into a core issue that really hurts gay people deep down inside; people read her quotes and flip out.''
Schlessinger, whose show has surpassed Rush Limbaugh's in the ratings, has been under fire for describing homosexuality as deviant and a ``biological error.'' Schlessinger, who spends three hours on- air each weekday helping listeners with their moral quandaries, preaches that sexual orientation can be changed.
Schlessinger was not available for comment, and a spokeswoman from Paramount would not say how many telephone calls or faxes the company received after the Web site's detailed directions on how to lodge complaints.
But Paramount's prepared statement said: ``We respect and believe in Dr. Laura's right to have and express her own point of view, just as we respect the individual opinions of all our talent, employees and producers.''
Last week, the Horizons Foundation, based in San Francisco and the nation's first lesbian and gay community foundation, complained that Schlessinger's harsh words are dangerous to gay teenagers.
The foundation submitted a letter to the three California stations that carry her show, including KGO- AM in San Francisco, signed by the Child Welfare League, the National Mental Health Association and Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of Harvard University's African American studies department, as well as by more than 175 individuals and organizations.
The signers asked Schlessinger to stop calling gays deviant and to stop supporting the notion that therapy can reverse homosexuality, an assertion that has been contradicted by the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association.
Schlessinger is not a licensed psychiatrist. She has a doctorate in physiology and a postdoctoral certification in marriage, family and child counseling. Her show reportedly has 20 million listeners and is broadcast in nearly 500 stations in the United States and Canada.
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle