A lot of buzz today about a feature by CNN’s Kyra Phillips discussing a law in California that mandates research about curing homosexuality and whether it should stand. The 7+ minute interview includes two guests: straight legislator Bonnie Lowenthal and ex-gay activist Richard Cohen. Here’s the video, off YouTube (thanks NGBlog).
While the segment includes balance and Phillips handily challenges Cohen, the bigger problem is that the segment about whether homosexuality can be cured doesn’t feature any actual homosexuals. While Lowenthal is a worthy representative of the opposition and a wonderful spokeswoman as an ally, it’s always problematic when these kinds of conversations go on without having the people most effected by the legislation–gays and lesbians–represented on the panel.
I appreciate the challenge that Phillips has in not making the discussion too lopsided and Lowenthal does fine representing her point. And I disagree with some commentators who argue CNN shouldn’t have Cohen on as a guest. But it does a disservice to the debate to suggest people are evenly divided and therefore it’s a two-sided, equal disagreement. And it does seem that having an actual gay or lesbian person on the segment would have given some necessary context.