It’s no secret that the influence of extremist groups like the clearinghouse for anti-gay junk science known as NARTH (the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) is steeply declining in the United States. But just in case anyone needs a reminder of why it’s important to continue relentlessly pushing back against these organizations, here’s a disturbing news item out of Australia courtesy of Gay Star News (emphases mine):

An Australian anti-gay hate group has compared gay sex to ‘swimming in a sewer’ and has suggested that it is as deadly as smoking.

Family Voice Australia made the claim through its VoxBrief newsletter in an article written by the wife of the group’s president.

‘Governments rightly discourage smoking and promote awareness about its harms, but there is often deafening silence on the serious health risks of anal intercourse,’ wrote Family Voice Australia volunteer researcher Ros Phillips.

The article claims that anal sex is far more dangerous than vaginal sex, that lesbians trend towards obesity, and that gay men have mortality rates far greater than heterosexual men.

Phillips, a former Sunday school teacher, has a science degree but no medical qualifications, and the article draws on material published by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals – a notorious American ex-gay group.

Groups like NARTH, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as the “main source” for phony anti-LGBT research, are continuing to export their dangerous propaganda abroad. And as the sad, sad case of Aussie “researcher” Ros Phillips illustrates, it isn’t just taking hold in places like Russia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cameroon, or Jamaica (what Wayne refers to as “loser nations“). Nope — the “ex-gay” industry, including the thoroughly-debunked oeuvre of “researcher” Paul Cameron, to which Ms. Phillips appears to refer, is making inroads even in industrialized democracies like Australia.

According to Gay Star News reporter Andrew Potts, Family Voice Australia is one of that nation’s “most strident anti-gay groups,” and it regularly lobbies state and national governments to oppose advances in LGBT rights. A former head of the organization’s New South Wales chapter, Rev. Fred Nile, is the national president of Australia’s far-right Christian Democratic Party; Nile is outspoken in his opposition to homosexuality and has also waged a multi-year crusade against Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and festival, praying for rain most years and warning “that God may one day judge Sydney like he did Sodom and Gomorrah if the parade continues.”  He also infamously blasted finance minister Penny Wong in 2011 when she and her partner announced that they were expecting a child.

It’s clear that even as they lose the LGBT rights battle in the United States, anti-gay extremist groups like NARTH are continuing to wage war on LGBT communities around the world. So we fight on.