During CNN’s Early Start on Thursday (31 May), co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield challenged Kansas Pastor Curtis Knapp, who recently called for the government to kill gays and lesbians.
But during the interview with a controversial figure, Banfield caused a controversy of her own as she tried to condemn Knapp’s comment that ‘we punish pedophilia, we punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.’
Banfield took issue with his attempt to compare homosexuality to pedophilia and incest and said: ‘Pedophilia is not by choice, last I checked. … When he says ‘they punish incest and pedophilia,’ please. Those things are often not by choice and are crimes. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice by people. It is voluntary.’
The group Media Matters for Equality says Banfield ended up doing a lot more harm than good.
‘A person’s sexual orientation is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ or voluntary – it is an immutable part of their identity,’ the group says on its website. ‘In her attempt to mock Knapp’s extreme anti-gay remarks, Banfield ended up reinforcing one of the right’s most damaging myths about LGBT people.’