Anti-Gay Right Attempts to Link Maine Shooting Death to Marriage Equality
The anti-gay right has attempted to portray the shooting death of a gay Maine resident by another gay man as relevant to the question of marriage equality--and to tar both family parity and gays in general with charges of "debauchery" and "perversion."
Bruce Lavallee-Davidson, 50, of Skowhegan, Maine, has been an outspoken proponent of marriage equality rights for gay and lesbian families. He has also become the focus of anti-gay pundits in the wake of the April 18, 2009 shooting death of Fred Wilson, also 50. Lavallee-Davidson faces manslaughter charges in the case; he claims that he thought a shotgun he was handling was unloaded when it went off, wounding Wilson in the head and killing him. Though authorities have said that the shooting was accidental, anti-gay online articles have insinuated that the killing somehow sprang from the lifestyles of those involved.
The Christian Civic League of Maine authored an article that claimed the killing "played an unexpected role in the debate over same sex marriage in Maine," evidently because several days after the shooting, Lavallee-Davidson and his same-sex life partner appeared at a public hearing on marriage equality in Augusta. Lavallee-Davidson, the article said, told the hearing that he and his partner, Buck, were "married in the eyes of God."
The article did not explain how the shooting was directly relevant to the hearing or to Lavallee-Davidson's testimony, but it did claim that the accidental killing took place "after a night of drug and alcohol-fueled debauchery," and went on to report that Wilson had belonged to a Portland group called the Harbor Masters, which the article said was "dedicated to promoting the perversion of sadomasochism." Wilson's membership in the group, and his association with the Leather Museum and Archives in Chicago, "confirmed the conjecture that Wilson's death was related to sadomasochistic practices." The article offered no forensic or other evidence to substantiate the so-called "confirmation."
The article went on to claim that the mainstream press was ignoring or downplaying other instances of lawbreaking by gays, including a case in which a Duke University former This text will be the link was charged with horrific acts of child sexual abuse and the killing of a New York newsman who had solicited an erotic encounter on Craigslist.
"Curiously," the article went on to note, "Fred Wilson's home in South Portland," where the shooting occurred, "was less than a third of a mile from the home of Senator Larry Bliss, a former gay activist who chaired the hearing at the Augusta Civic Center." Continued the article, "It is not known if Bliss knew of the shooting by the time of the hearing, but Augusta police were aware that Davidson was present at the Civic Center."
Anti-gay religious Web site WorldNetDaily, which places every occurrence of the word "gay" in quotation marks, touted the shooting as a "'Gay on gay' attack" and quoted the Civic League in characterizing the accidental killing as "sordid."
The Civic League, reported WorldNetDaily, suggested that the mainstream media was deliberately playing down the story and omitted sinister aspects, although no specifics were offered. "Despite the sordid nature of the crime, reports published at the time portrayed Wilson and LaVallee-Davidson as innocent as choirboys," a quote at the site from the Civic League read. "To date, there has been no mention in the mainstream press of what actually happened in the basement of Fred Wilson's home in South Portland," where WorldNetDaily said authorities discovered Wilson's body following LaVallee-Davidson's report of the accident about 12 hours after it happened.
"Indeed, the mainstream press added to the confusion by reporting that the shooting was 'a kind of Russian Roulette' gone wrong," the Civic League quote continued. No alternative explanation was provided at WorldNetDaily, however, and text at the site did not contradict authorities that the killing had been accidental.
WorldNetDaily went on to claim that the mainstream media was either ignoring or downplaying other instances of lawbreaking by gays, including a former Duke University employee who was charged for horrific sexual child abuse he allegedly perpetrated against his adopted son, and the killing of a New York newsman by a young man he had solicited through Craigslist for an erotic encounter.