When Dan Savage speaks, controversy follows.
Savage catapulted into the national consciousness in 1991 with his trailblazing sex advice column, “Savage Love.” His humorous advice for people to pursue fetishes and kink between consenting adults bolstered his name and reputation. He wasn’t afraid to be brutish, candid or provocative.
The outspoken gay activist has seen his popularity rise over the past few years thanks in part to his many projects, including co-founding the “It Gets Better” project, hosting an MTV show, and embarking on college speaking tours.
However, as Savage’s inflammatory remarks and his signature provocative demeanor have found a bigger audience, the advocate for all things sex has stirred up controversy whenever he speaks. He’s also caught the ire of allies who feel his combative techniques are hypocritical for someone who is trying to wipe out bullying.
And, unlike in the pre-YouTube days of the ‘90s, Savage’s comments are now immortalized on the Internet, in videos that his critics occasionally try to use against him.
Here are the four most controversial Savage comments captured on YouTube:
4) “Every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council.”
On Monday, Savage spoke to a crowd at Winona State University in Minnesota and laid into the president of the Family Research Council, a right-wing advocacy group.
“Every dead gay kid is a victory for for the Family Research Council,” said Savage, adding that FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, “sits on a pile of gay dead kids every day when goes to work.” In a blog post Wednesday, Savage not only reiterated his statement, but stood by his remarks reasoning that Perkins tells parents to rejected their gay children and challenged the FRC to sue him.
3) “We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people.”
At a National High School Journalist Conference in April, Savage lambasted parts of the Bible’s for it’s anti-gay wording. He told Christians to ignore “the bullshit” the Bible says about gay people, provoking some Christian students to leave the room.
“It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back,” he told the students who were leaving. He later apologized for his remarks.
2) “What the Pope is saying is there is no such thing as a straight person.”
Religious groups fumed when Savage “savagely attacked” Pope Benedict XVI in an April speech at Elmhurst College. He shot back at anti-gay claims the Pope made saying that same-sex marriage is a “threat to survival” and that gay children are beaten “because of religion.”
"The Pope recently said that gay marriage is a threat to the survival of the human race, because once gay marriage is legal, everybody’s going to get gay married," said Savage. “What the Pope is saying is there is no such thing as a straight person.”
Catholic League President Bill Donohue called for the university’s president to formally apologize for Savage’s speech. However, in a blog post shortly after, Savage stood by his remarks, calling out the hypocrisy in the religious groups attacks. He also called the Pope an “old queen.”
1) Savage agrees to debate NOM’s Brian Brown by writing “You’re on, motherfucker.”
Savage took on one his ideological opposites, The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, at an August debate moderated by New York Times writer Mark Oppenheim.
Held in Savage’s own living room, the debate was sparked by his earlier comments about the Bible’s and homosexuality. The right-leaning NOM took umbrage with Savage’s quotes, calling them “venal and ridiculous.”
The hour-long, somewhat civilized debate focused mostly on Christianity, with Savage arguing that the Bible doesn’t align with modern views of morality and life should not be used as an authority to outlaw same-sex marriage. Brown didn’t teeter from his talking points in defending the Bible.
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