Originally published: Sept. 30, 2011, 9:17 a.m.
Last updated: Oct. 3, 2011, 10:16 a.m.

CHARLOTTE — After days of hot attention from LGBT media and blogs, North Carolina state Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston) has opened up and responded to accusations that he falsified some medical credentials and affiliations on his résumé.

Anti-gay lawmaker James Forrester has been accused of falsifying credentials and memberships on his résumé.

“What has happened is the gay community — the homosexuals don’t like the bill that I pushed through the General Assembly,” Forrester told qnotes via phone. “They don’t like the bill. They are trying to kill the messenger. They are working to discredit me but they can’t.”

Forrester added, “If I put anything on my résumé that is false, I’ll certainly change it.”

Any mistakes, Forrester said, were “inadvertent.”

“I don’t need to make up credentials; I have enough of them already,” he said. “The gay community is just trying to dig up anything bad about me to discredit me and discredit the bill. I wish they’d quit sending such hate mail and the terrible phone calls I’m getting from them.”

Forrester also said he had already changed his résumé to list “former” affiliations with groups like the American College of Preventive Medicine, though mentions of the groups remain unedited on his résumé at his personal campaign site and at a web page on the Gaston County Republican Party’s website. In each instance, Forrester’s citations seem to indicate a current and active affiliation with various groups.

Pam’s House Blend blog contributor Scott Rose broke the news of Forrester’s alleged falsifications on Sept. 29 when he published communications with the ACPM Executive Director Michael Barry and other staff. Barry said that Forrester is not a member or fellow.

A certificate in Forrester's office confirms a past affiliation with the American College of Preventive Medicine.

qnotes traveled to Forrester’s medical practice on Sept. 30 and did find a May 30, 1984, certificate naming Forrester a fellow of the ACPM.

Barry said Friday that his group’s records didn’t show Forrester’s 25-year-old fellowship and that their records don’t go back that far.

“At one time he might have been a member or a fellow but he’s certainly not a fellow now,” Barry said.

Barry declined to comment on Forrester’s claims about gays’ and lesbians’ lifespans.

“From our standpoint, he’s not a member and hasn’t been for a longtime,” he said. “If he was an active member we might be concerned, but he’s not.”

The ACPM’s code of ethics encourages physicians to “maintain an honest and forthright relationship with patients and communities” and provide “information that reflect[s] the best available level of scientific evidence.”

WRAL’s Laura Leslie reports that officials with the Aerospace Medical Association confirmed a past associate fellow status for Forrester, though it lapsed in 2005.

“Dr. James Forrester was a member but his membership lapsed in 2005 for non-payment of the required annual dues,” AsMA Membership Coordinator Gloria Carter told Leslie. “Dr. Forrester was an Associate Fellow only at that time.”

Forrester said he thought he had lifetime membership in the group.

Questions had also surfaced regarding Forrester’s membership status with the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA). Searches of the Christian medical group’s membership database returned no results for the family physician and 10-term state senator. The group’s database includes practicing members who have opted to be listed. A search of doctors within a 100-mile radius of Forrester’s work address yielded no results for Forrester.

Forrester said he’s been a member of the organization for 25 or 30 years and has even worked mission trips with the group.

CMDA Vice President for Communications Margie Shealy confirmed Forrester’s membership.

“Senator James Forrester has been a CMDA member since 1980 and became a lifetime member in 2000,” Shealy told qnotes via email. “Not all of our members are listed on the doctor’s search on our website.”

On Sept. 29, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt issued a call for Forrester to resign. Equality North Carolina Interim Executive Director Alex Miller said it should come as no surprise the lawmaker misrepresented personal credentials just as he routinely misrepresents facts about the lives of gay and lesbian people.

Forrester made waves on Sept. 27 after appearing on Sirius/XM’s “Michelangelo Signorile Show,” in which he repeatedly refused to answer simple questions about claims he made on the lifespan of gay and lesbian people. The claims had originally been made at a town hall in Gaston County. The claims were later reported without refutation or fact-checking by Gaston Gazette reporter Wade Allen.

Forrester was the lead sponsor of the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment that would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. The measure was approved by the legislature on Sept. 13 and placed on the May 2012 ballot.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

5 replies on “Forrester: ‘Homosexuals out to discredit me’”

  1. Forrester has impugned his integrity.

    Instead of lashing out at the reporters who discovered the inaccuracies in his bios, he should have accepted accountability for those inaccuracies and had them promptly corrected.

    As Forrester has long engaged in disseminating inaccurate health care and health care statistics about gay people, in a political context in which he is seeking to curtail gay people’s civil rights, and as he is a doctor who should know where to find correct information, one is forced to conclude that he has been propagandizing against gay people not on the basis of science but on the basis of malice aforethought.

    In the Signorile interview, Forrester winds up saying he had from the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta the information that all homosexuals die 20 years prematurely. I have already learned from the CDC that they have no such statistic; they’ll be answering my questions in more detail by 5p.m. next Monday.

    Forrester next week is going to learn what it means to be “discredited.” He made his “discredited” bed and he is going to have to lie in it. (As if he hadn’t lied enough already). He at least could have told Signorile, “I think I learned that from the Center for Disease Control, but I want to double check on it and then I will get back to you so that we are giving the public accurate information.”

    Forrester now is attempting to dismiss as irrelevant his outdated bio information with outdated professional medical associations, yet that outdated and/or false info has been available to the public while Forrester has been engaging in his disinformation campaigns intended to demonize gay people. He does not in fact have the level of scientific medical authority that his bio would have voters believe he has. Even if his fraudulence in that were “inadvertent,” it is still fraudulence, and he is still a doctor and a state senator.

    Forrester alone is responsible for making sure that his published bio information is current. So why is he lashing out at reporters and gay people who discovered that his bio information isn’t current?

    The certificate he produced (which could conceivably have been counterfeited) nonetheless does not give him a current affiliation with the ACPM. He is in violation of their ethics code, with various of his public statements. And, were he under oath in a witness stand, he would not be able to lie about gay people the way he does.

  2. …even correcting his resume to list himself as a “former” member of an association that he hasn’t been affiliated with for nearly 30 years now is STILL intentionally deceptive and misleading. Many of these medical associations require not only annual dues, but continuing education to remain a member in good standing.

    …and if the man has noticed that some of his patients are dying twenty years prematurely, maybe he needs to consider the distinct possibility that it is because HE was their “doctor.”

  3. Forrester is trying to make himself out to be a martyr with this issue. Don’t stop exposing him or any one else willing to bare their bigotted teath! Someone who doesn’t feel any remorse for continual attempts to belittle, insult, and repress a minority group deserves all the ire of that minority group. If Forrester will not feel shame for his reproachable agenda, then he deserves to have a tarnished reputation.

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