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08/01/2006

And by 'gay groups' they mean 'almost none of them'

by Jeremy Hooper

The consistently duplicitous folks at Focus on the Family are once again working their shady magic, today in a piece they've headlined "Gay Groups Announce Agenda 'Beyond Same-Sex Marriage'." Let's examine it, shall we?

In the piece posted on FOF's CitizenLink site, writer Pete Winn begins by saying:

To try to counter the family-values agenda, lesbian, gay and bisexual activist groups joined hands recently to publicly announce a new agenda.

They issued a major statement called "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships."

So right off the bat they are deliberately misleading readers, as the statement they mentioned (which supports marriage equality but also calls for a broader vision, saying "the struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families"), is, in fact, not endorsed by Lambda Legal, HRC, National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, GLAAD, GLSEN, PFLAG, the ACLU, Freedom to Marry, or virtually ANY major LGBT group. According to those responsible for the statement, it was released by "a diverse group of nearly twenty LGBT and queer activists - some organizers, some scholars and educators, some funders, some writers and cultural workers" who met in April of this year to discuss the current course of the marriage debate. And in many ways, the statement is actually CRITICAL of the so-called "agenda" of our major LGBT groups, and was not met with the warmest of receptions from some of their top dogs. So basically what FOF is presenting as a manifesto of the gay rights agenda is, in actuality, one opinion presented by a consortium of gay activists, writers, and straight allies who are simply fed up with the course of the fight.

Yet despite the non-endorsed, one viewpoint nature of the statement, the Concerned Women For America's Dr. Janice Crouse says of it:

"I think it's a declaration of war,"..."It's a warning for those of us that value the traditional family -- where there's a mother and a father and their children, either biological or adopted.

"This document very clearly says, 'Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or of relationships.' They are clearly going for redefinition of what it means to be a family."

A declaration of war, huh? Personally, we think some folks in the middle east may have a thing or two to say about that claim, but we digress. We move on to FOF's Glenn Stanton, who CitizenLink quotes as saying:

Glenn T. Stanton, senior analyst for marriage and sexuality at Focus on the Family Action, said it's now very clear that most gay activists never really sought same-sex marriage. What they really want is "anything goes."

"This statement fails to take account of the fact that the government recognizes, or sees, certain relationships as legal, because those relationships are essential and necessary to society," Stanton said. "That is, the society needs these relationships in order to be productive, healthy and prosperous."

So both Ms. Crouse and Mr. Stanton have continued along the "this one group represents the gay rights fight" course, continuing to present this statement as if it speaks to the one prevailing gay opinion. But that would be like us saying gay-accepting churches like the UCC speak for these "pro-family" types, simply because they all identify under the umbrella of Christianity. It's a completely disingenuous line of thought, and they absolutely know better. These guys analyze the gay rights movement with a fine tooth comb! They know that this statement doesn't have the support of the groups that they routinely challenge. They are intentionally misleading on this! They know that the majority of those who get their news from CitizenLink will just accept what they are saying as fact, then go off and tell their friends, families, and congregations, "Oh my, you'll never believe what the gays are doing to destroy marriage now!" It's enraging!

We're not saying the statement doesn't represent some gays and we're not passing judgement on its merits; there are certainly issues with the way we've fought the marriage fight. We gays are a large, diverse group of people who have many variances in opinion, viewpoints, and life experiences. We put ideas and opinions out here every day, and we'd never be so bold as to say we speak for the entire rainbow.

It's also not to say that every piece of everything that is released by the major LGBT groups automatically represents us. Just last week, we saw folks criticizing three of our major groups for releasing an ad campaign in support of marriage equality. Again, we are a broad, diverse community with differing opinions. But the opinion of one group of gay rights activists and writers is hardly one that should be used to represent a community of millions!

In a way we feel like we should actually thank Focus on the Family and this piece's contributers for giving us yet another bit of evidence for our files of "pro-family" duplicity. Because while we respect that each of the groups working against us have their own variances in viewpoints, it's shocking to see just how often chicanery pervades their rhetoric and actions. It makes one wonder why they must so frequently reply on fallacy to sell their own "agenda" to their unsuspecting followers.

Gay Groups Announce Agenda 'Beyond Same-Sex Marriage' [FOF CitizenLink]
BEYOND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A NEW STRATEGIC VISION FOR ALL OUR FAMILIES & RELATIONSHIPS [Beyond Marriage]

***UPDATE: Now the similarly-toned folks at Agape Press are taking the same course of action, yet with an even more bizarre approach. They are presenting quotes from Janice Crouse about some top-secret new "coalition" about which the Concerned Women For America has supposedly learned. They never name the Beyond Marriage group by name, but a very easy search for the text that they quote connects the dots. But Agape takes the duplicity a step further, going so far as to say that Ms. Crouse is deliberately "not identifying the groups signing onto this "new strategic vision," making it sound as if there are loads of prominent gay rights groups on board. Simply unreal!

We have contacted Ms. Crouse, Agape, and CitizenLink; we'll let you know if any reply.

***UPDATE2: CWA is now vaguely chatting about the statement and coalition, again presenting it as the new, definitive gay rights strategy. Tellingly, they never refer to the group by any name or designator, simply calling it a "leftist alliance."

***UPDATE3
: AFA now joining in, using the "Beyond Mariage" statement as a reason to encourage followers to write their lawmakers and encourage a marriage ban. Again, the info is presented as if all "pro-homosexual marriage proponents" are on-board.

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