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03/28/2010

Mike Heath: Too contentious for Question One, perfect for 'One News Now'

by Jeremy Hooper

Mike Heath is one of the most incendiary figures to ever grace the "culture war" landscape. The former Christian Civic League of Maine/ Maine Family Policy Council head is in the Brian Camenker/Peter LaBarbera wing of the "pro-family" movement, but he's actually a bit to the right of even those folks.

In just the past year or so, we've observed Mike blaming gays for causing things like bad weather, local graffiti, and national economic crises. Or there was the time that he posted a picture of a local Mainer's bumper, claiming that the person was in support of sadomasochism, when in fact the sticker in question was to honor cops who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. And even before all that, we listened with interest as Heath gladly partnered up with extremists like Scott Lively to tell the world that "homosexuality deserves discrimination" and "must be discriminated against if we are going to have a healthy society." All in all, it's left us with a portrait of a man willing to say just about anything to hurt LGBT people, no matter how over-the-top, militant, or just plain dreadful the expressed thought may be.

Now, during Maine's "No on 1" campaign, this meant that Heath was tucked deeply in the closet, so that the campaign to strip gays of equality could be seen as "mainstream." It was obvious even to Mike's former pals that he was a liability, so even though the "pro-family" campaign heads had feted and spoken alongside him for years, they tucked him away when there was a vote at stake. Everyone knew it -- even Mike Heath himself.

Screen Shot 2010-03-28 At 8.11.39 Pm-1So who would possibly get in bed with Heath now, putting him back in a position of note? Well, the American Family Association, that's who:

In February of 2010, Mike Heath received approval from the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi to create their affiliate here in Maine. Heath is no stranger to the people of Maine. As Maine's most well-known advocate for family values, Heath unapologetically defends Christianity and Western Civilization. He is deeply concerned with the corrosive effects of the sexual revolution on Maine culture. His signature issue is, and will be for some time, so-called "gay rights." The people of Maine are renowned for choosing common sense over political correctness. They can easily understand why AFA of Maine advocates removing the phrase "sexual orientation" from Maine's laws and regulations. "Sexual orientation" is a term which may have limited value in personal therapy, but the phrase only causes confusion when applied to law and politics. Heath is adamant that sex outside of marriage is immoral and shameful. Society upholds the institution of marriage to protect men, women, and children. Sexual activity is only one small part of marriage; and homosexuality does violence to that institution.
[American Family Association of Maine]

So there ya have it. A national organization that's already teetering on the delicate precipice that separates the mainstream (they are a major sponsor of the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit) and the extreme (AFA columnist Bryan Fischer is among this nation's most eyebrow-raising voice) has put Mike back into commission. What that will mean, exactly, remains to be seen. But it doesn't indicate a political movement that learned in the Question One battle that they need to be a little more inclusive in their messaging. Instead, it further proves the disingenuous nature of our organized opposition: Connected in real and undeniable ways, yet purposely disconnected when national camera crews are paying attention.

Well we're always paying attention, and we'll certainly have a continued eye on the man who thinks we "do violence" to marriage. And when we reclaim marriage equality in Maine -- and we WILL reclaim marriage equality in Maine -- we'll be even more indefatigable than before, highlighting "Maine's most well-known advocate for family values" with every last fiber of our might, no matter how many curtains Frank Schubert/Maggie Gallagher/ Bishop Malone/ Bob Emrich coalition place around their movement's vastly more unsellable truths.

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