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08/27/2010

NOM and LaBarbera: Bound by a Gagnon

by Jeremy Hooper

Who connects the desperate-to-seem-mainstream National Organization For Marriage directly to the fringe, pro-"ex-gay" activist Peter LaBarbera? Answer: Robert Gagnon.

In the past month, Gagnon has made two notable anti-LGBT appearances The first was at Peter LaBarbera's so-called "Truth Academy," where Gagnon, a longtime ally and frequent contributor to Pete's anti-gay/pro-"ex-gay" work, was brought on to speak about the "biblical truth" on marriage. Here's Peter talking with his aggressive cohort Matt Barber:

(click to play audio clip)
*AUDIO SOURCE: 8/27/10 [Liberty Counsel]

Sounds like Gagnon was quite the "Truth Academy" star. Which is kind of like being the most entertaining character in a Christopher Guest movie: The most unaware (and therefore most committed) luminary in a situational sphere that most everyone but you recognizes as absurd.

But then just a week and some change later, Gagnon flew across the country to join Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse's official National Organization for Marriage affiliate, The Ruth Institute, for their annual 'It Takes A Family" conference:

Same man. Same views. The only difference is ownership of those views.

There's Pete, who proudly declares in reliably coarse terms that he wants to "change" gay people. He wants to stop gay people. And often, he uses Gagnon to do it. He's at least honest about his motives.

Then there's Ruth/NOM. They pretend they are all about the institution. About marriage. About not being against anyone, but rather for "tradition." And they would never, ever, EVER come out and fully admit their belief in or desire for "ex-gay" therapy. It's the whole "nice" vs. direct conversation that we're seeing around the Prop 8 legal strategy. In this case, NOM/Ruth are on the criticized side that went up in Judge Walker's court, while Pete (who said the Prop 8 proponents engaged in "namby-pamby...legal malpractice") is firmly on the critical side.

But at the end of the day, there is more overlap in terms of both viewpoint and intent than the "nice" side would ever publicly admit. Thankfully, their "pro-family" connections are starting to do that job for them.

***

**FOR MORE GAGNON INSIGHT: Read this open letter in which Gagnon peddled his "gays can and should change" views, as well as said that "the closest parallels to adult-committed homosexual relations is not ethnicity or gender but rather adult-committed incestuous unions and adult-committed polysexual unions": Prof. Gagnon’s Open Letter to U. of Toledo re: Suspension of Crystal Dixon [AFTAH]

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