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02/03/2012

ME's most 'marriage protect-y' Bishop out to alter more than just rights

by Jeremy Hooper

During 2009's "Yes on One" effort in Maine, I went to great lengths to show how much campaign co-head (and current FRC employee) Bob Emrich supported so-called "ex-gay" Screen Shot 2012-02-03 At 9.26.49 Amtherapy. So I have to say, I'm both thrilled and shocked here in 2012, as we gear up for a proactive ballot initiative to reclaim marriage in the state, to see one of the most prominent people behind that earlier effort, Portland Bishop Richard Malone, coming right out and pushing the idea that gays should "change" or remain celibate via the Catholic Church's "Courage" program:

Maine Bishop Launches "Ex-Gay" Group [J.M.G.]

To be perfectly honest, I don't think we've ever come close to nailing the "ex-gay" thing in any of our campaigns. Our side's guiders tend to hear "ex-gay" and think of some wacky thing that won't play with the public, which I totally get. But the thing is, there is no more concrete proof of how much beyond the "protect marriage" rhetoric our opponents would like to go, if left to their own devices. So in campaigns where the other side pretends to be focused only on promoting a good (i.e. "traditional marriage), it would be kinda, sorta good if we let the public know that these same people who are leading the other side's campaigns are also pushing the idea that gays should either alter or stifle their sexual orientations.

I'm not even suggesting we should have campaign ads on the subject, or press releases, or anything that official. But I do strongly believe, as someone who watches this stuff year round and then watches this stuff even more intensely during campaign season, that we need to message this "ex-gay" thing out to the public and the media just a little more. The vast majority of voters -- particularly within that much cherished movable middle -- don't speak in "culture war" terms. They don't know their "ex-gay" from their "Courage" from their holes in the ground. It is our job to connect these dots. That's the burden! It is our duty to make sure the public is basing their vote on the most accurate, fully fleshed out information as possible.

So when that info involves a concerted effort to go beyond the ring finger and onto the very cores of LGBT people? It's important. And they're handing it to us on a silver an "ex-gold" platter. Let's use it!

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