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To those fringe activists going after me for the Legatus matter

by Jeremy Hooper

As you probably know, I dedicated about ten minutes of my life this week to writing a post about a summit that the anti-gay Legatus organization will soon hold. My post was literally nothing more than two links to examples of things that Legatus has printed and holds dear, a listing of who was then-scheduled to appear at this year's summit, and one quick line about how I personally would not have made the choice to speak at such an event. I didn't send one email or make one phone call beyond my one post.

Other outlets picked up my piece, as they often do. By that evening, the publicist for one of the speakers I mentioned, Gary Sinise, emailed me to say he had dropped out. By the next morning, Fox News' Bret Baier was also out. By the morning after that, businessman and Republican politico Pete Coors was also off the roster. They made their own choices.

But of course some of the fringe anti-LGBT activists among us have responded with all kinds of angry claims of "militancy" and radicalism." Many of them have mentioned me by name, with all kinds of false assertions of what I supposedly did (is writing a simple post that does nothing more than respond to other posts and act of bullying? really?), what my supposed affiliations are (I'm no longer doing contract work with GLAAD, folks), and who I supposedly am (I'm flattered you all think I'm a group, but I'm really just a daddy who has almost no time to do this work nowadays but who still feels it valuable enough to press on). The ones who I know have written something about me and my role in the Legatus situation, all because other people told me, are Jennifer Roback Morse, Bryan Fischer, Austin Ruse, Laurie Higgins, and Peter LaBarbera. You can find their pieces online if you care; I don't.

But here's what I do know: those five people are five of the most over-the-top anti-LGBT activists around. When she was on senior staff with NOM, Roback Morse was always one of the biggest liabilities with her constant comments about homosexuality and why people supposedly shouldn't be involved with it. Austin Ruse, in a now-deleted column, has argued that countries should maintain laws on the books regarding homosexuality so that it "would help society to teach what is good, and also would prevent such truly harmful practices as homosexual marriage and adoption." Laurie Higgins has, on multiple occasions, likened her sought-after defeat of homosexuality with the defeat of things like Naziism and slavery (just this week she linked marriage equality to the Three-Fifths compromise). And Bryan Fischer and Peter LaBarbera are, well—Bryan Fischer and Peter LaBarbera.

Of course these people are going to defend an anti-gay conference. Duh. And so what? I am at a total loss as to why these individuals seem to think that their defense is somehow persuasive or compelling. The fact that they agree with the conference (which is also set to include the testimony of a celibate gay man involved with the Catholic organization "Courage") and disagree with the public scrutiny is PRECISELY MY POINT! It's also precisely the reason why even someone like Bret Baier saw a liability in the making.

Which brings me to the point I made last week about fringe, politically disconnected, largely echo-chambered activists and why I no longer care. This is the perfect scenario. Yes, these people who I used to write about on a near-daily basis are mad that people who they had thought were on their "team" are actually troubled by the anti-gay nonsense of the host group. Again, so what? Why wouldn't these people be mad? These are individuals who traffic in untruths and demonization about a minority population of humans. They defend groups that push similar ideas because that's the kind of world they want to create. Why would we expect anything but outrage? And why should I continue to care that politically powerless people who want the world to be more anti-gay are mad at me for making a point about the increasing lack of acceptance for public displays of anti-gayness? Moving on, as even their own movement largely has, would seem to be the more powerful statement.

The Legatus situation, if anything, shows just how right my new approach really is. The truth is that virtually none of the more mainstream anti-LGBT figures, including the ones who have no problems dipping their toes into more animus-soaked wells, have largely avoided this story. That's because they know that it was a clean effort on our part, a bad statement about their movement and its increasing lack of defense, and an overall driving home of a point about where we are headed as a country. When a conservative businessman, a right-leaning actor, and a chief Fox News political anchor feel compelled to pull out of this kind of event with very little pressure to do so, that is the statement I care about. The fact that people like LaBarbera and Ruse are pissed actually helps drive home my point, not theirs.

So rage away, my friends. I will continue to not call you "bigots," not attack you personally, not poke into your personal life, and not at all wish you any harm. But the difference between now and the past? I used to focus my efforts on your words and actions and activism. Now, I don't care about that either. Because you've all lost.

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