Beware the Fox

If you are interested in working with us on this negotiation with FOXFAMILY (or in being trained for a civil disobedience if it is necessary later on), email us: fox@soulforce.org


BREAKING NEWS
FOXFAMILY EXECUTIVES AGREE TO NEGOTIATE
March 24 Protest and Civil Disobedience Postponed


To prepare for your Soulforce training for that March 24 event:

  1. Read the entire memo that follows giving you important background data.
  2. Take the Four Step Journey into Soulforce.

NEW:

News Releases:


A BACKGROUND MEMO ON THE SOULFORCE CAMPAIGN:
"To Bring Truth To Pat Robertson and the Fox Family…"

We have launched "The COMMITTEE to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel" to protest Pat Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance seen and heard across America three hours daily on the Fox Family Channel Network.

We are especially concerned with Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory attacks on sexual minorities. With all the gains made by thirty years of courageous activism since Stonewall, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans are still second-class-citizens in their own country:

  • denied the right to live and love openly by societal prejudice and the SODOMY LAWS,
  • denied the estimated 1,047 rights and protections that go with MARRIAGE,
  • denied the right to serve openly in the MILITARY ,
  • denied the right (in 41 states) to nondiscrimination in EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING,
  • denied the right (the current crisis) to ADOPT OR PROVIDE FOSTER CARE,
  • denied the right (a coming crisis) to retain CUSTODY of our own birth children,
  • denied the right to full membership, ordination, or marriage in our home CHURCHES,
  • denied the right to be a member or a leader in the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA,
  • denied the right to be included in national HATE CRIME legislation, even though we are among the primary victims of a still-growing siege of violence across the nation.

As a result, sexual minorities are ten times more likely to suffer from alcohol and/or drug ADDICTION. Young gay men are seven times more likely to commit or attempt SUICIDE. And a majority of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered sisters and brothers still live in closets of loneliness, self-hatred, guilt, and fear.

Because the Fox Family Channel broadcasts Pat Robertson’s 700 Club three hours daily, Fox Family has become a major source of the false and inflammatory rhetoric that leads to discrimination, suffering and death for sexual minorities.

In 1998, Pat Robertson sold his old Family Network to FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE for a reported $1.9 billion with the conditions that he would become Co-Chairman of the new Fox Family Channel and that Fox would continue to telecast his 700 Club three times daily. That program has become one of the nation’s primary sources of misinformation about homosexuals and other minorities.

In 1999, Pat Robertson re-assumed command of the Christian Coalition. He is determined to use his 1.7 million volunteers, his vast personal wealth, and his powerful media empire to superimpose his fundamentalist, anti-homosexual views on our nation. Mr. Robertson’s 700 Club is the flagship of that media empire.

In his fundraising letters, his books and pamphlets, and especially on the 700 Club, Mr. Robertson regularly uses the "homosexual threat" to raise money and mobilize volunteers. The Fox Family Channel has become the number one carrier of this tragic anti-homosexual campaign into the homes of our nation. We believe that Fox executives are as concerned as we are about their unwitting complicity in Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance, but are contractually in a bind. We want to help. However, our Committee Co-Chair, Dr. Mel White, spent seven years trying to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution directly with Mr. Robertson. He has refused to discuss the matter seriously.

Now, the Committee has spent eighteen months seeking to negotiate a friendly, off-the-record solution with the executives of the Fox Family Channel. They, too, have refused to discuss our concerns. On February 23, 2000, the Executive Committee of The Committed to Bring Truth To Fox marched on Fox Family headquarters hoping to meet with Richard Cronin, President and CEO. (See Feb 24 Press Release for details). Fox executives used security personnel to close down their headquarters rather than meet with us. On Friday, March 24, we invite you to join us on our second march to Fox. We are planning to close down Fox Family headquarters once a month until they take seriously our following demands:

  1. We ask that Fox Family arranges for our Executive Committee to meet with Mr. Robertson and Fox Family personnel to discuss our mutual concerns and to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution.
  2. We ask that until a mutually acceptable solution has been found that the Fox Family Channel places a brief Public Service Announcement before each 700 Club broadcast (not unlike the Surgeon-General’s warning about tobacco and alcohol). This PSA, produced as a public service by Fox, must state clearly that the views of Mr. Robertson and his guests do not necessarily express the views of other people of faith across the nation, nor of the Fox Family Channel or its sponsors.
  3. We ask that the Fox Family Channel offers us complimentary production and air time on a regular basis to respond to Mr. Robertson’s claims. But more than just a response to Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric, we would like to produce with the Fox Family Channel a program that provides a more positive and inclusive look at faith at work in all the beauty and diversity of our many faith traditions.
  4. We ask that the Fox Family Channel demonstrates to us that they do NOT reflect Mr. Robertson’s views of prejudice and exclusion in their own employment policies as they relate to gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

We cannot allow Mr. Robertson to continue bashing sexual minorities in his attempt to raise money and mobilize volunteers. The rhetoric is toxic, poisoning the national discourse, licensing hate crimes, leading directly to suffering and death. Today we are conducting this nonviolent direct action to confront the rhetoric and warn the nation.

The Clergy Committee has no desire to demean or embarrass Mr. Robertson or FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE. We know that the First Amendment protects their right of free speech. But we are convinced that Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric has far exceeded the limits of truth and of responsible public discourse. We are equally convinced that Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance has no business on a channel dedicated to family viewing.

It is our sincere hope that the executives at FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE will meet with us on March 24 (or sooner at their convenience) to begin negotiating a mutually acceptable solution. If they continue to refuse, we will launch a national boycott of the Fox Family Channel and its sponsors through our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques.

The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Co-Chair

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-Chair

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why This Campaign to Bring Truth To Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel? Prepared by Dr. Mel White, Co-Chair, Soulforce, Inc.

QUESTION: Why are you so upset about Robertson’s 700 Club? Is he/it so bad?

ANSWER: Following this Q&A presentation, you will find sample quotes from Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric. Just read from those pages. Then, decide for yourself.

QUESTION: Is there any evidence that what Robertson says actually leads to suffering?

ANSWER: Mr. Robertson and other religious leaders are misusing six biblical passages to support their claims that homosexual orientation is a sickness and a sin. They have ignored all the scientific and historic evidence that "it is as natural to be gay as it is to be left-handed." Worse, they have created an imaginary "gay threat" that causes parents to reject and even discard their own gay sons and daughters. This deluge of misinformation about homosexuality and homosexuals leads to suffering and even death. And Pat Robertson’s 700 Club has become a primary source of that misinformation.

QUESTION: How can you be so sure that the anti-homosexual rhetoric of Robertson and the others leads directly "to suffering and death."

ANSWER: There are quotes enclosed from letters that we’ve all received that illustrate the terrible suffering of sexual minorities who are victims of this misinformation. Now, with the murder of a gay couple by the Williams brothers, we even have "a smoking gun." On September 22, 1999, in the Shasta County jail, Matthew Williams told his mother why he and his brother, Tyler, murdered Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple in Happy Valley, California. "I had to obey God’s law rather than man’s law, "Williams said. "I didn’t want to do this. I felt I was supposed to…I have followed a higher law…I see a lot of parallels between this and other incidents in the Old Testament…They threw our Savior in jail. Our forefathers have been in prison a lot. Prophets…Christ…My brother and I are incarcerated for our work in cleansing a sick society. I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures."

QUESTION: Even if Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric leads to tragic consequences, what can Fox do about it? They signed a contract with him. Now they’re just keeping that contract.

ANSWER: Sounds like a testimony from a war tribunal. "We’re just following orders, doing our duty, keeping our contract." Once Fox Family executives realize that they have become the #1 voice of misinformation about sexual minorities because of their contract with Mr. Robertson, it is their responsibility to act with integrity, to do what is right for the families they serve. The least they could do is give us a chance to respond to Mr. Robertson’s untruths.

QUESTION: Do you want to see Mr. Robertson censored or his 700 Club cancelled?

ANSWER: No, we want Mr. Robertson to have the courtesy and the courage to hear the other side of the story. He refuses to hear our case, to examine the scientific, historic, psychological, and pastoral evidence about sexual orientation. He even refuses to hear biblical scholars who are certain that the passages he uses to condemn homosexuals are being misused. We’re afraid that Mr. Robertson can’t afford to hear the truth, that he’s raising too much money on the imaginary "homosexual threat" to learn the truth about homosexuals.

QUESTION: Other channels carry similar religious programs that include anti-homosexual rhetoric in their programming. They even carry the 700 Club. Why aren’t you after them?

ANSWER: Because Fox Family broadcasts Pat Robertson’s 700 Club three hours daily, they have become the #1 VOICE OF FUNDAMENTALISM. Fox Family is literally the primary source of misinformation about sexual and other minorities. We’ll get to the minor players once the major players understand.

QUESTION: Doesn’t the First Amendment protect Mr. Robertson’s right of free speech and the Fox Family’s right to broadcast the 700 Club?

ANSWER: Absolutely, it also guarantees our right to protest. We aren’t trying to censor Pat or have his program cancelled. We just want him to sit down with us long enough to hear the truth about sexual orientation. The First Amendment may protect the right to lie, but it doesn’t keep us from relentlessly protesting those lies.

QUESTION: Isn’t your real problem with Robertson, not with Fox Family? Why pick on them?

ANSWER: Actually, we’re trying to get through to Mr. Robertson by way of Fox Family. He’s refused to see us for more than seven years. We’re hoping that this action at Fox will get his attention, that the public will apply pressure on Mr. Robertson to take our concerns seriously. If he refuses, then we are asking Fox Family to give us time to respond to Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory rhetoric with the truth as we see it. If they refuse, we will go directly to the viewers and the sponsors of Fox Family and ask them to end their support.

QUESTION: Pat’s 700 Club is broadcast at 10AM, 11PM, and 2AM. How can it be dangerous to children when children aren’t watching?

ANSWER: Our primary fear is not that children will watch the 700 Club (though we hate to think of the consequences if they do). Our primary fear is that children and adults (who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered) will become victims of prejudice and misinformation because their friends and families watch the 700 Club and believe Pat’s untruths.

QUESTION: Do actually believe that Pat will ever change his mind about homosexuality?

ANSWER: According to Gandhi, giving up on Pat and on Pat’s ability to change is an act of violence. Pat is our brother, like us, a child of the Creator, a member of our human family. We will not give up on Pat until we find some third position that satisfies us both.

QUESTION: You say you are willing to be arrested trying to bring your case to the Fox Family Channel, isn’t that just playing for the cameras? Isn’t there a better way?

ANSWER: Actually, risking arrest, having a police record, going to court, paying a fine, risking misunderstanding is not just "playing for the cameras." These symbolic acts of civil disobedience require extra time, energy, and money. None of us has any extra time or energy, let alone money. We have very demanding ministries of our own. But in our congregations are thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people of faith. This rhetoric causes them great suffering and we owe it to them and to our own consciences to help cut off that suffering at its source.

THE EXTREMIST RHETORIC OF PAT ROBERTSON
NOW SEEN 2-3 TIMES DAILY ON THE FOX FAMILY CHANNEL

"…acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization."
Pat Robertson

"…The Bible says because of certain abominations such as homosexuality, a land will vomit out its inhabitants."
Pat Robertson

"I would warn Orlando that you are right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I would be waving those [gay] flags in God’s face if I were you."
Pat Robertson

"Homosexuality is a sickness… We will wage a fierce battle against attempts by the nation’s sodomites to force their lifestyle into the schools, the military, the government, business, and the church."
Pat Robertson

On gay marriage: "…they might as well marry rapists and child molestors."
Pat Robertson

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-biased media and the homosexuals who want to destroy all Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by an minority in our history."
Pat Robertson

"The homosexual agenda continues to make inroads into America’s public schools, and some are concerned that curriculums condoning and promoting the homosexual lifestyle will soon pervade our educational system."
Pat Robertson

"You were probably shocked as I was by the television pictures of the recent march on Washington by an estimated 300,000 homosexual and lesbian militants… If Christians and pro-family Americans fail to take a strong and united action today, we won’t recognize America tomorrow…an America that once honored God…"
Pat Robertson

"I am absolutely persuaded that one of the reasons so many lesbians are in the forefront of the pro-choice movement is because…these lesbians will never be mothers naturally, so they don’t want anybody else to have that privilege either."
Pat Robertson

"Some say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists…Nonsense! I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of anti-Christ."
Pat Robertson

MORE RHETORIC OF INTOLERANCE ON THE FOX FAMILY CHANNEL

Pat Robertson on Same-Sex Marriage [29 March 99]
"Why don’t they do services and ceremonies for rapists and child molesters…It isn’t a question about discriminating against certain [church] members. This type of union is not sanctioned by God…To make this in to a big civil rights issue is nonsense. This type of activity is sinful. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is…You’re asking God to bless [this same-sex union] and God isn’t about to bless it."

700 Club teenagers discussing homosexuality [16 April 99]
"It’s disgusting…Two guys get married and decide to adopt a little boy. Then two women get together and try to adopt a little girl…How are they born that way if they are introduced to this life style…All these gay people are getting all this attention…If we let down on our morals there…Gays are becoming too accepted…I wouldn’t want to be brought up in a household with two moms. I wouldn’t want my Mom sleeping with my other mom." (7:10)

Pat Robertson on Pedophilia and Homosexuality with "Dr. Laura" [19 April 99]
Trying to normalize pedophilia…American Psychological Association…Shocked and horrified…NAMBLA…Fascinating and shocking…Pedophilia is no longer considered a mental disorder. The same steps that quote normalized homosexuality unquote are being used to normalize pedophilia. We can’t look to the field of psychology for morality…Beat up the APA." (9:57)

Pat Robertson on the Power of the Homosexual Community [30 March 99]
"The homosexual community is extraordinarily organized. It has a strong influence in fashions, arts, motion pictures, the press, the communication media, the cutting edge technology of our society. And San Francisco seems to be at the center of a great deal of it. This blasphemous activity has been condemned by the Catholic League who is calling for some kind of boycott on San Francisco.

If Willy Brown, the Mayor, continues in this kind of activity, he may get a little mud on his Brioni Suits. It ill behooves the good folks of San Francisco to permit this kind of thing to continue. This is just horrible, outrageous. They are assaulting Jesus and assaulting God Almighty. They’ve been after me for a long time. Now they’re going after someone a lot more important. (11:45)

Pat Robertson’s stand against Hate Crime Legislation [11 March 99]
"Two people who were identified as gay killed and I deplore that kind of violence…But I don’t think there should be hate crime legislation coming out of Washington…We should do something to bring about a moral and spiritual revival so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. It keeps on happening because there’s so much rage building up in people. They are not under the control of the truth of the Bible. Any kind of so-called hate crime legislation is extremely ill advised. It has to do with state police powers and the states can take care of it very nicely…" (13:29)

Pat Robertson on the homosexual’s "Degrading Passions" [8 June 98]
"The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear in the book of Romans that the acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization. Whenever a civilization begins lesbianism and homosexuality as a widespread practice, that says, and I’m quoting the Apostle Paul… "Wherefore God gave them up…" and that’s to "degrading passions."

Pat on Gays and the Destruction of our Nation [8 June 98]
That is the word of the Bible so if the US wants to embrace "degrading passions", something the Bible says is an abomination against God. We’re not in any way, shape, or form hating any body. This is not a message of hate but of redemption. But if a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. If it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it will bring about earthquakes and tornadoes and possible a meteor. It isn’t something necessarily we should open ours arms to and I would warn Orlando that you are right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I would be waving those [gay] flags in God’s face if I were you." (25:06)

Pat Robertson on Homosexuals going to hell [20 January 99]
"We cannot have the government advocating immorality. Cause you’re sending kids to hell. That’s what it amounts to. You don’t understand. We’re talking about their immortal destiny. So people engaged in homosexuality say well I’m going to have a parade, I’m going to put your face in effigy, I’m going to do all these things. Well you can do all that you want to but God still says if you don’t repent you’re going to hell. That’s the way it is.

So if you love somebody you’ll say "There’s danger ahead of you. We love you. Look out!" If they don’t want to listen that’s their business. You can say, "I want my rights." "I want a parade." "I want to do all my things out in the park out in Washington or what have you." Well you what you want all you want to. But just be aware that God almighty is the ultimate judge and you’re not going to snow him. And He’s not engaged in political correctness. You’re not going to take advantage of God. He will not be taken advantage of cause He holds the ultimate cards in His hands. If we just realize and we condone the use of condoms we’re sending kids to hell. That’s how serious it is, you know." (28:30)

Pat Robertson on Gays "Polluting" the Boy Scouts [7 April 99]
"This is a case the ACLJ is in the Court helping the Boy Scouts on. I was talking to Cardinal O’Conner some years ago about Georgetown University. The DC was forcing Georgetown to spend money for a homosexual group on campus, which went totally against Catholic policy…It was a Catholic school. Instead of appealing up the Supreme Court to get a good ruling. They knuckled under and accepted that and started funding this organization. I said to Cardinal O’Conner who is a brave man what would you have done. He said, I would have shut Georgetown down.

I believe that’s the way it’s got to be. If so called Lambda wins on this one I know it’s Draconian. I don’t think they’re going to win. But if they win it would be time to shut the boy scouts down. Rather than have them polluted by this mess and that’s what it is. It isn’t civil rights at all. It’s trying to introduce deviant sexual practices. As someone said Sodomy is not a civil right. It shouldn’t be. It never has been. To make it such is an abomination. It’s time we stand up and speak up on these things. It’s just wrong. The thing facing us now If this society is twisted in that direction, the only thing we have looking down the road is the awful judgment of God on America. It’ll effect everybody. If you stay quiet at home and say that’s not my fight. Don’t you believe it? It’s your fight for yourself, your family and your future.

CBN Commercial [11 March 99]
The facts of a story are important. They have to be clear. They have to be right. But it’s just as important to get to the heart of the story and show how it touches your life. Only one news source takes you from information to understanding. The 700 Club. Watch us right here. Or log onto our web site for more information. See the world from here.

"The more I get to understand the homosexual condition, the more I see it to be a deep seated developmental disorder. At first I thought it was just a sexual problem. Now I see it as an identity problem…I have never met a homosexual who had a loving, respectful relationship with his father. If the boy’s overtures to the father are ignored or rejected, the boy eventually detaches himself from his father and rejects his masculinity."
[One of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club Guests]

Link here to order a copy of the 30 minute video THE RHETORIC OF INTOLERANCE featuring Pat Robertson’s rhetoric and Mel White’s response.

Remember, If you are interested in marching with us on the Fox Family Channel, March 24, 2000, email us for more specific information: FOX@soulforce.org

Why Are We Marching?

Soulforce vigiling outside Focus on the Family headquarters in 2005On May 1, 2005, despite freezing weather, nearly 1000 people joined Soulforce for the "MAYDAY Family Picnic & Protest" outside the entrance to Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since then, James Dobson has amplified efforts to impose his narrow interpretation of the Bible on the entire nation; thereby jeopardizing the integrity of our U.S. Constitution as well as the civil liberties and religious freedom of all Americans.

James Dobson is heard on the radio in 162 countries, reaching over 200 million people in 21 languages each day. His mega-media empire churns out dishonest portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as he twists the psychological research to falsely claim that same-gender families are disordered, destroy heterosexual marriage, harm society, and seek to hurt children.

Most importantly, Dr. Dobson has become a powerful political figure who can motivate millions of fundamentalists to call, write, and fax Congress by simply making a plea on his radio program. In 2004, Dobson formed "Focus on the Family Action", a 501(c)(4) that does not carry the same IRS fundraising restrictions as the 501(c)(3) Focus on the Family. In the first six months of existence it raised nearly 9 million dollars, the equivalent of $50,000 a day, much of which was used to fight against marriage equality for same-sex couples by supporting antigay constitutional amendments all over the country. Focus diligently works to keep "Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell" in place and, as a result, thousands of courageous lesbian and gay service members are unjustly discharged despite risking their lives for our great country. Focus is one of the largest financiers of Exodus International and so-called "reparative therapy" programs, damaging the hearts and souls of countless innocent people with misinformation and outright lies. The Southern Poverty Law Center listed Focus on the Family as part of the growing and dangerous "antigay industry" because of the shameless manner in which they spread prejudice for profit and fear for funds. All fair-minded Americans must stand united, speak boldly, and peacefully hold James Dobson accountable for the lives destroyed in the wake of his false teachings.

That’s why we are mobilizing a grassroots effort for the 1000 Watt March, Vigil & Concert (July 16-July 22, 2006). In the spirit of Gandhi’s 1930 Salt March and the many marches of the civil rights movement, we will walk 65 miles from a legislative symbol (the Denver State Capitol building) to the primary source of antigay misinformation (Focus on the Family). You have the option of walking with us all 7 days, the final 3 days, or just the last 3 miles. When we arrive on Saturday evening, July 22, you are invited to join us for our "circle of light" vigil around Dobson’s headquarters, followed by a high-powered concert under the stars featuring Billy Porter (www.billyporter.com) from Broadway!

So round up family, friends, and allies and let’s shine a bright light on Focus on the Family for the entire world to see. Do you know watt you are? You are a bright ray of truth in the world, and when you stand with the other "1000 watts of light", we guarantee you will be strengthened and renewed!

(See Talking Points for more information.)

Speaker Bios for the Teleconference on Lesbian and Gay Parents and Research

The following are the bios for the speakers participating in the Teleconference on LGBT Parenting Research taking place on February 26, 2007:

Judith Stacey, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology and Professor of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Stacey’s research examines changes in family, sexuality and society, with a current focus on gay family issues. Her publications include In the Name of The Family: Rethinking Family Values in the Postmodern Age (Beacon Press 1996); Brave New Families: Stories of Domestic Upheaval in Late Twentieth Century America (Basic Books 1990, U C Press, 1998), and Patriarchy and Socialist Revolution in China (University of California Press 1983), which won the 1985 Jessie Bernard Award from the American Sociological Assn. Her co-authored article, "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" (American Sociological Review 2001) received the Distinguished Article Award in Sex and Gender from the American Sociological Association. Professor Stacey’s research has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She served as an expert witness in the Canadian same-sex marriage case and in gay adoption and family rights cases in the U.S. A frequent public commentator on family change and politics, Dr. Stacey is one of the founders of the Council on Contemporary Families, a group committed to public education on family research.

Jean K. Quam, Ph.D. has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1980 and was director of the School of Social Work from 1991 – 2006. In December she was appointed Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development in the College of Education and Human Development. She earned her BA in Social Work from Moorhead State University, her MSW from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Areas of research interest include aging and marginalized populations, mental health and aging, and gay and lesbian aging. She is past President of the National Association of Deans and Directors of School of Social Work (NADD), a member of the NASW Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and Chair of the GLBT Issues Committee for NASW. She was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Trondheim in Norway. She and her partner of 20 years are the parents of two teenage sons adopted from Paraguay and Peru.

Brian J. Dew, Ph.D., LPC, CSAC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Georgia State University. Dr. Dew currently serves as the Director of the Atlanta Crystal Meth Task Force and is Atlanta’s representative to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Community Epidemiological Work Group, an international drug monitoring consortium. Dr. Dew is also currently serving as President of ACA’s Association of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues in Counseling (AGLBIC), a division of the American Counseling Association. He is the Founding President of the Association of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues in Counseling of North Carolina, the first statewide organization of its kind. Dr. Dew research interests include sexual minority issues (adolescent and adult), wellness, addictive disorders, group counseling, and counselor identity.

Serena Yuan Volpp, MD, MPH is the Unit Chief of the Residency Training Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital and is on faculty at the NYU School of Medicine. She is chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues.

Clinton W. Anderson, Ph.D. has been a member of the staff of the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1987. At the APA, Clinton is the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns Office, which is housed in the Public Interest Directorate and implements APA’s mission to "promote psychology…as a means to advance health, education, and human welfare" with a focus on lesbian, gay, and bisexual concerns. His activities include the following: (1) staff work for the APA Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns and other APA task forces and working groups; liaison with APA divisions and affiliated psychological associations; and representation of APA in coalitions and collaborations; (2) information, referral, and consultation on lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues in psychology to APA members, policymakers, policy advocates, the media, and the public; (3) policy analysis, development, and advocacy; and (4) supervisory direction of the APA Healthy Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students Project, a CDC-funded cooperative agreement aimed at increasing youth-serving organizations’ capacity to prevent HIV among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning adolescents. Clinton received his PhD in Psychology in December from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he was trained as a community and applied social psychologist.

The 1000 Watt March, Vigil, and Concert: Shedding the Powerful Light of Truth on the Anti-Gay Dishonesty of Focus on the Family

Families and friends from across America march with a powerful message for Focus on the Family: "Dr. Dobson—Learn from History. End Religion-Based Discrimination Against Our Families." Register today to attend or sponsor a family in the march.

July 22, 2006
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Featuring Actor Chad Allen, Broadway Star Billy Porter, and Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation!

New Location: Rampart Park
8270 Lexington Drive
6:00 pm

Beginning at 6pm, actor and activist Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead the crowd in a 2-mile justice march from Rampart Park (Google Map) to the entrance of Focus on the Family (Google Map). When we arrive we’ll hold a brief "vigil of light" and then celebrate the love and commitment found in our families and friends with an electrifying night-time concert under the stars featuring Broadway Star Billy Porter. The free concert outside Focus on the Family begins at 8:30, so bring your family and friends and help Soulforce peacefully deliver a bright message of hope to Focus on the Family: "Dr. Dobson—Learn from history and end your religion-based discrimination against our community."

OPTIONAL WEEK-LONG FAMILY MARCH: Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 21, 2006 Diverse families from across America will participate in this week-long 65 mile "relay" style march from the steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver to the entrance of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each group of families will take turns walking a 4 mile segment of the march during the week until we reach Focus on the Family on Saturday, July 22 (see details above). The purpose of the march is to help America connect the dots between the false and defamatory rhetoric that flows from Focus on the Family and the assault on the civil liberties of LGBT people and same-gender families. Click here for more information about how your family can apply.

Why are thousands marching to Focus on the Family on July 22, 2006?

James Dobson’s organization, Focus on the Family, has done much to help heterosexual families around the world. However, Focus on the Family, is also one of the world’s primary sources of defamation against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people and same-gender families. The misinformation that flows from Dobson’s radio and television broadcasts reaches millions of people each day in approximately 162 countries and 21 languages. Focus on the Family’s massive collection of books, pamphlets, audio/visual materials, and websites depicts LGBT people as miserable, lonely, disordered, sick, and sinful. Focus on the Family is also one of the primary financiers of the so-called "ex-gay" movement, and travels the country misrepresenting the scientific research on sexuality to thousands of people. Positive images and stories of LGBT people, committed long-term couples, and same-gender parents are never portrayed; giving people the false impression that gays and lesbians are unhealthy, broken and in need of "repair." Focus on the Family has powerful political establishments, called "Family Policy Councils," in approximately 40 states who work to prevent equality for LGBT people. These groups often lead the discriminatory political campaigns that pass constitutional amendments banning same-gender marriage, and work daily to strip away the civil liberties that protect our families and the freedoms of all Americans.

That’s why Soulforce is gathering thousands of people for a nonviolent direct action on July 22, 2006. Actor and activist Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead the march to Focus on the Family, and Broadway Star Billy Porter will perform his amazing and powerful evening concert of jazz, rhythm, and blues in front of Dobson’s complex. Lifting our voices in word and song, we will gather to show the public the loving and vibrant spirit of our community and peacefully call all fair-minded Americans to resist injustice. Throughout history, fundamentalists have misused religion to discriminate against people of color, women, and interracial families. Now, gays and lesbians are the target of their oppression. Together, we must peacefully demand that America learn from history and end religion based discrimination.

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Families Marching in the 1000 Watt March

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The Lutes-Stein family
The Lutes-Stein Family
The Allen-Lewis Family
The Allen-Lewis Family
The Berry-Sapp Family
The Berry-Sapp Family
The Wallner Family
The Wallner Family
The Foxworth-Thompson Family
The Foxworth-Thompson Family
The Botte-Beck Family
The Botte-Beck Family
The Royster-Kinsman Family
The Royster-Kinsman Family
The Brown-Wolf Family
The Brown-Wolf Family
The Lundin-Chacon Family
The Lundin-Chacon Family
The White-Nixon Family
The White-Nixon Family
The Calhoun Family
The Calhoun Family
The Chambers-Delorenzo Family
The Chambers-Delorenzo Family
The Graney-Flores Family
The Graney-Flores Family
The Mulder-Philyaw Family
The Mulder-Philyaw Family
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The Elkins-Hannold Family
The Miller-Winstead Family
The Miller-Winstead Family
The Dietrich-Webster Family
The Dietrich-Webster Family
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The Burns Family
The Aguilar-Perez Family
The Aguilar-Perez Family
The Hayes-Donlan Family
The Hayes-Donlan Family
The Sherrill Family
The Sherrill Family
The White-Nelson Family
The White-Nelson Family
The Reitan Family
The Reitan Family
The Phelan-McIntyre Family
The Phelan-McIntyre Family
The Hegarty-White Family
The Hegarty-White Family
The Clausen Family
The Clausen Family
The Plumb-Rosenberg Family
The Plumb-Rosenberg Family
The Veloz-Beltran Family
The Veloz-Beltran Family
 

A False Focus on My Family: Why every person of faith should be deeply troubled by Dr. James Dobson’s dangerous and misleading words about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community

by Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC

Order

In this 32-page booklet, Jeff Lutes begins by revealing Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family’s harsh and misleading anti-gay rhetoric. He then constructs a response to shed the light of truth using the latest in scientific, psychological, psychiatric, and medical research.

Featured sections include:

  • The Psychology of Fear: Five false and spiritually violent claims by Focus on the Family
  • Strange Science: How research is twisted to promote Dr. Dobson’s anti-gay bias
  • Dr. Dobson’s Deception By Omission: Those happy familes Dr. Dobson never told you about
  • Dobson’s Word is Not God’s Word: None of us own a copyright on the Bible or a patent on Christianity

Free Download
You can download a PDF file of A False Focus on My Family.

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You can order hard copies of A False Focus on My Family at the cost of $5.00 per copy from the Soulforce Store.

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Indicate the number of copies needed and send a donation of $5.00 per booklet to:

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Lynchburg, VA 24503

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For inquires about discounted bulk orders (more than 20 copies) please send an email to gary@soulforce.org.

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Soulforce National Action in Colorado Springs – Confronting the Untruths of James Dobson and Focus on the Family

Soulforce Talking Points about James Dobson and Focus on the Family

Why are people from all over the country marching 65 miles from the steps of the Denver State Capitol Building to the entrance of Focus on the Family for a vigil and concert?

  • Focus on the Family has become one of the world’s primary sources of defamation and dishonest stereotyping of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, couples, and families. That defamation flows to millions of people daily from his radio broadcast, website, e-mail alerts, video, audio, and print materials – contributing directly to the fear and panic that causes hate crimes, suicides, and many forms of emotional and spiritual suffering. There is not a single positive portrayal of a productive gay or lesbian citizen or a loving same-gender couple or family on Dobson’s radio program or in any of his audio, video, and print materials.
  • James Dobson wants to make America a fundamentalist "Christian" nation by imposing his narrow interpretation of the Bible on all Americans, thereby jeopardizing the civil liberties and religious freedom of all people and the integrity of our U.S. Constitution. He has unfettered political influence and direct access to the White House and federal government, as well as every state legislature through dozens of satellite organizations. To dramatize this dangerous collapse of the separation between church and state, Soulforce will march from a legislative symbol (the Denver State Capitol building) to the primary source of antigay misinformation (Focus on the Family).
  • Over 16 of America’s top health and mental health associations have issued research-based position statements that completely discredit Focus on the Family’s irresponsible and destructive claims. These include the American Medical Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and many others.
  • Focus on the Family sponsors Exodus International, discredited "reparative therapy" programs, and the "Love Won Out" conference – teaching parents that childrearing mistakes and family problems caused their sons and daughters to be gay, and that their children are now doomed to live miserable, lonely, and unhealthy lives unless they "change."

 

A Note From Clayton Gibson-Faith

Clayton and his partner, Mike Gibson-Faith were both trained and arrested in Cleveland.

March 2001

Dear friends,

Please let me take a moment to share my experience vigiling with the Phelps’ this weekend. Those of you who don’t know me may have noticed me in my Soulforce t-shirt shivering between the Phelps’ and the kiss-in at the U of M Diag yesterday. I was doing a "transforming hate into love vigil," breathing in my and others’ negative reactions to the anti-gay protest and exhaling peace and spaciousness and love. I did this meditation for the Phelps group as well, acknowledging with my meditation and prayers that they are equally victims of the misinformation and hatred that, now, they return to the world.

I was surprised when suddenly, working deeply with one of the Phelps women, I realized that she and I would be great friends if circumstances were different. The image of her and me laughing hysterically over a beer popped into my head!

Later on Friday, when the Phelps group protested at the Cube outside Michigan Union, I went out to sit near them again, intending to do the same vigil. While breathing and praying, I suddenly had the realization that all violence begins with the perception of "us" and "them." I knew that I needed to go and sit among the anti-gay protesters–in solidarity with their humanity, not their rhetoric–lest I fall into the trap of thinking "I/It" instead of "I/thou." That is, in order to genuinely work deeply with them, and to interact with them as individuals, I had to overcome my internal feelings of separateness from them. Because I had already done meditative work with my own anger and pain and frustration, I felt comfortable joining their group despite my "Stop Spiritual Violence" shirt.

The Phelps group was very hospitable to me, engaging me in small talk and Marge (Mrs. Phelps) and her 17-year-old son Jacob politely answered my questions, although they were very unkind to others. A Peacekeeper even heard my ‘beer-sharing friend’ comment that "she thinks s! he likes that guy [me]!" At the end, some shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me; that they hoped to see me later. I feel these were genuine expressions; that we were able to begin to communicate through such small niceties.

My experience today at the Aut Bar was similar. They did not accept the hot chocolate I offered them (it was very cold outside!), but they did thank me for the thought. James Leija, who was helping me carry the drinks, told me later that he perceived that the little girl with the Phelps’ really wanted to take the hot chocolate, and looked fruitlessly up at her father for permission, poor thing. Zach, the little boy, looked at me in confusion while I sat among them today, and tried to say something to me that I couldn’t hear and he wouldn’t repeat. It was very difficult watching the pathology of their family mission being passed on to these children.

In closing, thank you all again for your friendliness and hospitality to me this weekend. I cannot measure whether my transformation vigil had any broad metaphysical impact, but I know that I was transformed by my experience. My understanding of the interdependent nature of our being, of the inherent humanity and suffering of our ‘enemies,’ is deeper and more solid to me. I believe even more strongly that the Phelps’ and our other opponents are not our real enemies. They are just people, like us, who have been hurt and malformed without their consent. The ideas they espouse and the abuses they perpetuate are our enemies, but I believe that the path to real dialogue, and then, real peace, begins by acknowledging and honoring our mutual humanity. Turns out that was my work this weekend.

Thanks for listening.
Clayton

"Our comfort zones are the limited areas in which we find it easy to love. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job not to respect those comfort zones, but to bust them. We’re not at the mountaintop until any zone is comfortable. Love isn’t love until it’s unconditional. We’re not experiencing who we really are until we experience our perfect love." — Marianne Williamson

Discrimination in Adoption and Foster Care of Children

  1. Current State of Gay and Lesbian Rights to Adopt Children and Provide Foster Care

  2. ARKANSAS
    Task Force Denounces Arkansas Foster Care Ban

  3. UTAH
    State Agency to Consider Adoption Limits

  4. TEXAS
    New Texas Legislation Targets Gay Foster Parents, Sodomy

  5. NEW HAMPSHIRE
    Bill Would Allow Gays and Lesbians to Adopt, Be Foster Parents

For up-to-date information link to:
www.lldef.org


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CURRENT STATE OF GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS TO ADOPT CHILDREN AND PROVIDE FOSTER CARE

Our adversaries have worked hard to end any hope of gaining our rights to same-gender marriage. Now, they are beginning campaigns across the nation to end our rights to adopt children or to provide foster care for children in need.

In 1998, the Governor of California led the way in his executive order banning homosexuals from adoption and foster care. Our allies rushed to pass a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of marital status in state adoptions but that bill was dropped without a vote. It was the only pro-gay adoption bill introduced this year in the country. The anti-adoption and/or foster parenting bills introduced this year in five states are either dead or not likely to progress.


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2. ARKANSAS
TASK FORCE DENOUNCES ARKANSAS FOSTER CARE BAN

WASHINGTON, DC—January 7, 1999— The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounced a decision to ban gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in Arkansas from becoming foster parents. Yesterday, the Child Welfare Agency Review Board passed a resolution that would make Arkansas the second state to enact such a ban. As worded, the ban would prevent a child from being placed with anyone who has engaged in same-sex sexual behavior or anyone sharing a household with someone who has engaged in same-sex sexual behavior. There is a comment period, which will likely take a number of weeks and will entail five public hearings, before the ban will take effect.

"This ban is not about the welfare of children, it’s about attacking and demonizing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the Task Force. "Right-wing extremists are aiming their arsenal at our families more than ever before. We will face similar battles in a number of states this year, and we will do everything in our power to face down these lies, distortions, and myths with the simple truth," added Lobel.

Arkansas would become the third state to ban gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people from adopting and/or becoming foster parents. The New Hampshire legislature passed a law banning both adoption and foster care in late 1980s. Florida passed a law banning adoption in 1977. Also, in Oklahoma, people convicted under the state’s sodomy law are banned from adopting.

According to the Task Force, similar measures are likely to be introduced this year in at least three other states (IN, TX, MI). Last year, anti-adoption or anti-foster care measures were introduced in five states (AZ, CA, GA, OK, TN). All of them were defeated. Both the New Hampshire and Florida laws are currently being contested. In Florida there is a lawsuit challenging the ban, and yesterday in New Hampshire advocates introduced a bill (HB 90) that would reverse the law.

"Regulations like this are responsible for robbing thousands of needy children from loving, nurturing, supportive homes. It is time to listen to the voices of young people who know that what is important is a good parent, not a parent whose sexual orientation has been run through a government-sanctioned litmus test," said Felicia Park-Rogers, Director of the organization Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere and herself a 27-year old lesbian daughter of a gay man and a lesbian.

The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community and its allies, including the Interfaith Alliance for Equality, are organizing to prevent the ban from being enacted. "There are many serious problems with Arkansas’ foster care system. Rather than using time and resources to address them, the state is wasting them on a non-issue," said Judy Matsuoka of the Little Rock-based Women’s Project, and a coordinator of the efforts to block the ban.

Many organizations, including the Child Welfare League, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, and the American Psychological Association oppose the use of sexual orientation as a criteria in foster care and adoption placement.


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3. UTAH
STATE AGENCY TO CONSIDER ADOPTION LIMITS

SALT LAKE CITY – A proposal before the Board of Child and Family Services may prevent gay couples, lesbian couples, heterosexual couples living in common-law relationships and polygamists from adopting children.

Board chairman Scott H. Clark said state adoption standards are now silent on the issues.

"I don’t believe that given all the alternatives, it is a reasonable choice to permit people who are not married – be they man-woman, woman-woman, man-man or living together in a clan but not legally married – to be an appropriate adoption choice," he said.

The revision would not "limit or discourage single-parent adoptions," he said.

Family units

The proposal would require a "verification that adults present in the home are legally related to the (prospective adoptive) parent or parents by blood or legal marriage."

The board will conduct a public hearing on the proposed policy change on Jan. 22 at the Division of Child and Family Services.

Clark and his wife, Mary Beth, are the parents of 18 adopted children. Clark said he believes that married, heterosexual couples can provide adopted children the greatest degree of stability.

"I feel it is the duty and obligation of the division to promote those situations which are probably the most stable for children," he said. DCFS director Ken Patterson said Wednesday that "the division did not seek to put this on the agenda of the board. We think, in fact, there are more pressing issues for the division to deal with, like carrying through with the instructions (U.S. District Court) Judge Campbell gave us in September," referring to the David C. vs. Leavitt case that challenges Utah’s child welfare practices.

"We see this as an individual initiative of the chairman of the board," Patterson said.

While the division is not seeking guidance on the point, Patterson said he believes the policy should originate from the Legislature.

No bars on adoption

Although adoptions are handled by juvenile court judges in closed proceedings, some polygamist groups have moved to adopt children from other polygamist families. In 1991, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that practicing polygamy does not automatically make a couple ineligible to adopt, even though plural marriage is against the law.

In a 3-2 opinion, the court found that "neither the statute, the Constitution, nor good public policy justifies a blanket exclusion of polygamists from eligibility as adoptive parents."

Department of Human Services legal director Kate Lahey told the board in December that the policy revision may conflict with state adoption statutes, Utah case law and licensing rules.

There also could be constitutional challenges to the amendment. Otherwise, the Department of Human Services has not taken a stand on the issue.

Roz McGee, executive director of Utah Children, objects to the proposal. "I would be really disappointed to see this board take this kind of narrow position, which will surely involve you in a lot of public attention, media attention and perhaps litigation. It will distract your attention from some critically important areas you are addressing and should be addressing," McGee said.

SOURCE:
Judy Matsuoka of the Women’s Project is available at (501) 372-5113 for information about local efforts to block the ban. Felicia Park Rogers of COLAGE is available for further comment at (415) 861-5437.
Provo Daily Herald, January 7, 1999
The Associated Press


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4. TEXAS
NEW TEXAS LEGISLATION TARGETS GAY FOSTER PARENTS, SODOMY
By Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Associated Press

AUSTIN — Social workers are rigorous in their search for potential foster and adoptive parents. They call references, check criminal backgrounds and calculate finances.

And if two Texas lawmakers get their way, social workers will consider sexual preference, too.

State Reps. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, and Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, have filed bills to ban the placement of children into gay or lesbian households.

Chisum said such households provide an improper atmosphere for raising children.

"It is not conducive to Judeo-Christian beliefs and it can be destructive for the children," he said, adding that heterosexual couples offer the most solid home and best lifestyle.

Gay and lesbian advocates point to American Psychological Association studies which have determined sexual orientation is irrelevant to a parent’s ability to raise a child.

"People who support proposals like this say they are pro-family, but what more antifamily thing can you do than to say to children in foster care that we are going to deny you the opportunity to be raised by loving parents who could give you a good home and leave you in institutional care instead?" asked Matt Coles, director of the lesbian and gay rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services reports an average of 1,850 children are available for adoption each month in Texas for some 2,000 willing households. The numbers are even greater in foster care — about 11,000 children are living with some 6,000 licensed foster families on any given month.

Stewart Davis, an agency spokesperson, said matching families’ and children’s criteria is complex. Some children want to stay with their siblings and families often request a particular age, race, and gender.

"This legislation would reduce the potential number of families that could be considered for foster care and adoption," he said.

A state child welfare worker who sued the agency in September was the inspiration for the bills.

Rebecca Bledsoe, a 12-year employee of the agency’s Child Protective Services division, said the agency demoted her for taking a 3-month-old boy from a lesbian couple’s home in Dallas. According to a grievance she filed last year with the agency, she reasoned "homosexual conduct is against the law in Texas."

The law she cited also is up for consideration in the 1999 Legislature, which convenes Jan. 12. Rep. Debra Danburg, D-Houston, has filed a bill to repeal a clause in the Texas Penal Code which makes "sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex" a Class C Misdemeanor.

Suzanne Goldberg, a lawyer for the national gay legal group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, called the state’s 119-year-old anti-sodomy law an outrageous invasion of privacy.

"It licenses police to enter the bedrooms of consenting adults," said Ms. Goldberg.

In September, two Houston men were caught in the act while police were responding to a false report of an armed intruder. The men pleaded no contest to sodomy charges and then appealed with a motion to quash the charges.

The case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, as the men’s challenges are based upon state and federal constitutional questions involving privacy rights.

But Ms. Danburg may have a hard time getting the bill past Texas, where the anti-sodomy law has some staunch support.

"It is easy to see how society is going in the wrong direction; we don’t need to take any other barriers down that would further advance our decline in morality," said Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land.

Rep. Warren Chisum’s bill is HB 382. Rep. Robert Talton’s bill is HB 415. Rep. Debra Danburg’s bill is HB 337.

SOURCE:
Fort Worth Star Telegram
January 2, 1999
www.startext.net


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5. NEW HAMPSHIRE
BILL WOULD ALLOW GAYS AND LESBIANS TO ADOPT, BE FOSTER PARENTS
Associated Press, December 31, 1998

CONCORD, N.H. – Four-year-old Josh calls both Keryn Kriegel and June Bernard "Mommy."

Kriegel and Bernard are lesbian partners who have raised Josh and his younger brother, Spencer, as most parents do – from the decision to have children through the diaper-changing years and beyond.

But only Bernard, who got pregnant with sperm bought by Kriegel from a California sperm bank, has parental rights. Kriegel would like to adopt the boys, because she fears that if something happened to Bernard or they split up, she would lose any right to be part of their lives.

"You have anxiety buried in there,"she said. "What if anything ever happened to June? It’s the big uncertainty of what my rights would be to the kids."

But Kriegel can’t adopt.

Under a state law passed in 1987, gays and lesbians cannot adopt children or serve as foster parents. New Hampshire is one of only two states with such restrictions; Florida is the other.

That could change in 1999. Rep. Raymond Buckley, D-Manchester, has proposed a bill that would undo the ban on gay adoptions, passed during what he calls "the height of the season of hate."

The legislative debate in 1987 revolved largely around the belief that most gays were child molesters and could give children AIDS. One supporter of the ban argued that gay people wanted to "raise their own meat" to sexually molest.

A minority argued that most child molesters are heterosexual and the ban would be discriminatory. However, the state Supreme Court said in an advisory opinion the ban would be constitutional, so the law has never been challenged in court.

Buckley says his bill would help children by increasing the number of available foster and adoptive parents. Right now, there are 1,500 children in state care ranging from foster homes to residential programs, but only about 820 licensed foster families, according to the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.

"I don’t see it so much as a gay rights issue,"Buckley said. "I see it as a `What’s best for the children?’ issue."

Some would-be foster parents have challenged the law. Richard and Ruth Stuart of Laconia, who have acted as emergency foster parents a dozen times, balked when their license came up for renewal and the state said they had to sign a form stating there were no adult homosexuals living in their home. They refused to sign, even though neither one is gay.

"We felt that was unduly intrusive and nobody’s business and patently discriminatory,"Ruth Stuart told the Concord Monitor.

Betsy and Harold Janeway tried to become foster parents, but ultimately were turned down because two of their five grown children are gay, and the state wanted assurances those children would not visit their parents for an extended time.

"It is a purely homophobic law,"said Betsy Janeway. "Think what an incredible insult it is to a human being to tell that human being they are not safe people to leave children with. This is based on old myths about gay people and the confusion in many people’s minds between pedophiles and gay people."

The prospects for Buckley’s bill are uncertain.

In many ways, the tenor of the Statehouse has changed in the past 11 years. The governor and a majority of senators are Democrats.

Last year, the Legislature passed a bill giving gays and lesbians equal rights in housing, employment and public accommodations. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen signed it.

House Speaker Donna Sytek supported that bill, but she also voted for the ban on gay adoptions and foster parents 11 years ago. She could not be reached by the Monitor for comment on Buckley’s bill.

And some legislators have doubts about allowing gays and lesbians to adopt.

State Sen. Mary Brown, R-Chichester, said she believes in equal rights for everyone, but she fears Buckley’s bill would give the state’s stamp of approval to homosexuality.

"I don’t like the thought that we can have a society where all this stuff is absolutely normal, "she said. "I don’t think it is normal. I think it is deviant behavior."

Soulforce National Action in Colorado Springs – Confronting the Untruths of James Dobson and Focus on the Family

Soulforce volunteers march around the Focus on the Family campus

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For more information, and to read Dobson’s misunderstandings about LGBT people and families, please visit our new web site at www.DearDrDobson.com

This dynamic new site features video, open family letters,
and the document "A False Focus On My Family" that you can download!