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Supreme Court Vacancy Draws Anti-Gay Attacks from Right Wing PDF Print E-mail
Apr 21, 2010 at 08:38 AM

Courage Campaign likens Focus on the Family and American Family Association's homophobic rhetoric to fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church

California's Southern Christian Leadership Conference president warns using religion to justify prejudice "breeds violence."

LOS ANGELES -- With the news of an impending vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, speculation about the possibility of a replacement from the LGBT community has set off a surge in anti-gay rhetoric from right-wing organizations across the country.

While a recent CBS News/Vanity Fair poll concluded that a majority of Americans would support an openly gay Supreme Court Justice, two right-wing groups have already announced their opposition to any gay or lesbian nominees to the nation's highest court.

In a statement, a spokesman for the American Family Association (AFA) denounced LGBT Americans "sexually abnormal," and "felons in a quarter of the states."

A spokesman for Focus on the Family (FOF) struck a similar tone, saying LGBT Americans were engaged in "sin" and do "not reflect God's created intent and desire for humanity."

This rhetoric drew a sharp rebuke from Rev. Eric Lee, California President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "It is particularly appalling when religion is used to justify prejudice," Rev. Lee said. "We have seen over and over that religion without a commitment to justice breeds violence."

It also brought swift action from the Courage Campaign -- one of America's fastest growing progressive advocacy organizations -- which has collected 51,643 signatures from Americans since Friday on a letter urging President Obama to disregard the right wing's divisive rhetoric in the process of determining his nominee to the Supreme Court.

"This latest shameful attempt to marginalize LGBT Americans only reinforces the necessity of passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)," said Courage Campaign Chair and Founder Rick Jacobs. "It also speaks to the importance of the Proposition 8 federal trial currently underway in California, which is exposing the lies and hollow arguments that have been used to deceive the public and dehumanize LGBT Americans for generations."

Last week's comments by Focus on the Family and the American Family Association were not isolated incidents on the extreme social right. On Friday, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council referred to gay Americans "harmful to society at large" in a blog published on WashingtonPost.com. Sprigg had previously advocated "criminal sanctions" for homosexuality on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" back in February.

"From equality in the workplace, to repealing the failed 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy, the extremist social right has consistently shown itself to be woefully out of step with the overwhelming majority of Americans," Jacobs added. "Even more troubling than their open advocacy of bigotry and discrimination is their reliance on the divisive rhetoric usually reserved for fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church."


The Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Supported by thousands of small donations from our diverse community, the Courage Campaign holds politicians accountable to progressive values, works for fundamental reform to our state's broken government, and trains and organizes activists to change their communities. http://www.couragecampaign.org

Rick Jacobs is the founder and chair of the Courage Campaign. He chaired Howard Dean's presidential campaign in California. He is also the co-founder of Brave New Films and a featured contributor to Arianna Huffington's Huffingtonpost.com. Rick has an extensive background as an international investor and senior executive.

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