GAY ACTIVISTS DEFEND ANTI-GAY SUPREME COURT CASE:
[From] Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
PO Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013
August 12, 2003
[To] Kenneth Saunders
Office of Human Rights
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Dear: Mr. Saunders:
We have learned through news reports that Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) has filed a complaint with the Office of Human Rights alleging discrimination by the National Education Association (NEA). According to the reports PFOX has been denied the opportunity to set up booths at NEA's last two annual conventions.
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC (GLAA) as you are aware has been involved with defending and strengthening the DC Human Rights Act (DCHRA) since it was first drafted in 1973. GLAA also faced strong criticism for defending PFOX's First Amendment rights to have their ads displayed at Metro stations last year. With this in mind, we feel very strongly that PFOX's claim is without merit.
NEA is subject to the DCHRA in employment and union membership and appears to be in full compliance of these provisions. However, their conventions are explicitly expressive events fully protected by the First Amendment. NEA, like any private entity and especially as an advocacy organization, is fully entitled to determine which groups and which messages may be promoted at their event.
This situation is substantially similar to the case in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston (94-749), 515 U.S. 557 (1995). In that unanimous Supreme Court case, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council elected not to allow a gay group (GLIB) from marching in their St. Patrick's Day parade. Justice David Souter wrote:
"Although the Council has been rather lenient in admitting participants to its parade, a private speaker does not forfeit constitutional protection simply by combining multifarious voices, by failing to edit their themes to isolate a specific message as the exclusive subject matter of the speech, or by failing to generate, as an original matter, each item featured in the communication. Thus, petitioners are entitled to protection under the First
Amendment. GLIB's participation as a unit in the parade was equally expressive, since the organization was formed to celebrate its members' sexual identities and for related purposes."
The NEA is similarly fully entitled to protection under the First Amendment. While the First Amendment trumps the DCHRA, we also fail to see how the NEA is in violation of the DCHRA itself.
NEA's conventions may fall within the definition of a public accommodation -- although they probably do not -- NEA has not denied PFOX members from attending the event. There is no provision requiring a public accommodation to make their space available to
all comers to offer their own goods or services, only that no one be denied entrance and full enjoyment of the goods and services provided.
Additionally, it is unclear what category of discrimination is being denied. Certainly not sexual orientation, as gay, straight and bisexual people are all in attendance at the conventions and NEA staff and members and presenters are also well represented across sexual orientation lines. It appears that NEA has only restricted PFOX because of their expressive message which is at odds with NEA's own mission and message.
This fails to be a violation of the DCHRA and is fully protected by the First Amendment.
We hope that you will be able to settle this case quickly.
Cc: Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays
National Education Association
American Civil Liberties Union/National Capital Area
For Immediate Release
September 1, 2003
The Joys of Being Private: Ex-Gays Keep Out
by Dr. Warren Throckmorton
Gay activist groups must really want to avoid ex-gays. Now that's a bold statement but witness the new love of the First Amendment by some gay rights organizations and their supporters. For instance, the oldest gay activist group in the nation, the Gay Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) came out in support of the National Education Association's refusal
to allow the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gay and Gays (PFOX) to exhibit at the NEA's national conventions.
This support is no surprise but the rationale is remarkable given the antipathy of most gay groups and the NEA towards those who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights to exclude gays from various private or religious functions.
In a letter from GLAA president Kevin Davis to the D.C. Office of Human Rights, GLAA supported the NEA's action to refuse PFOX convention space based on NEA's status as a private organization. Davis likened the NEA's exclusion to the 1995 Supreme Court case allowing the Boston Allied War Veterans to exclude the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston from the veteran's St. Patrick's Day parade. Simply, the veterans excluded a gay advocacy group so the NEA can exclude an ex-gay advocacy group.
OK, I understand the analogy as far as it goes. But what I don't understand is what the NEA gains by exercising its right to discriminate. When the Boy Scouts of America exercises its right to carry out its mission, the NEA and gay activist groups deliberately
attempt to undermine the workings of this private group.
GLAA recently opposed the appointment of a commissioner to the D.C. Office of Human Rights simply because he had past involvement in the Boy Scouts
. The same GLAA lauded a D.C. Office of Human Rights decision to fine the Boy Scouts $100,000 for removing two openly gay scouts from the private organization.
By resolution in 2001, the NEA went on record as opposing the use of public school buildings by groups that discriminate against gays and lesbians (read: Boy Scouts of America).
Since the NEA is now admitting to discrimination against ex-gays, will it pass a resolution asking school boards to boycott the NEA
? Absurd, huh?Absurd, yes, but so what? Here's the so what: The NEA through its teacher training materials, curricular recommendations and political action arguably has more impact on schools than any other professional group. Impact on schools could mean impact on our kids. Although many local schools work hard to screen materials for appropriateness, other districts simply pass on NEA recommended materials to their administrators, teachers and counselors.
Thus, what kids hear about sexuality in public schools may be influenced by NEA materials. With the NEA blatantly excluding any information about the flexibility of sexual orientation and options other than gay affirming, how will impressionable and confused
school kids get a fair chance to evaluate all their options?
As an outside observer, GLAA writes, "It appears that NEA has only restricted PFOX because of their (PFOX's) expressive message which is at odds with NEA's own mission and message." The NEA mission statement is "to fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all."
Now what is it about the expressive message of PFOX that compromises NEA's mission? The PFOX message is that science has not proven the origins of sexual orientation to be genetic or inborn, that people change their sexuality frequently and that identifying as gay or lesbian too early can lead to risky sexual experimentation. Do the leaders of the NEA think there are no ex-gay teachers, ex-gay school counselors, ex-gay parents of school students or adolescents with same-sex attraction who refuse a gay identity? This is another good question for us to pose to the NEA.
So I ask again: what harm would the PFOX ex-gay message do to the NEA mission and message? Unless the NEA has become an arm of the Human Rights Campaign or changed its name to be the Gay Education Association, I cannot see how letting PFOX in the NEA convention would undermine NEA's mission.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton is Director of College Counseling and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College. His research "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays," was published in the June 2002 issue of
the American Psychological Association's publication Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.Contact Dr. Throckmorton at firstname.lastname@example.org
PFOX -- Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays
Box 561, Fort Belvoir VA 22060
To subscribe to this Catholic ex-gay list, send a blank email to CatholicPFOXemail@example.com
Isn't homosexuality a disease state? It sure seems to kill a lot of folks. But even as they die due to their chosen degeneracy, they want the world to tell them 'they're just like everyone else'. How does living a lie till you die amke living better?
Yes, they have the higher of the morbidity and mortality rates than any other group.
God forbid those teachers at the conventions get a different side to the whole homosexual teens story. Looks like GLAA doesn't want any competition.