Family Research Council supports death penalty for gays
Update: via Dave Weigel, the FRC has issued a statement clarifying its actions vis-a-vis the resolution and denying it supported or supports the Ugandan bill. I suppose it depends how much you’re inclined to trust the words of J.P. Duffy and the FRC as to what impact this statement has on your opinions regarding the story. I suppose I’m inclined to take them at face value: the FRC are just blatant bigots, not complicit executioners.
At the very least, if what the FRC says is true, this whole episode has forced them to come out against the Ugandan bill publicly, which, to the best of my knowledge, they have not yet done.
Via Joe My God, the first quarterly lobbying reports for the Family Research Council show that it lobbied the Senate on CIVH Resolutiuon 1064, opposing the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill that, “broaden the criminalization of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same sex acts with people under 18 years of age.”
Money spent lobbying Congress by the FRC has been down in recent years from its 1998 high of $180,000. However, the FRC remains one of the most ardent and outspoken organizations on issues such as gay rights and abortion. And with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell looming, one might expect jump in the resources expended by the FRC on lobbying Congress.
The lobbying report documents, which are available in full here (via the Center for Responsive Politics), are, of course, quite vague and don’t state outright the FRC’s support for the Ugandan bill. What the documents do reveal is that the FRC lobbied the Senate regarding the resolution based on “pro-homosexual promotion”.
Taken together with the FRC’s position on homosexuality, what little information we do have winds up being fairly revealing.
From the Family Research Council’s website,
Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools. Attempts to join two men or two women in “marriage” constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution, and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures. Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.
Vague language aside, taking the FCR’s position on homosexuality into consideration with the statement that it lobbied the Senate on opposition to the Ugandan bill based on “pro-homosexual promotion”, it seems fair to conclude that the FRC was lobbying against the resolution.
Which, by inference, means that the FRC was, at the very least, opposed to condemning the Ugandan government’s action and thereby espousing tacit support for the bill via its prescriptive silence — along with the criminalization of and use of the death penalty for homosexuality and homosexual acts.
Joe suggests that FRC spokespeople like Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg need to answer for these actions the next time they appear to present a more moderate and publicly palatable image of the FRC. I couldn’t agree more.
To my mind, this is also an example of how more disclosure, not less, is needed in regards to the political contributions and lobbying of various groups. If there winds up being a chilling effect on these kinds of views due to public exposure, well then frankly so much the better.