Two of America's most infamous equality opponents announced the formation of a new international umbrella network of anti-LGBT hate groups at a press conference today at the National Press Club in downtown Washington.
The purpose of the organization, called the Coalition for Family Values, is "to unify and coordinate" anti-equality organizations around the world in order to most effectively obstruct the global push for LGBT human rights. It was unveiled by Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; both organizations are SPLC-certified anti-LGBT hate groups.
Other notable members of the still-growing coalition include Linda Harvey of Mission: America, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, and Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern.
LaBarbera -- who has traveled to Jamaica to spread his extremist anti-LGBT views -- and Lively -- who has spread homophobic propaganda in Russia, Uganda, Latvia, and Moldova -- were joined at the press conference by self-proclaimed "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan and Diane Gramley, head of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Family Association (another SPLC-certified hate group).
Lively said the launch of the group was timed to coincide with the close of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He lauded the government of Vladimir Putin for its wide-reaching, internationally-condemned crackdown on LGBT rights, including its ban on so-called "gay propaganda":
"[We] want to praise the Russian Federation for providing much-needed leadership in restoring family values in public policy, and to encourage the governments of the world to follow the excellent example that the Russian government has set...
"By taking these steps in the face of intense criticism and hostility by some Western governments and NGOs, the Russians have demonstrated the high value that they place on their children and the 'natural family' model of society. We believe that God will bless the Russian people for their faith and courage."
As Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade notes, LaBarbera echoed Lively's praise for Russia:
"The United States of America, especially under President Barack Obama has nothing to teach Russia and the world when it comes to homosexuality-based so-called rights and sexual morality," he said. "Russia has enough problems of its own to be worrying about U.S. liberals who are obsessed with promoting the normalization of homosexuality and gender confusion, even to children."
It was this praise for Putin that led to the emotional climax of the press conference: a dramatic confrontation between Lively and LaBarbera and a pair of LGBT advocates. Details, after the jump.
After Lively, LaBarbera, and Quinlan spoke at length, Gramley rose to make her remarks but was interrupted by LGBT rights activists Ellen Sturtz and Viacheslav Revin. Revin attempted to read a statement in Russian, which Sturtz intended to translate. At first Gramley tried to continue her remarks, but soon stopped talking as the incident escalated.
Security then escorted Sturtz and Revin from the room. As Sturtz left, she said to Lively, "Stop the killing that is going on in your name in Uganda and Russia!"
Video courtesy of Michael K. Lavers.
This is the statement that Revin, a gay Russian expat, intended to make:
Putin is a dictator who condemned to death thousands of orphaned children by banning foreign adoptions. Putin is a corrupted thief who invents scapegoats and deflects attention from his crimes. His latest invention is the anti-gay law, so gays in modern Russia feel like Jews back in the USSR. Declaring support for Putin means denying democracy and demanding racial segregation. This is what Putin is doing in Russia now in regards to gays and migrant workers from Central Asia.
Other Highlights: Same-Sex Families, Dan Savage, Matthew Shepard
Same-Sex Families: I asked Lively about the hundreds of thousands of families across the country and around the world headed by same-sex parents who are happily and successfully raising children. His response:
"I think there's a false premise in your question, in that these [households] are families. I don't believe that they're families. I think when two people who define themselves by a type of sexual behavior put their own sexual interests ahead of the interests of children, that that is not a family...
"[In] the case where one of the... adults in the household is the biological parent of the child, the other person in that household is posing as the opposite-sex parent. And a child being raised in a household by two men, for example, has a mom and a dad somewhere, but they're not together and they're not looking out for that child. And in place of the mom is another man, who is representing himself to be the equivalent of a mom -- and isn't, and cannot be."
Dan Savage: "I think a good example [of a non-family] is Dan Savage. Dan Savage has raised a son with his supposed husband. He's already admitted publicly to engaging in sexual three-ways -- his husband, him, and another man they both know; he advocates now for... straight couples with sexual problems, he advocates having secret adulterous affairs. And Dan Savage is now in the forefront of advancing these radical promiscuous values to non-homosexuals."
"And so I think that is what's happening with this agenda," he continued. "It's not that homosexuals are being made more monogamous, it's that homosexual values -- these reckless values -- are being imported into straight society."(LaBarbera)
Equality Opponents Are Treated Like Nazis: "Frankly, if you... look at the homosexual debate over the past couple of decades... people who are coming from my perspective are being censored. The majority of the population has never heard pro-family argumentation the way that we articulate it. [We're] suppressed -- when the gays find out that any of us is going to be on any news program they go after the news program for -- they equate any news entity treating our perspective with respect, as the equivalent of the Nazis, allowing a Nazi to speak on Judaism..." (Lively)
On Being Sued for Anti-LGBT Persecution: Lively described the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is currently suing him in federal court for the persecution of LGBT Ugandans, as a "Marxist law firm from New York City." He told the Washington Blade: "The purpose of the lawsuit is to shut me up because I speak very articulately about the homosexual issue from a pro-family perspective."
On "Ex-Gays" and Winnie the Pooh: "I'm here representing myself as a former homosexual, an ex-gay. I do exist, I'm not the only one. This isn't Winnie the Pooh and I'm not Tigger, so I am not the only one." (Quinlan)
LGBTs = Liars; Matthew Shepard's Murder a Hoax: "The LGBT community are liars! They are liars in virtually every story that they address. The Matthew Shepard case -- we have a federal law on the books criminalizing hate speech in America based on the Matthew Shepard case... it was a gigantic hoax!" (Lively, emphasis his)
On Whether or Not Kids Are Better in Orphanages Than With Same-Sex Parents: "If you have a child that's in a desperately poor condition, starving, then it would be better for that person to be even with armed robbers... I guess it comes down to what the context is, but most orphanages that I've seen... the kids are treated pretty well. And they're waiting to have a mom and a dad, and I think they deserve to have that option held out to them... I don't think that a household in which two people of the same sex are posing as parents is a good household." (Lively)
The rest of the nearly 90-minute press conference was filled with more of the same anti-LGBT smears, discredited tropes, and factually bankrupt attacks. Oh, and LaBarbera read from the Vagina Monologues (it was the first time I've ever heard "coochie snorter" at a press conference!) and pulled out an XY Magazine from 1999 to show pictures of twinky models in leather.
But while these wild distortions and outlandish antics seem almost laughably absurd to those of us whose moral compasses are firmly anchored in the 21st century, the recent successes of the American anti-LGBT right in Russia, Uganda, and elsewhere around the world show that supporters of equality dismiss Lively, LaBarbera, and their new "Coalition for Family Values" at our peril.
L-R: Viacheslav Revin, Ellen Sturtz, Leah Brown.