Donald W. Wildmon, chairman of the rabidly anti-gay American Family Association, stepped down today, citing an illness resulting from a mosquito bite.
“The resignation comes following several months of hospitalization,” reads an AFA press release. “A bite from a mosquito carrying the St. Louis encephalitis virus caused Wildmon’ illness.”
Under his 30-years at the helm, the Tupelo, Mississippi-based AFA became obsessed with gay people and was a sponsor of 1998’s notorious ex-gay Truth In Love Campaign. The organization made a video with Truth in Love star Michael Johnston, who discussed on the video how he had prayed away the gay after he became HIV+.
In 2003, Johnston was exposed for meeting multiple men on the Internet and having sexual relations with them. The AFA acknowledged the scandal saying that Johnston had a “moral fall.” Amazingly, the AFA continued to sell “It’s Not Gay” and never bothered to tell viewers that the poster boy featured in the video was living in a sex addiction facility in Kentucky. (Indeed, the organization continues to sell the video and peddle the fiction that gays can go straight.)
In all my years in activism, the AFA is one of the most dishonest and hateful organizations we have dealt with. The group does nothing to support families, but spends its time gay bashing. Wildmon’s exit will, if anything, make the organization more radical and extreme. Donald’s son, Tim, will be apparently taking over.
AFA’s first big splash came when it accused Mighty Mouse of snorting cocaine. More recently, the group launched failed boycott’s against Disney, McDonalds and Ford, while also vigorously supporting California’s Proposition 8 to prohibit marriage equality.