As our regular readers will know, the Southern Poverty Law Center released an expanded list of anti-gay hate groups earlier this week as a part of a wide-ranging report on the state of hate groups across America. The report found an alarming increase of nearly 60 percent in the number of active anti-gay hate groups between 2010 and 2011.
Organizations joining the ranks of SPLC-certified hate groups include Mission America, founded by Linda Harvey, whom TWO has dubbed “the most homophobic woman in America;” Public Advocate of the United States, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and headed by Eugene Delgaudio, whose anti-LGBT bigotry is so extreme that he refers to the Student Non-Discrimination Act – which would protect LGBT students against bullying and discrimination in public schools – as the “Homosexual Classrooms Act;” and Minnesota’s notorious You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide ministry, fronted by radically anti-gay pastor Bradlee Dean, a hair-metal rocker who travels to public schools across the country delivering vitriolic “faith-based” anti-gay lectures to teenagers.
The latest edition of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report also contains an authoritative article detailing the hate and misinformation coming from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an “ex-gay” junk science group. This group is headed by radical extremist Joseph Nicolosi, whose theories on sexual orientation are so bizarre that he actually believes Bozo the Clown can turn people gay. NARTH has become the primary source for the faulty research and scientific distortions used by the religious right to justify their continued opposition to LGBT equality at a time when public opinion is swinging dramatically in the other direction. TWO’s Wayne Besen told the SPLC’s Ryan Lenz, “There’s no other play in the playbook except going back to the fire and brimstone.”
Minnesotans should take special note of the newly-expanded list. The inclusion of Bradlee Dean’s You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide International as an anti-LGBT hate group is notable because of the close ties between Dean, his organization, and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Before Dean dumped the notoriously anti-gay former presidential candidate for allegedly “going to the left,” she famously prayed for Dean’s traveling youth ministry to “multiply ten-fold,” helped the group raise funds, and made a guest appearance on Dean’s television show. Both Dean and Bachmann — whose husband’s Christian counseling clinic was busted for offering “pray away the gay” therapy last year by a Truth Wins Out hidden-camera investigation — are outspoken supporters of a proposed amendment that would write marriage discrimination into the Minnesota state constitution.
So-called “ex-gay” organizations have been at the forefront of the push for marriage discrimination in Minnesota, as documented in a recent report by Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent. Exodus International, the nation’s largest “ex-gay” umbrella group, has also decided to weigh in this summer, bringing its annual conference to St. Paul from June 27-30 – at exactly the same time that the debate over the proposed anti-gay amendment is expected to reach a fever pitch.
This is no coincidence. Truth Wins Out plans to be on the ground in Minnesota during Exodus’s road show, and we look forward to collaborating with local and state organizations to fight back against ‘ex-gay’ lies.