WASHINGTON, D.C. (Observer Update) - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today launched a website to confront right-wing lies and distortions repeatedly used to defeat LGBT equality measures. EndtheLies.org will counteract these mistruths with respectful dialogue and grassroots action.
The website’s launch coincides with today's oral arguments before the California Supreme Court on the National Center for Lesbian Rights/American Civil Liberties Union challenge to Proposition 8, the ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Justices will hear differing views on the constitutionality of the measure, as well as the validity of 18,000 marriages performed over the nearly five months when marriage equality was legal in California.
“Again and again, opponents of equality have claimed one shallow victory after another by telling lies about who we are as individuals, as loving couples and as families. These lies must be called out for what they are, not just today when we're reminded of the untruths that fueled Prop 8's passage, but every time the right-wing seeks to derail our progress by spreading distortions and inciting fear mongering," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Tools like EndtheLies.org will be critical to our community’s upcoming legislative battles, including passage of the Matthew Shepard Act in 111th Congress.”
EndtheLies.org features an interactive wall with videos, audio, pictures, and quotes, calling out those who maliciously use lies and misinformation to interfere with the LGBT community’s path to equality. By clicking on the panels of the wall, users can access more information about those highlighted, watch videos, add comments on multimedia discussion boards, and learn how to take action to counteract their misdeeds. The wall currently features anti-gay figures including the American Family Association (AFA), the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, Utah State Senator Chris Buttars, and Ken Starr, lead counsel defending Proposition 8. Users will also be able to nominate their own candidates for inclusion on the wall.
The site launches today with a petition against Ken Starr, who has argued that Proposition 8 should stand because of the state’s role in protecting the welfare of children. Starr has referred to the struggle for marriage equality as "seizing and hijacking the marriage relationship in order to achieve apartheid-type values." [source: http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=138]
Among the most common right-wing lies that will be refuted on EndtheLies.org are the following:
Lie: If hate crimes laws are passed, pastors will be prosecuted for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality.
Truth: Pastors will not be held liable for hate crimes based on preaching anti-gay sermons. The First Amendment protects a preacher from being charged as an accessory to a hate crime simply because of their speech. The Matthew Shepard Act only punishes violent crimes, not a person’s speech, beliefs or thoughts. In fact, the legislation contains language specifically protecting free speech.
Lie: Legislation that will provide employment protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity will force churches to hire homosexuals.
Truth: Federal employment non-discrimination legislation is sensitive to religious organizations and their fundamental beliefs and tenets, and includes a broad exemption for these groups, including churches, religious schools and other faith entities.
Lie: Homosexual acts have a key role to play in the spread of all STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Truth: HIV and STDs don’t distinguish by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic. Statements such as these hamper efforts to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases by spreading ignorance and misinformation.
Lie: Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry hurts children because studies show children need a mother and father to do well in life.
Truth: All scientifically reputable studies on the subject of same-sex parenting show that the sexual orientation of a child’s parent does not affect a child. Furthermore, all leading children’s welfare and rights organizations conclude that there is no measurable difference between children raised by loving lesbian and gay families and those raised by different-sex couples.
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