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Gay Group Takes Protest To Home Of Focus On The Family

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Gay Group Takes Protest To Home Of Focus On The Family

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

July 23, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) Hundreds of gays, lesbians and their supporters ringed the headquarters Saturday evening of the conservative Focus on the Family.

Most of the gays came with their partners, many with their children. They held hands as they walked around the perimeter of the complex.

The protest, organized by the nondenominational group Soulforce, began last week in front of the state Capitol in Denver. Over the five days groups of same-sex couples and their kids marched in relay-style to Colorado Springs, picking up more and more people along the way.

Openly gay actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard who was murdered because he was gay, led the final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the FOF headquarters.

Focus has been one of the most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage and gay adoption. Soulforce organized the march and protest to counter what it calls a "disinformation campaign" aimed at vilifying gays.

"We're just here to show the beauty of the gay and lesbian family to those that may not know it," said Allen.

Last week at the kickoff rally at the Capitol, New York University professor Dr. Judith Stacey who accused FOF of twisting research on gays "to prop up unscientific claims". (story)

"I am deeply troubled by the ways in which Focus on the Family willfully misrepresents my research on lesbian and gay parenthood to support their ideological opposition to homosexuality," said Stacey.

"This politically motivated distortion of social science contributes to serious harm to lesbian and gay parents and their children."

She was the second noted scientist to accuse FOF of purposely misrepresenting research.

Last month Canadian researcher Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, said that Focus on the Family is incorrectly blaming an increased rate of suicide attempts on ``pro-gay advocates'' who tell lesbians they were born gay and must ``embrace homosexuality.'' (story)

Focus defends its statements. Although it did not attempt to engage any of the protestors in discussion the organization had spokespeople on hand to present its views to the media.

One of them, Melissa Fryrear, said she is a "former lesbian who found a way out" and is now a "gender issues analyst" at FOF.

"We don't believe that marriage should be redefined, we believe that children are raised best in the home of their mother and father," said Fryrear.

And she accused Soulforce of trying to push its agenda on her organization.

"They seem to be very intolerant of our positions and our ideals and what we believe," she said.

A handful of police were on hand but there were no problems.

This past spring Soulforce sponsored a 51 day cross-country trip to draw attention to schools that bar gay enrolment.

Called The Equality Ride it was marked by arrests when protestors entered a number of campuses.

The ride ended April 26 with the detention of 21 riders at West Point. (story)

Riders also were arrested at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; (story) Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma (story); Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia (story) which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson; and at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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