Designated a hate groupSouthern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in a 2005 report, stated that the AFA, along with other groups, engaged in hate speech to "help drive the religious right's anti-gay crusade." Mark Potok of the SPLC determined that the turning point was 2003's Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court struck down Texas's anti-sodomy laws. After that, the Christian right spent millions on advertisements, and on pastor briefings organized by activists such as born-again Christian David Lane. Lane helped AFA put constitutional opposite-sex marriage amendments on the ballots of 13 states.
In November 2010, the SPLC changed their listing of AFA from a group that used hate speech to the more serious one of being designated a hate group. Potok said that the AFA's "propagation of known falsehoods and demonizing propaganda" was the basis for the change.
The AFA was greatly displeased with the designation as a hate group, calling the list "slanderous". In response to the SPLC's announcement, some members of the Christian right "call[ed] on Congress to cut off their funding." J. Matt Barber of The Washington Times said that the SPLC was "marginalizing" themselves by giving the AFA the same hate group designation shared by the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. Tony Perkins, the president of Family Research Council (FRC) – an organization also named a hate group – asked the SPLC to strike the new designation, but they held their position. In reaction, the FRC and the AFA joined with other "pro-family" organizations targeted by the SPLC to establish a new website, an online petition called "Start Debating/Stop Hating" to counter the SPLC, and they took out full page ads in two Washington D.C. newspapers, defending their work "to protect and promote natural marriage and the family." The advertisement stated the "undersigned stand in solidarity" with the organizations designated as hate groups, and that they "support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans." House Speaker-Designate John Boehner and the governors of Louisiana, Minnesota and Virginia were among those signing the statement. The SPLC addressed the new website statement; Potok was quoted by David Weigel of Slate magazine as saying, "the SPLC's listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities – and repeated, groundless name-calling." The American Independent News Network (AINN) noted that the AFA had recently denounced Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan as a lesbian unfit for office – AINN stated that "she's not" a lesbian – and that Fischer said Hitler's savage and brutal methods were only possible because he and most of his stormtroopers were gay. Jillian Rayfield of Talking Points Memo noted the irony in the website calling the SPLC a "radical Left" group "spreading hateful rhetoric" yet elsewhere declaring that the debates of the Christian right "can and must remain civil – but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent's character."
Despite the designation, conservative Republicans considering running for president have courted the AFA. Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, and Mike Huckabee appeared on Fischer's radio show in March 2011; each are politicians seeking support to win the Republican Party presidential primary in 2012.
STIRRING UP SHIT!
STIRRING UP SHIT!
STIRRING UP SHIT!
The National Organization For Marriage is now partnering with the American Family Association (an SPLC-designated "hate group," it must be noted) in order to place the following ad in a local Indiana newspaper (Columbus Republic):
NOM's Full Page Ad in Columbus (IND) Republic
Well that's one way for Maggie to more widely syndicate her column.
But you know, NOM and crew can deny the negative impact of marriage bans all they want. But I can tell you firsthand: I am someone who would not, at this point in my life, live or work in a state with such an amendment. And there are many others like me, a reality that is only going to increase over time.
Now, on the flip: Are there some people who might ONLY live in a state where the most precious governing document has been altered for the expressed purpose of discriminating against certain taxpayers? Perhaps. So that is what must be weighed: Which is the more sustainable value, equality or discrimination. I'd argue the former, ever more so as the calendar goes latter.
****UPDATE: Look at what NOM's partners at the AFA of IN want for gay people: