National Survey Released By Human Rights Campaign Shows No Impact Of Mark Foley Scandal On GLBT Issues

On October 13th, The Human Rights Campaign released a new
nationwide poll that shows the aggressively coordinated attempts by
anti-gay right-wing leaders and anti-gay groups to brand the Mark Foley
scandal as a gay issue are a resounding failure.

The new, nationwide poll shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe
that "this type of behavior is typical of politicians" over "this type
of behavior is typical of gay men." The poll also showed support for
either civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples at 66 percent,
which is consistent with other polls on the same question.

"Some right-wing leaders and politicians have tried to divert attention
from the congressional leadership's failure to investigate Mark Foley's
abhorrent behavior, and their cover-up in order to hold on to power, by
insisting that his being gay was the central issue," said Human Rights
Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Conservative politicians have tried
to promote prejudice against gay Americans, rather than push for
accountability in this scandal. Today's poll shows that Americans reject
their outrageous claims."

Since this scandal was made public on September 29, Tony Perkins, James
Dobson, Pat Buchanan and other ultra-conservative leaders have spoken
out numerous times to national media outlets pushing the idea that this
is a gay issue, in an attempt to shift the public's perception of this
inappropriate behavior and subsequent cover-up by the Republican
leadership on gays.

Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. conducted a poll of 806
registered voters nationwide from October 9-11, 2006. The results of
the poll show that the attempt to scapegoat gay Americans has been an
utter failure, as the American people continue to focus on the lack of
leadership displayed by the Republican leadership through this scandal.
The poll also finds the American people continue to believe gay and
lesbian Americans deserve the same rights and protections as all
Americans and their relationships deserve legal recognition.

The Human Rights Campaign has been monitoring what seems to be a
coordinated effort to place blame on the gay community and equate Mark
Foley's disgraceful behavior to the fact that he is gay. Below are some
of the quotes spewed by conservatives in their failed public relations
blitz to lay the blame on gays:

"The news is the Republicans have formed a circular firing squad, and
they're firing away. It's just insane, this atavistic spirit to find
blame just before an election. They'd be better to say, 'Well, this
man's gay, he does what gay people do, and so don't worry about it.'"
– Pat Robertson on "The 700 Club," Oct. 5

"If the Republican House leadership is guilty of anything, it is of
being too tolerant, of allowing Political Correctness, a fear of being
called homophobic, to trump common sense. Whether we admit it or not,
many male homosexuals have a thing for teenage boys, which is why so
many of them wind up with black eyes when they try to pick them up."
– Pat Buchanan, Oct. 6

"Democrats seeking to exploit the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL)
are right to criticize the slow response of Republican congressional
leaders to his communications with male pages. But neither party seems
likely to address the real issue, which is the link between
homosexuality and child sexual abuse."
– Tony Perkins, Message to Friends of Family Research Council, Oct. 2

"We are very concerned that the early warnings of Mr. Foley's odd
behavior toward young male pages may have been overlooked or treated
with deference, fearing a backlash from the radical gay rights movement
because of Mr. Foley's sexual orientation."
– The Arlington Group in a statement, Oct. 3

"For the sake of honest and open government, not to mention protection
of the children, the secret Capitol Hill homosexual network must be
exposed and dismantled."
– Right-wing blogger Cliff Kincaid, Oct. 9

"Where does post-modern American ethics place Mark Foley's homosexuality
on a scale of 1 to 10 – a 1 being just another gay guy and a 10 being a
compulsive, predatory sex offender?"
– Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor,
Oct. 6

"The fact that Americans find former Rep. Foley's alleged conduct
reprehensible shows we have not bought into the false ideology that 'all
sex should be celebrated' or that age of consent laws should be reduced
as some special interest groups demand. Not all 'diversity' should be
accepted and not all conduct or beliefs should be 'tolerated.' In the
real world, there is such a thing as right and wrong."
– Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, Oct. 3

"Here is the real problem. It has been known for many years that
Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied
with sex."
– Paul Weyrich on "All Things Considered," Oct. 4

"I think that this — there's an indication, there's clear research that
shows that homosexual men are more likely to abuse children than
straight men. And when it comes to government, yes, I have a concern
that any type of sexual deviancy is a problem."
– Tony Perkins on "Hardball," Oct. 3

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