According to media reports today, the White House has invited anti-gay activist and retired NFL Coach Tony Dungy to join its Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Dungy actively campaigned for an anti-gay ballot initiative in Indiana that banned same-sex couples from being civilly married.
"President Obama was given a mandate to bring people together," said Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy at People For the American Way. "But his selection of Tony Dungy is extremely divisive. Dungy campaigned specifically to discriminate against a particular group of people, and he's been closely aligned with the far-right Indiana Family Institute."
As part of its campaign to ban same-sex couples from getting civilly married, The Indiana Family Institute pushed dishonest, over the top rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans, posting on their website: "The enemies of [legislation to ban marriage for same-sex couples] are far more dangerous than the media and even most Christians realize. They not only want to destroy marriage and create a society free from any and all sexual boundaries, they will spare no effort to attain their ultimate goal of silencing all those who oppose them."
At a 2007 banquet sponsored by the Institute, Dungy declared, "IFI is saying what the Lord says. You can take that and you can make the decision on which way you want to be."
"There's a Constitutional way for the government to work with religious groups, and it's appropriate for it to do so," said House. "But the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships council shouldn't be used to reward voices of intolerance like Tony Dungy. If President Obama is looking for a religious leader to offer counsel and advice there are better people to fill the role."
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