The far right nonprofit lobbying group, Concerned Women for America, has taken a giant stride toward becoming one of the nation’s leading Washington groups focused on sullying society’s image of gays and undermining their efforts to achieve equal rights protections.
On Tuesday, the CWA, which was founded by Beverly LaHaye in 1979 to counter “feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric,” announced its hiring of Lambda Report Publisher Peter LaBarbera. LaBarbera has, according to The Advocate, spent the past decade “opposing the ‘homosexual activist movement’.” LaBarbera has drawn attention for his public frequenting of sex clubs and S/M bars in Washington, D.C., to gather material for his Lambda Report. LaBarbera has also taken to the airwaves and the Internet to describe being gay as suffering from a sickness that could be cured by strict adherence to the Scriptures. Last April, LaBarbera accused gay lobbying groups of promoting “dangerous sexual practices and radical gender identities such as ‘transgenderism,’” and showing “utter contempt for those who defend a traditional sexual ethic.”
CWA, which was among John Ashcroft’s staunchest supporters during his Attorney General confirmation battle, lauded LaBarbera as a “leading expert on homosexual activism,” who has led a noble investigation of “the destructive influence of current culture trends on women, men, children and the institution of the family.”
LaBarbera’s hiring comes less than a month after CWA launched its Cultural and Family Institute headed by Robert H. Knight. Knight, LaHaye says, is a “renowned expert and media favorite on family and social issues,” and will focus the new arm of the CWA on confronting “homosexual activism and other forces that threaten to undermine marriage, family and religious freedom.”
Knight comes from the Family Research Council, past home of right-wing presidential candidate Gary Bauer, where he honed his knack for disparaging gays as a special-interest group intent on destroying American families.
In 1997, Knight, as the FRC’s director of cultural studies, lambasted American Airlines for providing domestic partner benefits for its gay employees and for a marketing strategy that targeted gays. “Well it’s immoral,” Knight said on FRC’s public radio program regarding American Airlines policies toward gays. “What are you going to develop next? A pedophilia market? You know, swingers flights? This is sexual immorality they’re promoting.”
Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way Foundation, said the CWA is setting itself up as the pre-eminent gay-bashing outfit in the country.
“Both LaBarbera and Knight have loudly offered crude commentary about gays and used inflammatory rhetoric to attack their efforts to attain equal rights in America,” said Neas. “Apparently and sadly, the CWA believes these men and their divisive tactics are worth promoting. CWA is bent on spewing more heated and harsh rhetoric about gays in our country, which can only exacerbate the challenge gay Americans face in achieving full equality under our nation’s laws.”