- April 3, 2014
An anti-gay group known as Florida Family Policy Council has requested to intervene in lawsuits challenging the Sunshine State’s ban on marriage equality. The organization and its president John Stemberger have campaigned extensively against pro-equality causes – including marriage – and in doing so have often made statements that are deeply steeped in homophobia intended to marginalize and stigmatize LGBT people. Check out some of their greatest hits from over the years:
1.) "These are not just people who have a same sex attraction and want to be left alone to freely define themselves. This is a radical group of political operatives who want to force their aberrant views on human sexuality upon the rest of society by the mandate and penalty of law." [John Stemberger, Aug. 2012]
2.) “Same-sex attraction has always been with us since the beginning of time. That’s nothing new. … What is new, and what is dangerous and what we oppose, is this artificial, social construct called gay. It’s in your face; it’s shoving down your throat; and it’s intimidation. It’s not just, ‘let’s be left alone and let’s just have rights.’ It’s now forcing everyone else to agree—by the force of law and lawsuits with money damages. That’s what we oppose.” [John Stemberger, Jun. 2012]
3.) "And so, we have laws against suicide. Well why is that? Well because I’m connected to, a woman in a marriage, I’m connected to a family with children, I’m connected to a business, a community, an economic system. If I blow my brains out, somebody’s got to come and pay for that and clean it up. There’s a cost - to things - and we don’t just live in an isolated situation."[John Stemberger, Sept. 2008]
4.) "Florida Family Policy Council president John Stemberger often asks 'Where it will stop? If gay marriage is legal, what will stop America from removing legal hurdles to incest or polygamy?'“ [Sarah Fowler, Oct. 2011]
5.) "You look at anything that has the world 'gay' on it in our culture, a gay magazine, a gay blog, a gay website, a gay parade, you name it, it's gonna be guaranteed to be inappropriate for kids. And that's what we're talking about; we talking about injecting hyper-sexuality and a leftist political agenda right into the veins of the Boy Scouts and it will utterly devastate it."[John Stemberger, May 2013]
On top of all of this, the Florida Family Policy Council website offers an extensive list of resources to help people with “Leaving the Gay Lifestyle.” In fact, many right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change his or her sexual orientation, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy. However, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy.
We’re looking forward to hearing Florida Family Policy Council’s potential arguments in court defending Florida’s discriminatory marriage equality ban. Click here to learn more about the cases out of the Sunshine State.