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The Family Leader has removed link to anti-gay seminars
A link to a seminar series that presents homosexuality and its “second-hand effects” as a public health threat has been removed from the website of The Family Leader.
Julie Summa, director of marketing and public outreach for The Family Leader, said the seminar series has not been offered for around two years. However, up until Tuesday, a link to the seminar’s website was made available to anyone who signed up for e-mail updates on the group’s 99-county “Capturing Momentum Tour.” The Family Leader’s phone number is listed as contact info for anyone interested in booking the seminar.
When asked by The Iowa Independent why, if the series has not been offered for two years, it continues to be advertised on The Family Leader’s website, Summa said it was a mistake.
“The Second Hand Effects link shouldn’t be on our ‘Capturing Momentum Tour’ web page, which was created from an old template,” she said. “We plan to remove it as you are correct, we do not currently offer the seminar and have not had a full seminar in about two years.”
The seminar series, which is advertised as exposing the “public health crisis of same-sex activity,” was first discovered by the “Good As You” blog, but garnered headlines when it was brought up by reporters at a press conference organized by The Family Leader with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The group’s CEO and president — Bob Vander Plaats — said the seminar hasn’t been offered since he came on board in November and vowed to look into the continued mention of the series on the group’s website.
“It is a true statement that the seminar has not been held under his leadership,” Summa said Tuesday. “I verified with our staffer responsible for the seminar, and it has been about two years ago that our organization has offered a Second Hand Effects full seminar.”
The Family Leader was officially founded in November to act as an umbrella organization for the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) and Marriage Matters. On the IFPC home page, the group’s longtime leader — Chuck Hurley — is quoted as saying, “Because of their unwillingness to correct the error of last April’s Iowa Supreme Court opinion, the Iowa Legislature is responsible for sanctioning activities that will lead to dramatically higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa.”
The quote comes from a press release issued just before the one-year anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. In the release, IFPC argued that gay marriage was more dangerous than smoking.
“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking [in some public places] in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said at that time. “The second-hand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”
Days later the IFPC published information in its blog entitled: “What’s Worse — Smoking or Sodomy?”
Some of the arguments made by IFPC were later repeated by state Rep. Dwayne Alons (R-Hull) in an interview with the liberal blog Think Progress. He argued that homosexuality was indeed a public health concern, later claiming that being a homosexual reduces an individual’s life span.