A controversial anti-gay video will be
screened during this year's Value Voters Summit, the annual three-day
meeting of social conservatives.
The conservative meet up, which begins
Friday, is sponsored by Tony Perkins' Family Research Council (FRC),
an ardent opponent of gay and lesbian rights.
New right-wing phobias – “Obamacare”
and global warming – will be discussed alongside old obsessions
such as immigration, abortion and the rights of gay men and lesbians.
Gay rights, however, will take up more
of the conference's schedule than any other issue, and includes the
screening of the American Family Association's (AFA) controversial
documentary special on the “radical homosexual agenda” titled
Speechless: Silencing the Christians.
In the documentary, the AFA asserts
that proposed federal hate crime legislation would outlaw religious
speech, that employment protection laws force churches to hire gays
and lesbians, that gay men and women are largely responsible for
HIV/AIDS and all STDs, and that gay marriage hurts the family because
it deprives children of a mother or a father.
In July, hundreds of gay activists
protested outside the Florida offices of Tampa's WFLA Channel 8 after
executives decided to broadcast the video. The rally was organized
by several local gay rights groups including Equality
Florida and Pride
Tampa Bay, and the Metropolitan
Community Church of Tampa, a gay-inclusive Christian
denomination. The groups' pleas to not air the special had fallen on
But in other markets, gay activists
were successful in derailing the film's release, including WOOD-TV 8
in Grand Rapids, Michigan and WSXY 6.2 in Columbus, Ohio.
“There's a time and place to show
such hateful trash, a gathering of bigoted homophobes is the only
place,” R. Zeke Fread, director of Pride Tampa Bay, told On Top
Magazine in an email. “I'm sure Speechless will receive
enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation [at Value Voters
After WFLA executives aired the video,
organizers launched a campaign to convince advertisers to shed the
station from their advertising budgets.
Several companies agreed, including
Vintage Real Estate Services. In a letter to WFLA's parent company,
Media General, the company explained its reasoning.
“I regret to inform you that [the
board of directors of Vintage Real Estate Services] has voted to
boycott Media General and any of its affiliates for airing the
bigoted propaganda piece 'Silencing Christians' on WFLA. Our company
promotes equality and not hatred, it is our opinion that any
relationship with Media General is against the values of our
In addition to screening Speechless,
the conference will also host two single-issue sessions about gay
Focus on the Family Action Educational
Analyst Candi Cushman will told a breakout session on countering the
“homosexual agenda” in public schools on Saturday, September 19.
Later the same day, a panel of conservatives will discuss why gay
marriage threatens religious liberty.
Speechless will be screened on
the same day following these two breakout sessions.