The decision to have eleven-year-old
Will Phillips serve as grand marshal of the Fayetteville, Arkansas
gay pride parade has been labeled “child abuse” by social
Phillips attracted the attention of the
national media last year when he refused to participate in the Pledge
of Allegiance at school, saying gay people don't enjoy “liberty and
“I looked at the end [of the Pledge
of Allegiance], and it said 'liberty and justice for all,' and there
really isn't liberty and justice for all. Gays and lesbians can't
marry,” he told CNN in an interview.
Social conservatives have railed
against the unanimous decision to honor the boy.
Bryan Fischer, director of analysis at
the American Family Association, said Phillips was being exploited by
adults for “dark political purposes.”
“There is nothing about homosexual
conduct to be proud of and much to be ashamed of,” he told Fox
AFA President Tim Wildmon called
Phillips' inclusion a “form of child abuse.”
“He's obviously just parroting the
nonsense he's been told by manipulative adults,” Wildmon said in a
statement. “For gay activists to trot out this child and make him
the poster child for promoting unnatural sexual expression is a form
of child abuse.”
The group claims over 12,000 members
responded to an “action alert” to contact Fayetteville officials
demanding an end to the parade.
The protest has not derailed Mayor
Lioneld Jordan's plans to deliver the city's endorsement on Saturday.
“The mayor is still excited,”
Lindsley Smith, communications director for the city, told the
Flyer. “Everything's still on.”
Smith confirmed that the mayor had
received over 300 emails urging him to withdraw support by Wednesday
afternoon, but added that most of those communications came from
In March, Phillips accepted a Gay &
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award on behalf of
CNN producer Beth Marengo, who won in the Outstanding TV Journalism
Segment category for her interview with Phillips and his father.
“I know there are certain political
restraints that make action difficult, however lack of equality for
some is lack of equality for all and I think its time for us all to
get equal,” Phillips told a cheering crowd.