SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: June 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
“(If same-sex marriage is allowed) barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself.” -- James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 2004 (mailed to over two million people and read on his March 24, 2004 radio broadcast).
James Dobson uses fear tactics to spread dishonest claims about gay and lesbian people and to frighten voters into denying families headed by same-sex couples legal rights and protections.
"Among dozens of other harmful lies, James Dobson says that families like mine are destroying the institution of marriage, harming children, and posing a threat to American society,” says Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce, an organization that uses nonviolent methods to confront anti-gay religious discrimination. "Because of Dobson’s wealth, power, and direct ties to the Bush administration, those lies are being used to justify legislative discrimination and bigotry at the local, state and federal level.”
* Thanks to the fear mongering of James Dobson and other right wing religious leaders, voters in six states will be voting on constitutional amendments banning both same-sex marriage and legal recognition or benefits of same-sex relationships this November.
* Several states are considering legislation to ban gay and lesbian couples from adopting, denying needy children loving homes.
* This year, after threats from James Dobson and other religious right figures, Congress reintroduced the Federal Marriage Amendment. Although this amendment has already failed in the Senate, the anti-gay rhetoric supporting it continues to use families headed by same-sex couples as political tools for turning out conservative voters.
Lutes, who is also a family therapist and father, continues, “James Dobson refuses to acknowledge the joy, comfort and support found in gay and lesbian families. Since all of our requests to meet with Dr. Dobson to ask him to stop his homophobic rhetoric have been denied, my family and hundreds of others are coming to his doorstep to confront him peacefully with the power of our love."
This summer, dozens of families from across the country will come together with Soulforce to confront the homophobic rhetoric of James Dobson and Focus on the Family in an event we’re calling: The 1000 Watt March, Vigil, and Concert: Shedding the Powerful Light of Truth on the Anti-Gay Dishonesty of Focus on the Family.
This July 17, same-gender couples, families with children, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and straight friends will undertake a week-long justice march which will commence from the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building. A diverse selection of families from across America will participate in the 65-mile "relay" style march; each group of families taking turns walking a 4-mile segment during the week until they reach the headquarters of Focus on the Family.
The purpose of the march is to help America connect the dots between the defamatory rhetoric that flows from Focus on the Family and the legislative assault on the civil liberties of LGBT people and their families.
On July 22, actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead the crowd in a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The crowd will encircle James Dobson's headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. Afterwards, Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream.
To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.
Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson". This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.