With marriage equality going before voters in four states this November, GLAAD has announced it will create local Commentator Accountability Project (CAP) profiles for anti-gay activists in all four states, beginning with those working in Maine to prevent that state from reinstating the marriage equality law passed by elected officials in 2009. GLAAD will also be adding anti-LGBT activists based in Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington to CAP.
Among the profiles published today is that of anti-gay activist Mike Heath, who has been quoted in local and national news speaking against marriage equality in Maine. Heath says being gay is “rooted in sorcery” and is a “child of the devil.” Another profile belongs to Bob Emrich, who is on record as telling gay people to “change” themselves to straight, and strongly supported a bill in Uganda that would have put gay people to death, distributing an article that called bill’s author “brilliant” and said “Every evil that has penetrated our society comes disguised as a human right.”
In addition to Emrich and Heath, GLAAD has added profiles for Carroll Conley and Paul Madore, with the aim of informing the media about the virulent anti-gay rhetoric that has been spewed by these activists in the past.
“It is the media’s responsibility to put these voices into context,” said GLAAD's President Herndon Graddick. “With voters set to decide on this issue in four states this fall, it’s now more important than ever that they know the full story about the extreme views of those seeking to prevent loving gay couples from getting married.”
In November, Maine will vote on an initiative that aims to restore the marriage equality law passed by elected officials in 2009. Maryland and Washington residents will vote to uphold or repeal marriage equality laws that were passed by elected officials earlier this year. In Minnesota, the ballot will contain a proposed constitutional amendment, entitled “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples” which would constitutionally ban marriage equality in the state.
In May, North Carolina-based activists opposed to marriage equality were added to CAP before the state added its own constitutional amendment denying legal recognition of marriage for couples of the same sex, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. That vote reflected the impact the media carries in such elections, as polls showed as little as 40% of all voters actually knew the full scope of the amendment they were voting on.
We will be sharing these profiles with local media in all four states with the intention of making sure voters know exactly where these voices are coming from when they speak out against marriage equality. These are not people who merely oppose same-sex couples getting married, they are people who oppose the existence of gay people, period. It is the media's responsibility to give audiences the complete story, and we call on the media in Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland to take that responsibility very seriously.