New York, NY, July 20, 2012 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced the addition of several anti-gay activists to the Commentator Accountability Project (CAP), focused on states that will vote on marriage equality this fall. The project aims to educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of many of those who are often interviewed or quoted in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives. It seeks to do so by providing critical context and information about such activists.
With marriage equality going before voters in a number of states this November, GLAAD today published the profiles of four anti-gay activists working in Maine to prevent that state from overturning its ban on marriage for same-sex couples. 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 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 calling the bill’s author “brilliant” and saying “Every evil that has penetrated our society comes disguised as a human right.” Another profile belongs to 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.”
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.
The GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project was first launched in March of 2012 with over 30 profiles of extreme anti-LGBT commentators. GLAAD’s Director of News and Field Media Aaron McQuade explained, “ ‘Accountability’ does not necessarily mean keeping anti-gay people out of the media. But if a reporter is interviewing someone who insinuates that his or her political opponent is ‘controlled by the devil,’ it’s the reporter’s journalistic responsibility to put that person’s opinion in perspective.”
Visit the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project at http://glaad.org/cap and follow the Twitter hashtag #GLAADCAP.