Gary Sinise bows out of Legatus summit, followed by Bret Baier and Pete Coors

The conservative Catholic organization (and magazine) Legatus is finding that its extreme and alienating anti-LGBT rhetoric is harming its reputation and ability to retain mainstream speakers. Just this week, actor Gary Sinise, Fox News anchor Bret Baier, and Molson Coors chairman Pete Coors, have all cancelled appearances at the Legatus annual conference, citing the controversial and extreme positions the organization has taken in regard to the LGBT community.

Sinise, Baier, and Coors are all conservative, but once made aware of the extreme views of the organization, decided that they didn't want their mainstream credibility harmed by association with the organization. You can see the distancing in each of their statements:

Gary Sinise was the first, releasing the following statement:

For me, faith has been a catalyst for my mission to honor the men and women who serve in our nation’s military. When I accepted the invitation to speak at the Legatus conference on Veterans issues and share my story, I was unaware of the controversy surrounding some of the participants, and their views on personal matters. I don’t want my mission—which is designed to be unifying—to be disrupted by these, or any controversies, and therefore have decided to withdraw.

He was followed by Baier:

Bret Baier has withdrawn his participation as a speaker at the upcoming Legatus Summit due to the controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine. Bret accepted the invitation to speak about his book, his faith, and his son’s congenital heart disease. He was unaware of these articles or the controversy surrounding them.

And then followed by Coors via Twitter:

At the moment, the only remaining speakers are Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Father Robert Sirico, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty; Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana; and Pam Stenzel, Founder of Enlighten Communications. Jindal has already reaffirmed that he will be speaking at the event.

Last year, actor and comedian Bob Newhart also pulled out of the conference, after GLAAD alerted him aware of Legatus' anti-LGBT activism. Legatus listed five "non-negotiables" for 2012 voters, including marriage equality, with the staff writer instructing Catholics "to avoid voting for candidates who endorse or promote policies that provide for any of these acts and to vote instead for those who promote policies in keeping with moral law."

Legatus also pushes the idea that homosexuality itself is a "disorder" from which one must be "cured." In a 2011 Legatus Magazine article, Legate John Haas (whose family has close ties to the National Organization for Marriage) called for the "curing" of LGBT people in the clearest of language, citing support for the "ex-gay" organization NARTH.

It seems now that these anti-LGBT positions are making the organization lose mainstream credibility. As their positions become known, even conservative leaders are uncomfortable being associated with the organization. 

"It's increasingly clear that the values of fairness, inclusion and acceptance transcend all political and ideological lines," said Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs at GLAAD. "It's heartening to see conservative figures like Mr. Sinise, Mr. Baier, and Mr. Coors standing up against anti-LGBT animus and for the dignity of all people."