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The March 4 article, “Uneasy Alliance,” described two legal advocacy groups, Alliance Defense Fund and Liberty Counsel, as “nonprofits that attempt to advance and defend religious rights, traditional family values, and the sanctity of human life.” While the groups might choose to describe themselves that way, the description is not altogether accurate and should have been challenged or at least further explained. To the extent civil marriage concerns religious rights, a debatable proposition, both groups seek to defend only the religious rights of some faiths. They seek to interfere with the religious rights of people whose faiths allows same-sex marriages by having government prefer the marriages and commitments recognized by certain religions over those recognized by other religions. Moreover, it is not clear that the groups are involved with traditional family values, unless that phrase is taken as meaning a limited group of such values to the exclusion of others. Gays and lesbians come from families and, more important, have families; it is unclear how recognizing gay families, which these groups vehemently oppose, is inconsistent with traditional family values such as love, respect, security or honesty, or how seeking to stigmatize gay families promotes families composed only of heterosexuals. Only to the extent people already understand the phrase “traditional family values” as having the limited meaning given to it by these conservative organizations is this no significant omission. Finally, Liberty Counsel’s Web site does not indicate how it actually supports the family unit that it believes should be the only recognized model, the intact nuclear family. While the site had a heading, “Marriage and Lifestyle Issues,” there were no sub-headings concerning ways to lower the divorce rate, to strengthen parenting skills, or the like. Instead, the overwhelming majority of sub-headings detailed efforts to preclude gays and lesbians from having marriage rights, civil union rights, statutory anti-discrimination protection, or the ability to adopt children. The Liberty Counsel’s actions seem to have little positive impact on the traditional family; instead, the goal is negative, to preclude homosexuals from experiencing life with a same-sex partner in any manner similar to that enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Clearly the article as a whole was not misleading in portraying Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defense Fund as anything other than socially conservative organizations. But given that such groups often seek to appeal to moderates by stating their uniformly negative approach (treat homosexuals differently by according them fewer rights and protections) in the positive (promoting religious rights and family values), it falls to the media to identify these groups for what they are, or, at the least, not perpetuate such groups’ efforts to hide their purpose. Here they are acting as anti-homosexual rights groups. They should be identified as such. Donald McMinn Washington, D.C.

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