The Minnesota Family Council’s Barb Anderson sat down with Peter LaBarbera of Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) for a radio interview recently. The duo talked about bringing “ex-gays” into the Anoka-Hennepin School District and the fact that AFTAH is now listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a designation Anderson calls a “badge of honor.” The organization recently added 13 new groups to its hate-group map, many for anti-gay positions. The Minnesota Family Council, which opposes homosexuality, has associations with a number of groups that are now on the SPLC list.
“We are one of the rare groups that is opposed single-mindedly against the homosexual activist movement,” said LaBarbera, who founded AFTAH in 1996. “The so-called gay lobby has reached the zenith of its power. They are everywhere.”
“I don’t feel like a homophobe; as one guy said, I’m homo-nauseated,” he continued. “They are everywhere. You can’t get away from them, even in the schools, so today we are interviewing Barb Anderson of the Minnesota Family Council.”
Both LaBarbera and Anderson agreed that AFTAH’s recognition by the SPLC is a point of pride.
“There’s a lot of hatred out there in the so-called gay lobby,” LaBarbera said.
Anderson agreed: “Absolutely. They call us a hate group but the emails and the responses we get from them are just full of anger and hateful comments that they make towards us.”
“I think it’s becoming perhaps a badge of honor to be called a hate group,” said Anderson.
LaBarbera added, “If you are not on the SPLC hate list, you are not doing enough.”
“You are not doing your job,” agreed Anderson. “I think the greatest threat to our freedom and to the health and well-being of our children is from this radical homosexual agenda which is just so pervasive.”
The SPLC released a new list of anti-gay groups and added new names to its list of hate groups. LaBarbera’s AFTAH was listed for the first time this month. The SPLC reported that AFTAH intentionally spreads false information about LGBT people, including erroneously stating that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles and that gays and lesbians die 24 years sooner than heterosexual on average.
The SPLC is “a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.” The group’s hate-crimes map includes a wide range of groups from Neo-Nazis and militias to black separatists and anti-immigrant groups, and its reports have focused on groups across the political spectrum, including “eco-terrorists,” “Christian-identity” groups and “nativist extremist” organizations.
The SPLC said the new listings represent groups that have grown more anti-LGBT in recent years.
“Even as some well-known anti-gay groups moderate their views, smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at LGBT people,” the group wrote in a statement announcing the designations. “Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities – and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
The Minnesota Family Council also has a relationship with another group that the SPLC listed as a hate group: The Family Research Council.
Tony Perkins, head of the Washington-based Family Research Council, said “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” That’s one of several statements that caused the SPLC to label his group as a hate group.
Perkins has also had relationships with white supremacist groups, the SPLC reports.
The Minnesota Family Council has invited Perkins to speak in Minnesota a number of times. The group brought him in, along with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, for a rally in 2006. And in 2005, MFC welcomed Perkins for an anti-gay marriage rally at the Minnesota Capitol.
Also making the SPLC’s list is the American Family Association. AFA’s director of analysis for government and policy, Bryan Fischer, has made some controversial claims, including claims that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” The group has also pushed to criminalize homosexuality and force gays and lesbians to undergo “ex-gay” therapy.
The Minnesota Family Council brought AFA’s executive director Don Wildmon to Bloomington in 2006 to speak along with Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s controversial Constitution class teacher David Barton.
The Minnesota Family Council did not respond to the Minnesota Independent’s request for comment about the SPLC’s list or its associations with groups that the SPLC characterizes as hate groups.
In her conversation with LaBarbera, Anderson acknowledged that she helped form the Parents Action League, a group that advocates against stronger anti-bullying policies targeted toward LGBT students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. That district that rose to national attention following the death of Justin Aaberg, whose family and friends said he took his own life after experiencing anti-gay harassment and bullying.
“We have formed a group called the Parents Action League, and this was formed in response to a very aggressive group called the Gay Equity Team in our school district, which is trying to drive all of this gay agenda into the classroom,” said Anderson. “They want the homosexual indoctrination to take place in every classroom and every grade level and tell our kids that homosexuality is natural, normal and innate and they want to take advantage of teachable moments, which is another issue that is always a red flag for me.”
The Gay Equity Team states that its goals are to “revise the district’s harassment and violence policy to include language that specifically protects students of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” to “secure training for all staff that adequately addresses the needs of GLBT students and families,” and to “eliminate the Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy – or the GLBT Censorship Policy – because GLBT students, families, and staff are worthy of acknowledgment, equity, and respect.”
The Parents Action League wants the district to teach that gays can become straight, or “ex-gay,” an assertion that has been debunked by virtually every major medical organization. Anderson reiterated that mission in her interview with LaBarbera.
He asked her, “Have you succeeded in exposing kids to bringing these ex-gays speakers, former homosexuals, into the classroom at all?”
“Not at all,” she replied. “In fact, I talked to our diversity director who brought in homosexual students in our [Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity] training which is a whole another topic. And I said, ‘Why did you bring them in when we have a neutrality policy?’ And he said, ‘Well, they are neutral.’ And I asked if we could have equal time for ex-gays and he said no because that would not be neutral.”