Well, whattaya know? The Indianapolis Star has realized that there is a story in the whole Tony Dungy controversy - a month and a half after everyone else did. You can tell that they're taking it seriously though - after all, they put their Religion and Values reporter on the scent instead of, say, a sports reporter. As the editor of the blog that broke the story, I'd like to reply.
The article's title proclaims "Gay-rights groups upset with Dungy: Colts coach to attend event by organization fighting gay marriages" What "Gay-rights groups" have come out against this? No organization, local or otherwise, has released a press release or public statement on this before. Just us bloggers... If you Google "Tony Dungy homophobic," you'll get almost 29,000 links to blog posts and stories about Dungy's appearance but no organizational statements - until now. Shoot, the second quote in the article comes from OutSports.com, one of the websites that covered the story! They could only find one "group" to respond - one that had not commented on the story before since it would fall well outside of their mission of civil rights and opposing SJR-7.
This is probably why the focus of the article seems to be on "gay marriage." We didn't criticize his appearance based on "gay marriage." Our criticism was that the Indiana Family Institute is affiliated with Focus on the Family which the Southern Poverty Law Center has said regularly engages in "hate speech." In fact, several web filtering software packages block the Focus on the Family website for hate speech. The IFI website claimed that Jesus himself would discriminate against the LGBT community after local church Jesus MCC put up billboards around Indianapolis asking "Would Jesus Discriminate?" They often link homosexuality with pedophilia, group sex, and bestiality. They opposed the hate crimes bill and also oppose domestic partner benefits and hospital visitation rights. We criticized the Colts for publicly supporting an organization known for their multiple homophobic positions.
With SJR-7 working it's way through the legislature, we decided to let the matter drop. We'd made our point. We have other more important things to worry about right now. For the Indy Star to bring up the story now (after it had already ran across the nation - from CBS news to the Philadelphia Inquirer) and assign it to a religion reporter seems rather odd. Especially since the left side-bar is nothing short of an advertisement for the event - even down to how much a ticket would cost you! It also conveniently gives the URL for the IFI, their mission, and even an RSVP date. You can't buy advertising that good!
Unfortunately, while other mainstream media outlets focused on the IFI's history of intolerance and wondered why Dungy would associate himself with such a controversial group, the Star chose to issue an info-tisement on IFI's behalf and used a local group's desire for media attention to force the discussion back onto "gay marriage." It's just unfortunate all around.