Editors' note: Rashad Robinson is the Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD.
Last week, GLAAD issued an action alert about a full page ad in The New York Times paid for by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an ad which made a series of deliberately misleading claims about the national response to the passage of Prop 8. Later that week, Seamus Hasson, founder and CEO of The Becket Fund, drew comparisons between LGBT advocates and al-Qaida during a radio interview. After GLAAD and HRC issued responses about their outrageous claims, The Becket Fund struck back, criticizing GLAAD and HRC for having challenged their claims.
Let's be clear. What The Becket Fund is doing is character assassination by innuendo with a wanton disregard for the facts. They would evidently prefer, in the face of laws that strip essential legal protections from hardworking Americans and loving committed couples, that we roll over and meekly accept it. And when we raise our voices and speak against these injustices, they attack us and call us "nearly mobs, seeking not to persuade but to intimidate."
In the aftermath of Prop 8, there was an unprecedented response by LGBT people and straight allies across the country. We spoke out. We took our message to city halls and rallied together in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Wichita, Portland, Orlando, Nashville, Seattle, Little Rock, Baltimore, New York City, and in cities all over the country. Were there insolated incidents of fringe individuals engaging in acts of vandalism? Yes - and media reported on them, and movement leaders condemned them. But the hundreds of thousands of community members and allies who rallied as part of our movement's protests against Prop 8 were peaceful and respectful.
So it's obvious that The Becket Fund is making inaccurate and misleading claims here. Inaccuracies aren't just statements of "the world is flat" or "the stars revolve around the earth" variety. They can be dressed up with slippery insinuations about "mobs," "violence," "religious wars," "intimidation," and "numbing the public conscience," all the way to manifestly defamatory comparisons of gay Americans to al-Qaida.
Inaccuracy is probably too mild a word for The Becket Fund's brand of ugly, intellectually dishonest misrepresentations. The Becket Fund doesn't have a legitimate case, so their only option is to stir up irrational fear and mistrust through innuendo and mischaracterization. It speaks volumes about their character.