By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 23 2012 3:22 PM ET
UPDATED below with response from Truth Wins Out
Several conservative Christian groups want Fox News to ban Wayne Besen, a gay rights advocate and former Human Rights Campaign spokesman who founded Truth Wins Out, from appearing on the network.
A press release signed by Liberty Counsel's Matthew Barber and Mathew Staver, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays's Regina Griggs, Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern, and several other officials of antigay organizations reads:
"In light of last week's attempted murder of employees at the Family Research Council (FRC), we pro-family organizations ask Fox News to discontinue guest appearances by homosexual agitator Wayne Besen on the popular O'Reilly Factor TV show. Besen has a long history of slandering conservative groups and the ex-gay community in language that foments hatred and undermines civil discourse."
The press release, published on ChristianNewsWire, asks Fox and Bill O'Reilly specifically to find "more ethical spokespersons for the liberal view of sexuality."
The release alleges that Besen, who founded Truth Wins Out to combat the scientifically debunked practice of so-called ex-gay or reparative therapy, is a "radical homosexual activist known for employing inflammatory and hateful language in the service of promoting lies."
The release also takes issue with Besen's association with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has received much of the blame for last week's shooting at the Family Research Council following SPLC's designation of FRC as a hate group.
It seems that antigay groups are taking a page from the playbook of their enemies, as calling for the removal of biased, partisan guests from "impartial" news programs has long been the purview of efforts such as GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project.
UPDATE: Truth Wins Out Responds
Truth Wins Out, the gay-rights organization headed by Besen, issued a press release this afternoon responding to the right-wing attack on Besen's credibility. That lengthy response, posted on TWO's blog, begins, "I have never been more proud of my career accomplishments than I am today. It has been said that the friends and foes accrued over a lifetime can be used as a measure of the man," wrote Besen. "Given the coalition of homophobes and hate groups that visciously attached me today, I feel my life's work has been vindicated and validated."
Besen goes on to detail the hypocrisy inherent in these antigay groups, many of which tout liberty and religious freedom, want to stifle Besen's right to free speech since it is contrary to their own views. The response also chronicles the homophobic histories of each of the signatories, which include Oklahoma state senator Sally Kern, former American Family Association state director Scott Lively, and Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, among numerous others.