Miers once worked
for "pro-lesbian" youth group

Conservatives who
oppose a youth organization that supports abortion
rights and acceptance of lesbians said Friday that Harriet
Miers's service with the Dallas chapter in 1987 had no
bearing on her Supreme Court nomination. Miers chaired
the advisory committee of Girls Inc., a nonprofit
organization dating to 1864 that serves about 800,000 girls
a year, many from low-income families, according to
the questionnaire she submitted to the Senate
Judiciary Committee. Miers received an award for her
work with the local chapter and the Dallas Bar Association.

The notoriously
antigay American Family Association of Mississippi
recently launched a campaign indirectly targeting Girls
Inc., which it called a "pro-abortion, pro-lesbian
advocacy group." Girls Inc., on its Web site, has
defended its mission and dismissed the "false,
inflammatory statements from people who are pursuing a
narrow political agenda."

Questioned about
Miers's past involvement with the group, Tim Wildmon,
president of the AFA, said it was not an issue. "That's been
so long ago," Wildmon said in a telephone interview.
"I don't think that factors in with her current
situation. It was 18 years ago; people change,
organizations change." The American Family Association has
neither endorsed nor opposed Miers's nomination. "We're
still in a wait-and-see mode," Wildmon said in
anticipation of confirmation hearings next month.
"We're trying to do more homework on Ms. Miers."

White House
spokeswoman Dana Perino said Miers's participation with
Girls Inc. was "based on the group's encouragement of
young girls and women in their educational pursuits."

The American
Family Association is urging its 2.2 million members to
demand that American Girl, maker of popular dolls and
children's books, stop its support for Girls Inc.
Proceeds from the sale of American Girl wristbands are
helping support educational and empowerment programs of
Girls Inc. The AFA and the Pro-Life Action League, a
Chicago-based antiabortion group, are urging their
supporters to contact American Girl and express
opposition to its contributions to Girls Inc.

In the advocacy
section on its Web page, Girls Inc. voices it support
for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court
decision legalizing abortion, favors a girl's right to
have access to contraceptives, and pledges support for
girls dealing with questions about sexual orientation.
American Girl said in a recent statement that its altruistic
efforts have been misconstrued. (AP)

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