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McCain to speak
at Falwell's antigay university

McCain to speak
at Falwell's antigay university

Republican senator John McCain of Arizona has agreed to by the keynote speaker at Liberty University.

Republican U.S. senator John McCain of Arizona has agreed to be the keynote speaker May 13 at Liberty University, a religious college controlled by notoriously antigay televangelist Jerry Falwell that routinely expels gay students, reports The [Lynchburg, Va.] News & Advance. The move was criticized by the gay political group National Stonewall Democrats.

"John McCain has embarked on a dangerous policy of appeasement that coddles the antigay base of the Republican Party," said Eric Stern, NSD executive director. "No Republican can win their party's presidential nomination without the institutional backing of Republican power brokers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Over the past few months, we have seen John McCain back antimarriage amendments, stump for antigay activists running for elected office, and demonstrate his dependence on social conservatives."

Falwell serves as the chancellor of Liberty, which he founded in Lynchburg in 1971. The school maintains a history of aggressively investigating the sexual orientation of faculty and students and expelling those who are found to be gay. Falwell told TheNews & Advance that the Republican senator accepted Falwell's invitation after the two smoothed over policy differences during a private meeting in McCain's Senate office. "I was in Washington with him about three months ago," Falwell told the paper. "We dealt with every difference we have. There are no deal breakers now. But I told him, 'You have a lot of fence mending to do.'"

Falwell also indicated that McCain assured him on his commitment to issues important to him. While not offering an endorsement, Falwell told the paper that McCain is a candidate he could support for president in 2008. (The Advocate)

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