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A spokesman for a group that Rick Perry partnered with for a giant prayer rally in August claims that Barney Frank's example as a gay man sent an untold number of men "to an early grave."
The American Family Association's radio program, hosted by Bryan Fischer, took on the topic of Frank's retirement from Congress on Monday. In a video posted by Right Wing Watch, Fisher complains that the media praised Frank for an accomplished and long career, which included him being the first representative to voluntarily come out.
"Barney Frank has been an open practitioner of a lifestyle that is condemning one young man after another to an early grave," Fischer said, claiming gay people are all plagued by AIDS. "This is not somebody to admire, this is not somebody to honor -- you've got all these left-wing media outlets out there talking about what a colorful figure he was and how important a legislator he was and how he's going to be missed on the American political scene. And yet he modeled a lifestyle which is really a deathstyle."
Frank said during his retirement announcement that he hoped his example had helped others to come out. "The best antidote to prejudice is reality," Frank said.
But Fischer has a different take on "reality."
"You have got to know that people are influenced toward that behavior, if they have any kind of inclination in that direction, if there are very prominent people that are engaging in it, they're doing it openly, they are praised by the press rather than criticized for flaunting this kind of behavior, you've got to know that has got an impact," he said. "So who knows how many people were sort of drawn or encouraged in some way by Barney Frank's example to dabble in a lifestyle that eventually cost them their health and maybe even cost them their lives."
Fischer has a long history of antigay statements, which has led the Southern Poverty Law Center to classify the AFA as a "hate group." Still, none of this stopped Perry from joining the AFA in hosting a massive prayer rally at a football stadium in Houston just days before launching his bid for president.