GOP rel. rt. leader: Gay marriage caused Santa Barbara murder rampage

Ken Blackwell, a high-profile representative of the officially-designated “hate group” Family Research Council, and a former lead Republican party voice, declared last week that the brutal mass-murders at the University of California Santa Barbara were due, in part, to gay marriage.

Speaking with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on an FRC radio show, Blackwell explained that, in the context of the Santa Barbara massacre, guns don’t kill people, gay marriage kills people.

Via RightWingWatch, here’s Blackwell’s explanation for the shooting rampage:

Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

As you may have heard, 22-year-old UC Santa Barbara student Elliot Rodger stabbed his three roommates to death, then went to a nearby sorority and shot three women, killing two of them. He then went to a deli and shot another student to death.  And then he drove down the street shooting as many pedestrians as he could, finally shooting himself in the head.

All of Rodgers’ guns were legally obtained.

Understandably, the Rodgers rampage is a bit of a black eye for the pro-gun movement, so the FRC, doing what it does best, tried to blame the mass murder on gays.

Gun via Shutterstock

Gun via Shutterstock

There’s a reason that the Family Research Council has been officially declared a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And there’s a reason that civil rights advocates criticize CNN and NPR and other media outlets that treat FRC, and like-minded religious right activists, as if they’re simply “family values” voices in the larger civilized discussion over politics in Washington. FRC’s record is anything but civilized.

I started tracking the Family Research Council back in 1993 when I was volunteering late-nights in Senator Kennedy’s office. My job at the time was to take every single FRC anti-gay “report,” find the original sources for their voluminous multi-page footnotes, and check whether the citations were real. They weren’t. I was shocked at the depth and breadth of deception.

The FRC would include the most heinous accusations, and condemnations, of gays in their reports and then include a footnote, making it clear that they had “hard facts” to back up their claims. In fact, the footnotes would often be to things like the minority opinion in a court case we actually won. Or some convoluted “analysis” of a legitimate study, reaching a “conclusions” that simply wasn’t born out by the study itself.

Then there was my favorite. It was a damning “fact” that FRC included from some august study. I don’t remember the quote or the study now, it was 20 years ago, but I remember the deception, clear as day. In a nutshell, FRC was going off about how bad gays were, and they included a super-damning quote.  The text read something like this (again, I’m making up the actual text I’m using here):

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell

Study after study shows how dangerous the gay lifestyle is. The Regis study from Harvard was particularly damning about the dangers of being gay. “We looked at thousands of individual gays and analyzed the health risks associated with their sexual practices. It was clear from the research that gays are diseased pedophiles who will stop at nothing to practice their depravity.

A second study backs this up. From the esteemed Blahblah institute…..

It was a particularly damning quote from a particularly high-brow, reputable study. I kept pouring through the source document, the original study itself, and could only find the first, benign, half of the quote. I just couldn’t find the second half, the damning half. Keep in mind that this was pre-Internet, so in order to find such quotes you had to actually read through the entire paper copy of each study. I figured I must have missed the quote, so went back again.

Finally it dawned on me. That second half of the quote wasn’t there. Why?  Because FRC “forgot” to put an end quote after the phrase “sexual practices.” The damning part of the quote, the second part of it, was FRC’s own conclusion, not the study’s. The part of the quote that actually came from the study was benign. But since FRC “forgot” to include the closing quotation mark, you were misled into thinking there was a damning quote from an esteemed study.  Trust me, visually it was extremely difficult to figure out that the quote wasn’t a quote.

Now, did FRC do this on purpose? Did they intentionally mislead by quoting from the minority opinion of a court case in order to make it appear that a high-level court was on their side in a case that gays actually won? Has the organization’s two decades of “misinterpreting” the actual results of legitimate research been wilful?

There’s a reason the Family Research Council has been officially designated a hate group. There is a fundamental dishonesty and animus that oozes from these people. And at some point, more in the mainstream media need to start treating FRC accordingly.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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