Sunday, July 15, 2007

Peter LaBarbera sinks to a new low

It is obvious that Peter LaBarbera cannot stand the lgbt community. No matter how many times he claims that he only wants to help us, his stridency and singleminded attempts to devalue our lives always gives him away.

But now he has sunken to a new low by devaluing the life of a man who cannot fight him back and using that man's memorial from his friends for political purposes.

In a recent posting in criticizing Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger for repudiating his 1991 paper about homosexuality, Peter said the following:

Statistics are easier to dismiss than the human victims of homosexuality: just ask Carolyn Groff, whose son Russell died at age 26 from AIDS after getting involved in a homosexual “relationship.

For those who don't know Russell Groff, a little background is in order.

Mr. Groff was an aspiring playwright who died of a staph infection in 2004. He was also HIV positive. Since his death, his partner has been in a time and money consuming legal fight with his parents over his burial site and who should be executor of his will.

And this is not just a simple battle:

Russell Groff’s parents have been virulently anti-gay, which is ostensibly motivating them in their pursuit to deny their son’s expressed wishes. They even did a Fred Phelps-like protest during Knoxville, TN’s LGBT "Come Out Knoxville" celebration.

According to the Knoxville Metro Pulse, Carolyn Groff blames the "destructive gay lifestyle" for the death of her son, an aspiring playwright. "He wasn’t like that until he got involved in the theater group at Maryville College," she explains. Several other members of her Bible Baptist Church brought signs denoting that gays are destined to hell. Their brand of Christianity drove Russell away from the Christian church and joined Kevin as a Quaker after they met.

While Peter references Mr. Groff's mother, the site he directs people to does not come from her.

It was created by a friend of Mr. Groff who wanted give a memorial to his life. If you click on Peter's link, you will see the following:

I have deleted content from my web page because I learned that someone was using it to further a cause I DO NOT believe in. I will not allow my love and compassion to be twisted into anything else. I will no longer add anything to this site for fear of its misuse. Thank you.

I had the pleasure of seeing the page before the information was removed and it was a moving tribute. Mr. Groff was a young man who had a lot of love from his friends and his partner. There was sadness about his passage but joy about the ability to be with someone (even for a brief time as it was) with so much going for him.

But what did it matter to Peter? To him, Groff was just another homosexual who died; another symbol to point to in his war against lgbts.

I also had the pleasure of talking to the person who set up the memorial and unfortunately choose to take it down. She is not happy about what happened.

I don't blame her. Her tribute had nothing to do with a cultural war. She was just celebrating the life of a someone who meant a lot to her. If Peter had any decency, he should have left her out of his mess.

My father was a prison guard who was murdered in 2000 by some inmates seeking to escape. I would be highly upset if any tribute I set up for him was used by a racist group to claim that African-Americans are violent individuals who kill each other.

What Peter did belongs solely in the realm of bad taste, pure and simple.

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