Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Clemson coach disassociates himself from anti-gay group after backlash from SC lgbts, allies

Dabo Swinney
In terms of lgbt activism, states like New York and California or the cities therein seem to grab all of the attention.

It's easy to forget that other states have lgbt activists who fight the good fight and generally win.

Take South Carolina for example, where folks got together and convinced Clemson's football coach Dabo Swinney not to attend an event held by an anti-gay group:

After protests over Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney's scheduled attendance at an event for a conservative group that opposes gay marriage, Swinney said Wednesday he is not taking part.
"After much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I've decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2," he told The Huffington Post in a statement.

 . . . Swinney was scheduled to be honored June 2 at a fundraiser in Columbia, South Carolina, by the council, which says its "vision is to transform the culture in South Carolina by promoting the values and virtues of marriage, the traditional family model, and sexual purity."

GLAAD Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes said in a statement: "Coach Swinney has an obligation to the players he leads and all students who attend Clemson to use his considerable profile to promote causes that bring us together, not tear us apart. The Palmetto Family Council's values are out of line with the values of love and acceptance for all people, and I hope the Coach will reconsider the message that his alignment with them sends."

Earlier, LGBT supporters, led by student William Ta'oma, launched a petition calling for Swinney to reconsider the invitation 

Even a state legislator, Todd Rutherford, called for Swinney to turn down the invite:

“I find it highly inappropriate that Coach Swinney would appear at a fundraiser for an organization that is so openly discriminatory and politically motivated,” the House Minority Leader said in a statement published by The State. “I cannot fathom why Coach Swinney or anyone else would knowingly assist a group whose mission is to fight against equal rights and equal treatment of others.”

Jeffy Ayers, interim director of SC Equality, praised Swinney's decision to withdraw.  “We commend Coach Swinney for having the courage to stand up and show this respect for diversity," he said. “Clemson students, alumni, faculty, and staff come from all walks of life, and we rely on role models like Coach Swinney to show the world that South Carolina’s community leaders will not stand for intolerance and hate.”

So this is somewhat of a victory, but I have a caveat.

The Palmetto Family Council goes way beyond opposing marriage equality. It also pushes totally inaccurate information about lgbts. On the portion of its webpage talking about "sexuality," PFC links to a Family Research Council brochure entitled The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage. This brochure is filled with errors, including distortions of legitimate scientific work and studies deliberately taken out of context.

In addition, PFC also links to the discredited organization NARTH, or the  National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. This group promotes the unproven idea that people can change their sexual orientation. This theory has been condemned by many legitimate scientific groups, such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

Those protesting against Swinney's appearance at the PFC event actually did him a favor. He would have been helping to promote the above mess by his appearance.

And what message would that send to lgbt football players he could potentially coach?

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