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Homosexual agenda (or gay agenda) is a term introduced by sectors of the Christian religious right (primarily in the United States) as a disparaging way to describe the advocacy of cultural acceptance and normalization of non-heterosexual orientations and relationships. The term refers to efforts to change government policies and laws on LGBT rights-related issues. Additionally, it has been used by social conservatives and others to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as recruiting heterosexuals into what conservatives term a "homosexual lifestyle".
Origins and usage
Contemporary usage and meaning
The term is applied to efforts to change government policies and laws on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, for example, same-sex marriage and civil unions, LGBT adoption, recognizing sexual orientation as a protected civil rights minority classification, LGBT military participation, inclusion of LGBT history and themes in public education, introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT minors—as well as non-governmental campaigns and individual actions that increase visibility and cultural acceptance of LGBT people, relationships, and identities. The term has also been used by some social conservatives to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as supposed recruitment of heterosexuals into a "homosexual lifestyle".
A 1987 essay titled "The Overhauling of Straight America", by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen (writing as Erastes Pill), lays out a six-point plan for a campaign, which was first published in Guide magazine. They argued that gays must portray themselves in a positive way to straight America, and that the main aim of making homosexuality acceptable could be achieved by getting Americans "to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders". Then "your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won". The pair developed their argument in the 1989 book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s. The book outlined a public relations strategy for the LGBT movement. It argues that after the gay liberation phase of the 1970s and 1980s, gay rights groups should adopt more professional public relations techniques to convey their message. After its publication Kirk appeared in the pages of Newsweek, Time and The Washington Post. The book is often critically described by social conservatives such as Focus on the Family as important to the success of the LGBT Movement in the '90s and as part of an alleged "homosexual agenda".
Usage by religious critics
In the United States, the phrase "the gay agenda" was popularized by a video series produced by the evangelical religious group, Springs of Life Ministries in California, and distributed by many Christian Right organizations, the first video of which was called The Gay Agenda and was released in 1992.:81–81 In the same year the Oregon Citizens Alliance (a conservative Christian political activist organization) used this video as part of their campaign for Ballot Measure 9 to amend the Oregon Constitution to prevent what the OCA called special rights for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
Paul Cameron—co-founder of the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality in Lincoln, later renamed the Family Research Institute—appeared in the video, wherein he asserted that 75 percent of gay men regularly ingest feces and that 70–78 percent have had a sexually transmitted disease. The Gay Agenda was followed by three other video publications; The Gay Agenda in Public Education (1993), The Gay Agenda: March on Washington (1993) and a feature follow-up Stonewall: 25 Years of Deception (1994). The videos contained interviews with opponents of LGBT rights, and the series was made available through Christian right organizations.
The idea of a homosexual agenda is also used by some Christian critics of LGBT rights in conjunction with a putative ideology they refer to as homosexualism (as opposed to a synonym for homosexuality), using homosexualists to describe people who seek to advance LGBT emancipation. The use of homosexualist in this way first appeared in 1995 in Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams' book The Pink Swastika, "to refer to any person, homosexual or not, who actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy". Lively and Abrahams argue that alleged homosexuality found in the Nazi Party, specifically within Ernst Röhm's SA, contributed to the extreme militarism of Nazi Germany, and write about the "gay agenda" in this context.
- In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas that
Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.
- In 2004, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn rated the "gay agenda" as a more pressing danger than any terrorist activity affecting Americans.[n 1]
- In 2005, James Dobson, director of Focus on the Family, described the homosexual agenda as follows:
Those goals include universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, discrediting of scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting of special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies.
- In 2010, American conservative Christian group Family Research Council produced a graphic labelled "Homosexual Agenda" which consisted of the phrases "Innocence", "Family", "Local Community", "Public Health" and "Parental Authority" struck out with red lines.
- In 2019 two prominent Roman Catholic cardinals - Raymond Leo Burke and Walter Brandmuller wrote an open letter to Pope Francis calling for an end of "the plague of the homosexual agenda" which they blamed for the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church. They claimed the agenda was spread by "organized networks" protected by a "conspiracy of silence".
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) describes the term as a "rhetorical invention of anti-gay extremists seeking to create a climate of fear by portraying the pursuit of civil rights for LGBT people as sinister", and commentators have remarked on a lack of realism and veracity to the idea of a gay agenda per se. Such campaigns based on a presumed "gay agenda" have been described as anti-gay propaganda by researchers and critics. GLAAD describes the association of homosexuality with pedophilia or child abuse as an attempt to "insinuate that lesbians and gay men pose a threat to society, to families, and to children in particular." GLAAD considers assertions linking pedophilia and homosexuality to be defamatory, damaging and entirely inaccurate. Some writers have described the term as pejorative.
to be protected against violent crimes driven by bigotry, it's to be able to get married, it's to be able to get a job, and it's to be able to fight for our country. For those who are worried about the radical homosexual agenda, let me put them on notice. Two down, two to go.
A satirical article by Michael Swift which appeared in the Gay Community News in February 1987 entitled "Gay Revolutionary" describes a scenario in which homosexual men dominate American society and suppress all things heterosexual. This was reprinted in Congressional Record without the opening line: "This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor."
The term is sometimes used satirically as a counterfoil by people who would normally find this term offensive, such as the spoof agenda found on the Betty Bowers satirical website, and when Bishop Gene Robinson declared that "Jesus is the agenda, the homosexual agenda in the Episcopal Church". On an episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart defined the gay agenda as "gay marriage, civil rights protection, Fleet Week expanded to Fleet Year, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance for when it's raining men, Kathy Griffin to host everything and a nationwide ban on pleated pants".
- Moulitsas, Markos (May 5, 2005). "Kissing the tarantula: US blogger Markos Moulitsas marvels at the Tories' attempts to woo the gay vote, in stark contrast to the stance of US conservatives". The Guardian.
To the newly elected Republican senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, the "gay agenda" is a more pressing danger than terrorists flying planes into buildings and killing allied troops in Iraq. "The gay community has infiltrated the very centres of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today," he said during the 2004 campaign. "Why do you think we see the rationalisation for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda."
- Cobb, Michael L. (2006). God hates fags: the rhetorics of religious violence (annotated ed.). NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-1668-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Herman, Didi (1998). The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-32765-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Kirk, Marshall; Madsen, Hunter (1989). After the ball : how America will conquer its fear and hatred of gays in the '90s. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-23906-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Signorile, Michelangelo (1993). Queer in America : sex, the media, and the closets of power. Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-41309-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Warner, Michael (1993). Fear of a queer planet : queer politics and social theory. Social Text Collective; University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-2333-4. OCLC 28634756.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Hate Group: 'Homosexual Activists' Try To 'Confuse Children' To 'Build Their Numbers' Think Progress July 9, 2012.
- A Peek at Conservatism's Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theorist Fringe
- This Year's Craziest Right-wing Conspiracy Theories about Gay People
- Ugandan Gay Rights Group Sues U.S. Evangelist
- Bryan Fischer Slams Gay Rights, Abortion And Environmentalism As 'The Work Of Satan Himself'
- Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For "Making Kids Gay"
- Anti-gay Maryland legislator, Emmett Burns, moves again to cut off recognition of out-of-state gay marriages
- Kirk, Marshall and Pill, Erastes (pseud.) (1987). "The Overhauling of Straight America". Guide Magazine. Cite journal requires
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- Osten, Craig (2003), Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, CitizenLink, affiliate of Focus on the Family, archived from the original on 2008-06-12, retrieved 2011-03-30
- Herman, Didi (1997 (ebook, 2007)). The Anti-Gay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226327693. Check date values in:
|date=(help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Signorile, Michelangelo (1993). "Queer In America". Cite journal requires
|journal=(help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- (Herman 1998, p. 78)
- (Herman 1998, pp. 80–81)
- "Understanding the Homosexual Agenda, The Christian Post, Sept 23 2008". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "Obama Renews His Commitment to the Full Homosexualist Agenda, Anglican Mainstream, August 18 2009". Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "The Pink Swastika, "A Word to the Reader", Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, 3rd edition, 1998". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- (Cobb 2006, p. 161)
- Dobson, Dr. James (2005). "Marriage Under Fire".
- "Washington Update". Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- "GLAAD Media Reference Guide: Offensive Terms to Avoid". GLAAD.
- Bouley II, Charles Karel (2005). "The gay agenda revealed!". The Advocate. Retrieved February 24, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Sa'at, Alfian (March 10, 2007). "Iced Bandung – What Is The Gay Agenda?". Trevvy.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
- Duberman, Martin B. (1997). A queer world: the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies reader. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-1875-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Mason, Gail; Tomsen, Stephen (1997). Homophobic violence. Hawkins Press. ISBN 978-1-876067-04-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- "GLAAD Media Reference Guide". GLAAD. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01.
- F. Earle Fox; David W. Virtue (July 1, 2002). Homosexuality: Good and Right in the Eyes of God?. Emmaus Ministries. pp. 269–. ISBN 978-0-945778-01-1. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- "Barney Frank Reveals Gay Agenda". The Advocate. 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "The Myth Of The Gay Agenda".
- "14th amendment".
- "Fordham University: Michael Swift – Gay Revolutionary (the complete essay)". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "This website is currently unavailable". www.bettybowers.com. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Bishop Gene Robinson, "Jesus is the Homosexual Agenda", address to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, June 14, 2006
- "Church need not be afraid, New Hampshire bishop tells Putney gathering", Episcopal Life, July 13, 2008. "The "homosexual agenda, is Jesus, the Jesus I know who communicates God's unwavering love for me."
- Lyle Masaki. "Jon Stewart spells out the gay agenda". Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "The 1972 Gay Rights Platform Platform created at the National Coalition of Gay Organizations Convention held in Chicago in 1972". rslevinson. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2009. (Historical text cited by social conservatives as evidence of a "gay agenda")