|Mark Foley, in an appearance on CNN where he defended Bush policies
The Human Rights Campaign has released a new nationwide poll that shows the aggressively coordinated attempts by anti-gay right-wing leaders and anti-gay groups to brand the Mark Foley scandal as a gay issue are a resounding failure.
The new, nationwide poll shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe that ‚Äúthis type of behavior is typical of politicians‚ÄĚ over ‚Äúthis type of behavior is typical of gay men.‚ÄĚ The poll also showed support for either civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples at 66 percent, which is consistent with other polls on the same question.
Since this scandal was made public on Sept. 29, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Pat Buchanan, and other ultra-conservative leaders have spoken out numerous times to national media outlets pushing the idea that this is a gay issue, in an attempt to shift the public‚Äôs perception of this inappropriate behavior and subsequent cover-up by the Republican leadership on gays.
Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. conducted a poll of 806 registered voters nationwide from October 9-11. The results of the poll show that the attempt to scapegoat gay Americans has been an utter failure, as the American people continue to focus on the lack of leadership displayed by the Republican leadership through this scandal. The poll also finds the American people continue to believe gay and lesbian Americans deserve the same rights and protections as all Americans and their relationships deserve legal recognition.
The Human Rights Campaign has been monitoring what seems to be a coordinated effort to place blame on the gay community and ‚Äúequate Mark Foley‚Äôs disgraceful behavior to the fact that he is gay.‚ÄĚ ¬†
Below are some of the quotes spewed by conservatives in their failed public relations blitz to lay the blame on gays. Pat Robertson on The 700 Club, Oct. 5 said, ‚ÄúThe news is the Republicans have formed a circular firing squad, and they‚Äôre firing away. It‚Äôs just insane, this atavistic spirit to find blame just before an election. They‚Äôd be better to say, ‚ÄėWell, this man‚Äôs gay, he does what gay people do, and so don‚Äôt worry about it.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIf the Republican House leadership is guilty of anything, it is of being too tolerant, of allowing political correctness, a fear of being called homophobic, to trump common sense,‚ÄĚ said Pat Buchanan on Oct. 6. ‚ÄúWhether we admit it or not, many male homosexuals have a thing for teenage boys, which is why so many of them wind up with black eyes when they try to pick them up.‚ÄĚ
Tony Perkins‚Äô message to Friends of Family Research Council, said on Oct. 2, ‚ÄúDemocrats seeking to exploit the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley are right to criticize the slow response of Republican congressional leaders to his communications with male pages. But neither party seems likely to address the real issue, which is the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.‚ÄĚ
The Arlington Group made a statement, Oct. 3: ‚ÄúWe are very concerned that the early warnings of Mr. Foley‚Äôs odd behavior toward young male pages may have been overlooked or treated with deference, fearing a backlash from the radical gay rights movement because of Mr. Foley‚Äôs sexual orientation.‚ÄĚ
Right-wing blogger Cliff Kincaid, on Oct. 9, wrote, ‚ÄúFor the sake of honest and open government, not to mention protection of the children, the secret Capitol Hill homosexual network must be exposed and dismantled.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe fact that Americans find former Rep. Foley‚Äôs alleged conduct reprehensible shows we have not bought into the false ideology that ‚Äėall sex should be celebrated‚Äô or that age of consent laws should be reduced as some special interest groups demand,‚ÄĚ said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America on Oct. 3. ‚ÄúNot all ‚Äėdiversity‚Äô should be accepted and not all conduct or beliefs should be ‚Äėtolerated.‚Äô In the real world, there is such a thing as right and wrong.‚ÄĚ
Paul Weyrich on All Things Considered, Oct. 4 said, ‚ÄúHere is the real problem. It has been known for many years that Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI think that this‚ÄĒthere‚Äôs an indication, there‚Äôs clear research that shows that homosexual men are more likely to abuse children than straight men. And when it comes to government, yes, I have a concern that any type of sexual deviancy is a problem,,‚ÄĚ stated Tony Perkins on Hardball, Oct. 3.
‚ÄúSome right-wing leaders and politicians have tried to divert attention from the congressional leadership‚Äôs failure to investigate Mark Foley‚Äôs abhorrent behavior, and their cover-up in order to hold on to power, by insisting that his being gay was the central issue,‚ÄĚ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.¬† ‚ÄúConservative politicians have tried to promote prejudice against gay Americans, rather than push for accountability in this scandal. Today‚Äôs poll shows that Americans reject their outrageous claims.‚ÄĚ