Orlando gay rights activists are challenging Orlando’s proclamation of July 21 as an official ex-gay day.
City Council member Vicki Vargo proclaimed July 21 as Exodus
International Day to honor the faith-based group that claims it can turn
homosexual people straight.
The proclamation, signed by Vargo and stamped with the official city
seal, included several Bible passages and commended Exodus for “providing
ministry to hurting people in our community.”
Activists are still angry about the document, which appears to muddy
the separation between church and state. Last week, [Mayor] Dyer ordered his legal
team to review the City Council’s process for issuing proclamations.
“Government needs to understand it needs to get out of the religious
business,” said Richard Wilson, a local First Amendment attorney who called
the document “very inappropriate” and is investigating the city’s
proclamation practices for constitutional violations.
The injection of politicized religion into public policy is arguably what Exodus Day sought to accomplish. That — and, more importantly, free media coverage for Exodus.
Like many public-policy organizations, gay-related and otherwise, Exodus periodically sparks a media circus in order to spare itself the high cost and time commitment that would be required of constructive outreach.
The article draws a connection between Exodus and other recent media circuses involving public monuments to the Ten Commandments.
Council members and the mayor issue dozens of proclamations and
resolutions each year. The documents are purely ceremonial and do not
impose laws or ordinances.
Unfortunately, no one in the article considers whether all such proclamations and resolutions should be prohibited. XGW suggests that they should.
It was Vargo’s proclamation, however, that stirred controversy
because it honored a group some said they find offensive.
“They’re a hate group,” said Royce Matthews, who has inundated city
officials with e-mails demanding that the proclamation be recalled. “She’s
supposed to represent all the citizens, and she’s not,” Matthews said of
Either Matthews fails to define “hate,” or the article fails to report Exodus actions that Matthews considers hateful. Specifically, the article neglects to explore how Exodus leaders’ promotion of employment discrimination in Orlando might or might not qualify as “hate.”
[Exodus International executive director Alan] Chambers said Exodus International is not a hate group but believes that homosexuality is a choice and aims to offer an alternative.
And once again, either Chambers avoids specifying his unconventional definitions of “homosexuality” and “choice,” or a media outlet sloppily ignores the issue.