The Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay organization once fronted by Peter LaBarbera, has protested at being declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Member Laurie Higgins claims the IFI has been targeted purely because of its moral views on homosexuality.
Writing on the website Opposing Views, Higgins says that:
Since, in the distorted view of pro-homosexual organizations, our efforts constitute hatred, the only way we can be deemed not hateful is to change our views on the nature and morality of homosexual conduct, or to accept the continued use of public money to affirm and advance liberal/radical views on the nature and morality of homosexual conduct through public education. That’s a pretty tall and scary order.
Higgins would have us believe that merely being conservative on homosexuality makes one a target of the SPLC – but in fact, of the hundreds of anti-gay groups in the US, the SPLC has identified only 12 as hate groups.
Closer investigation reveals that IFI is typical of those on the Center’s list. As Alvin McEwen writes:
[The] problem with groups such as IFI is that they practice a sort of intellectual violence in which they are willing to distort credible research as well as rely on bad studies to give a negative view of the lgbt community – i.e. painting them as monsters who should be hindered and stopped at every turn.
In the OV article, Higgins tries unsuccessfully to absolve the IFI of a classic, giveaway trait of anti-gay hate groups: use of the flawed, heinously distorted “research” of Paul Cameron, the discredited academic whose studies have been denounced by numerous credible scientific organizations.
There is nothing arbitrary about the SPLC list. The website defines an anti-gay group thus:
Anti-gay groups are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.
The IFI finds itself in the company of Watchmen on the Walls, a group co-founded by Scott Lively, the Holocaust revisionist who recently called for homosexuals in Uganda to be subject to state-sponsored, involuntary reparative therapy.