Updated August 28, 2006 Compiled & written by Mike Fitzpatrick
Quest News Update
Reality Check: The Column
Also Breaking Today: Wisconsin Ban Opponents' Two-Day Canvass Reaches 25,000 HouseholdsFocus On The Family Joins Wisconsin Marriage Ban Battle
Milwaukee - A co-sponsored, complimentary August 29 training seminar here for "pastors and Christian leaders" marks the formal entry of one of the nation's largest Religious Right organizations into the ballot battle over the proposed amendment to the Wisconsin constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions.
The day-long "Standing In The Gap" seminar on homosexuality issues is co-sponsored by the Jame Dobson helmed group and the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, the statewide organization organizing support for the amendment. The event will be held at the non-denominational New Testament Church of Milwaukee, 10201 West Bradley Road from 8:30 AM - 3 PM.
Among the topics to be addressed by Focus On The Family speakers at the conference are "Debunking the 'Born Gay' Myth," "Responding To Pro-Gay Revisionist Theology," "Straight Thinking on 'Gay' Marriage," and "Marriage Under Fire In Wisconsin." The seminar is billed as addressing the "culturally confusing, divisive and timely topic" and equipping attendees "to more effectively convey God's truth about homosexuality - compassionately and without compromise."
Focus On The Family recently released "Why Not Gay Marriage," a DVD and accompanying booklet with that promises "answers to some of the most-often asked questions in the 'gay marriage' debate." Nearly 70 minutes in length, the DVD features Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, who travels the country approximately 12-15 times a year debating the issue.
"The way we have made gains in the pro-life movement, is by finally getting our talking points right - finally being able to talk persuasively about the unborn child, " Stanton said in a press release announcing the DVD. "We thought, we need to do that on this issue. The same-sex marriage issue is like the abortion issue in that it's a hugely consequential issue that addresses fundamental questions about what it means to be human."
With a reported annual revenue in 2005 nearing $138 million, the Colorado-based Focus On The Family is the second largest Religious Right group in the United States according to "The Top Ten Power Brokers Of The Religious Right," a recent report issued by the liberal Americans United For The Separation of Church and State. Although sometimes mistakenly identified as a minister, James Dobson is a child psychologist who founded Focus on the Family in 1977 and whose syndicated columns and radio broadcasts are widely available in Wisconsin.
In 2005 the Wisconsin Legislature voted to hire lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Dobson-founded, self-described "Christian legal team" to insert the legislature into the lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin chapter of the ACLU and six lesbian couples against the state over domestic partner benefits. Wisconsin Public Television recently utilized an ADF-provided attorney to make the case for the proposed constitutional amendment banning legal recognition for all unmarried couples in a "mock trial" to be aired next month on the network.
Marriage ban opponents also appear to have support from national groups. Both the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay And Lesbian Task Force have links relating to the Wisconsin amendment battle on their websites. However, those groups are dwarfed in scope by the Dobson operation. In an exclusive 2005 Quest interview, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman noted: "Focus On The Family has more money and more employees than every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered organization combined."