Values Voter Summit: Anti-Gay Activists Warn of Repression of Religion

On the first day of the Values Voter Summit, speakers discussed embryonic stem-cell research (Sen. Brownback: "If you research and you kill a human at that stage [embryo], that human doesn't have a rest of a life"), abortion (Bishop Wellington Boone: African Americans are an "endangered species" because of "black genocide" through abortion), and the war on terror (James Dobson, ever conscious of upcoming elections: "I really see that as a family issue"). But by far the greatest emphasis was placed on the supposed dangers of the "homosexual agenda."

While some speakers, such as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia), asserted that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is a "foundational value" upon which America is built, and others proclaimed the unfitness of gays to be parents (Jennifer Giroux of Citizens for Community Values: "The ultimate child abuse is placing a child in a gay home"), many speakers pushed the notion of a "homosexual agenda" to the limit. Dobson asserted that the goal of advocates of same-sex marriage is to simply "bring down marriage." (Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that the divorce of the Goodridges, named in the Massachusetts case that established marriage equality in the state, proves that point. "That tells you the commitment to the institution of marriage," he said.) Princeton Professor Robert George, architect of the "Princeton Principles" against gay marriage, warned that the "forces arrayed against the conjugal conception of marriage are very powerful ... And they will strike hard."

And, beginning with Romney, speakers warned that equality for gays will lead to "repression" of Christians. "The homosexual agenda and [freedom of] religion are on a collision course," said Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, as Perkins added that "They know they must silence the church."

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado), sponsor of the federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, said that "If we have gay marriage, our religious liberties are gone!" And Maggie Gallagher, noting the analogy between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement, said that "They're going to have to start enforcing" some kind of "repression," just as there is "a broad array of ways in which the law penalizes, marginalizes, and punishes racial bigots."