Thursday, May 03, 2007

PFOX Sues Again, This Time in Virginia

PFOX is like the puniest organization in the country. Almost everything the group is associated with is the work of Regina Griggs, though a couple of people lend their names to it, and the Family Blah Blah groups give them a word of support now and then. Their mission is to insist that gay people can change and become straight.

In Montgomery County, this little group sends fliers home in the kids' backpacks, and most of the time the kids just thrown them away. Well, the schools do have to pass them out, since a lawsuit required it. Down in Arlington, they apparently just say no.

Now this, from WTOP news online:
McLEAN, Va. - An organization that provides support for people who renounce their homosexuality is suing a northern Virginia school system for refusing to distribute its fliers to students.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), accuses Arlington Public Schools of infringing on its First Amendment rights by arbitrarily refusing to allow distribution of PFOX materials. Schools Sued for Refusing to Distribute Ex-Gay Fliers

Well, I'm sure the decision wasn't made "arbitrarily." The PFOX web site, for instance, is not "arbitrarily" blocked by MCPS computer networks. People don't like PFOX because they don't agree with the bigotry. PFOX's anti-gay position is unwelcome in most places.

Is that so hard to understand?
Fairfax County-based PFOX alleges in the lawsuit that other community outreach groups are routinely allowed to distribute material through the school system, but that Arlington school officials repeatedly ignored PFOX's request for similar access.

The two fliers submitted by PFOX for consideration essentially spell out the organization's goals and beliefs and provide contact information for students with questions.

"PFOX believes that no one chooses same-sex feelings or asks for them _ but ex-gays demonstrate that those with unwanted same-sex attractions can seek help and information in overcoming those feelings," one flier states.

That's fine, go ahead and believe that. Believe in flying saucers, too, if you want. Just don't be sending it home with the kids.
PFOX's attorney, Steven Aden with the Center for Law and Religious Freedom, said the school system's refusal to allow PFOX fliers stands in contrast to the schools' relationship with PFLAG, or Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a gay-rights organization that opposes efforts to "convert" homosexuals.

"PFLAG in Arlington seems to have pretty open entree into the school system," Aden said.

The school system has never explained its refusal to distribute PFOX materials, Aden said; he assumes it is because they oppose PFOX's views. Aden said PFOX has faced similar problems in other school districts and is considering its legal options.

PFOX was formed, it appears, to create the appearance of symmetry, with PFLAG on the other side of the looking-glass. PFLAG supports families of gay and lesbian people, helps them get through the surprise and the feelings that go with learning that your family member is gay, lets them express their love for one another even when that is uncomfortable and difficult.

PFOX represents denial. They try to get families to believe that their gay members can become straight, so they won't have to deal with the fact that somebody they love is ... like that.

Empathy and support on one hand, denial on the other -- does that seem symmetrical to you? Do you think the schools should send both messages home with students?

Speaking of PFLAG, there was a strange incident in Montgomery County recently, when the administration at Wootton High School took PFLAG's fliers out of the teachers' homeroom boxes and threw them away.

There are various versions of the story, but apparently the secretary who handled that stuff was out, and nobody knew what to do. I understand that apologies have been offered all around, and the incident has apparently blown over.

But ... you'd think, in a situation like this, where the public is watching, where lawyers are itching to sue, that the administration would know what they're doing, wouldn't you? I can't believe they're going to get away with blaming it on the secretary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In Montgomery County, this little group sends fliers home in the kids' backpacks, and most of the time the kids just thrown them away."

As they do with most flyers. We wouldn't expect the majority of kids to frame it and hang on their bedroom wall. The few that need and desire help are alerted where to get it.

My guess is that most kids threw away handouts from the pilot curriculum classes too.

May 03, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "The few that need and desire help are alerted where to get it.".

Anonymous, the only kind of help gay kids need is to deal with the bigotry of people like you and groups like PFOX. PFOX doesn't offer help, they offer a lie that people can turn same sex attractions into opposite sex attractions. People don't get help from PFOX, they get depression and suffering associate with trying to do the impossible and feeling guilty when one fails at it.

One of the most despicable aspects of PFOX is their claim to be "Parents and Friends of "exgays" and gays - they try to crush the rights and equality of gays and then they've got the nerve to call themselves "friends of gays", what outrageous lying hypocrites.

May 03, 2007 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, the only kind of help gay kids need is to deal with the bigotry of people like you and groups like PFOX."

Perhaps, they should have the opportunity to make that evaluation for themselves.

Would you want the government to make decisions for you?

May 04, 2007 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I expect the government to protect the me and all members of the public from sellers of snake-oil and the like. That's why we have the FDA to test and approve medical treatments before they are allowed on the market.

The entire ex-gay ministry industry now avoids this medical oversight by calling themselves "ministries" just like they did when the state of Tennessee decided to check out Love In Action after Zach Stark published his blog about his parents forcing him against his will to attend.

As a consequence of the publicity around Love in Action, the Tennessee Department of Health began an investigation and notified the unlicensed group that it appeared to be functioning illegally and could potentially be referred to the county district attorney for prosecution.

According to a report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Love in Action executive director John Smid said that Love in Action would change its program to remain unregulated by the state.

This loophole that allows "religious counseling" to damage our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children has got to be closed.

May 04, 2007 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This loophole that allows "religious counseling" to damage our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children has got to be closed."

That loophole is called the Constitution and thanks for your honesty in admitting you don't support it.

As for damage, it's a subjective assessment. One man's ceiling is anothe man's floor. Most believe "gays" are better off forsaking a dangerous lifestyle.

May 04, 2007 9:09 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Most believe "gays" are better off forsaking a dangerous lifestyle.

This may have been true at one time, probably back when some people thought you had to put quotation marks around the word gay. The novelty has worn off, the strangeness has worn off for "most." Gay people are part of our world, get used to it.


May 04, 2007 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can debate and agree to disagree on that, Jim, but the idea the mention of such a notion should be forbbiden is dangerous.

May 04, 2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

No mention has been forbidden.


May 04, 2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Everyone, straight or not, is better off forsaking a dangerous lifestyle like promiscuity. But long term committed relationships are not considered dangerous by most people.

Believing the Constitution allows us to "damage our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children" with "religious counseling" is dangerous.

May 04, 2007 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So PFOX is suing Arlington (my home). I wonder what Arlington's response will be? Arlington Public Schools does have a policy opposing discrimination against people based on sexual orientation; PFOX's fliers seem to violate that policy. Can school systems prohibit such language (e.g. can they prohibit material from groups that discriminate on the basis of race or religion?).

I of course would argue that PFOX's materials are potentially harmful to students (in a paper from one of their allied groups, they argue that incluse nondiscrimination policies material from lgbt-favorable groups are harmful to children) and thus should be prohibited.

PFOX seems to be engaging in drive-by suits of progressive jurisdictions (Arlington is, if anything, even bluer than MoCo).

I suspect the result of these actions will force most school districts to follow Fairfax's policy of not sending any non-profit materials home with students. I wonder what that will do to fliers and materials given to clubs such as the Young Republicans.

I wonder if PFOX will sue on Arlington's non-discrimination policy? They threatened to with Fairfax. I wonder if they could get standing.

Yours in South Arlington,


May 04, 2007 5:43 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

I said "Anonymous, the only kind of help gay kids need is to deal with the bigotry of people like you and groups like PFOX."

Anonymous replied "Perhaps, they should have the opportunity to make that evaluation for themselves.".

We don't allow people the opportunity to evaluate whether or not to buy substandard electrical appliances, by the same token we shouldn't give them the opportunity to choose a faulty service that's been shown to harm.

Anonymous said "Most believe "gays" are better off forsaking a dangerous lifestyle.".

There's nothing dangerous about a committed same sex marriage. And its a person's right to make choices for themselves, not other's right to force their will on gays - what you or "most" people think gays should do is irrelevant. Live your own life, stop trying to force others to live according to your selfish bigoted desires.

May 04, 2007 7:59 PM  

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