Brownback’s attendance at Perry/AFA event stirs protests in Kansas
Activists in Kansas, “outraged” at Gov. Sam Brownback’s participation in next month’s prayer and fasting event hosted by Gov. Rick Perry and the controversial American Family Association, have begun protesting their newly elected governor’s attendance, calling on him to cancel his plans.
“There are a lot of people in this state that are outraged that our governor would attend an event hosted by a group that blames gays and lesbians for the Holocaust and for Hurricane Katrina,” said Kansas Equality Coalition Chairman Thomas Witt in a phone interview. “The AFA’s mission is to smear and vilify the LGBT community, we do not think it’s appropriate for our governor to go to something like this.”
AFA is classified as an ‘anti-gay’ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, for its inflammatory views targeting the LGBT community. With a stated goal of combating the “homosexual agenda,” AFA has made attacking the LGBT “lifestyle” a hallmark issue and lobbies to oppose gay and lesbian involvement through consumer boycotts and petitions.
AFA president Tim Wildmon has called homosexual behavior “immoral, unnatural and unhealthy,” while Bryan Fischer, director of policy analysis, routinely takes aim at the LGBT community in his blog, likening the “risks” and “dangers” of homosexuality to drug use, as the Texas Independent previously reported. In January, Fischer said Nazism began as a movement of “homosexual thugs.”
In late June, the Kansas Equality Coalition organized a protest outside the statehouse in Topeka. Several of the activists showed up at Brownback’s office with a letter, saying that his participation in the Houston rally “condones a view that relegates us to being less than second-class citizens,” the AP reported.
Brownback and his spokesperson did not (and still have yet to) respond to the request. The group plans to rally again at the statehouse on Aug. 6 — the day of the prayer summit in Houston — sending a message to their elected official that his alignment with AFA is unacceptable. A growing number of organizations are coordinating with the group to show their disproval as well.
Given Brownback’s record of opposing gay marriage, and his strong support from evangelical Christians, Witt says his failure to respond to the coalition is not necessarily surprising, but still “incredibly disturbing.” Brownback remains the only governor who has responded ‘yes’ to an invitation from Perry, sent to all 49 other state leaders.
The Texas Independent has reported on the local, state and national condemnation surrounding the event, and Perry’s affiliation with the American Family Association.