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Protesters Counter Illinois #1 Anti-Gay Bigot Tonight in Arlington Heights

Tonight pro-gay activists with the Gay Liberation Network, the Congregational United Church of Christ of Arlington Heights and individuals from the community countered the first public appearance in many months by Illinois's #1 hater of gays, Peter LaBarbera.

GLN permalink posted March 23, 2009
Updated March 27, 2009

LaBarbera has long been active in far right organizing:

as a DC operative with Concerned Women for America, an anti-women's rights group with strong support in wealthy right wing foundation circles

– then as Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, an outfit labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (see http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp#s=IL)

– and now with his Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

With his breathless "undercover" reports about International Mr. Leather and other gay events, LaBarbera's obsession about gay sex has become legendary in LGBT political circles. His "activism" would be laughable if it wasn't also dangerous — LaBarbera was the principal proponent of the two failed attempts to get anti-gay initiatives on the Illinois ballot.

*** Appearing last year on a program with lunatic legislator Rep. Sally "homosexuals are worse than terrorism" Kern of Oklahoma, he said that the gay lobby "threatens America and threatens children."

*** Addressing the increasing pogromist atmosphere against LGBT people in Uganda, he said "At AFTAH, we preach Christian mercy and have denounced Talibanesque capital punishment for homosexuals in countries like Iran. But we also believe that if states and localities here in America (and governments abroad) wish to ban sodomy, they have every right to do so…"

*** Talking about John Berry, the new head of the federal government's Office of Personnel Management, he said "So, what we have is sort of a subversive — if you could call it that — homosexual activist, and now he's going to have an even much more visible and powerful role at OPM, which is a very powerful job in Washington."

While LaBarbera drew only about 30 listeners to his speech tonight, it would be foolish to dismiss the threat that he potentially represents. History has shown that far-right lunatics who gain only small numbers of adherents during normal times, can rapidly get many more followers in times of economic crisis when people fearful of losing their livelihoods and life savings are much more open to messages of scapegoating. One of the best antidotes is to, as was done tonight, relentlessly expose haters like Peter LaBarbera so that only their most hard-core haters continue to follow them.

While Peter LaBarbera attempts to cultivate an image of benevolent Christian piety, while also opposing equal rights for gay people, not all of his followers are so subtle. This man was livid with rage against our protest, yelling
"FAGGOT FAGGOT FAGGOT" at the top of his lungs.

Our action against Peter LaBarbera got a pair of very nice write-ups by ubber-fabulous Lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend.

See them here:

IL: The Peter's anti-gay speaking gig in Arlington Heights brings out demonstrators

The Peter doesn't like being called a bigot (or Satan's Lover)


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