Family Groups Press for Meeting with Paramount

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - As homosexual rights groups pressure Paramount to silence Dr Laura Schlesinger for what they consider to be her disparaging comments about homosexuals, a coalition of family organizations is requesting a meeting with the entertainment giant to ensure that the popular radio talk show host is allowed to speak her mind.

A diverse inter-faith coalition of 10 pro-family leaders, including three former homosexuals, are waiting for a reply to their March 10 request for a meeting with Paramount to talk with studio executives from the point of view of people who support Schlesinger and who are afraid she'll be censored.

"If to be fair, Paramount meets with gay activists - not only gay activists but extremists who compare faith-based groups to Nazis - then they should do the courtesy of meeting with people who stand for basic morality," Peter LaBarbara, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and author of the letter, told CNSNews.com.

Schlesinger, an orthodox Jew, has drawn fire from homosexual rights groups for describing homosexuality as a "deviant sexual orientation." In a syndicated radio show that reaches an estimates 20 million listeners in the U.S. and Canada, Schlesinger also speaks favorably of reparative therapies for people who want to come out of homosexuality, and is opposed to same-sex "marriage."

Schlesinger was forced to cancel several events in recent days, including a fundraiser last week for abused children in Detroit, out of fears demonstrators could physically threaten attendees. Homosexual activists staged a protest last week outside the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood to protest Paramount's plan for a TV talk show for Schlesinger in the fall.

Joe Glover, president of Family Policy Network, told CNSNews.com "homosexual activists want to claim that Dr. Laura is intolerant. Meanwhile they're threatening to crash her charity banquet. It looks to me like they're the real source of hate in this cultural debate."

"Few in the mainstream media are honest enough to explain that conservatives oppose the behavior which destroys the lives of homosexuals because we care about their plight," he added.

However, Schlesinger's critics say she is not qualified to speak authoritatively on such complicated matters as reparative therapy. A national homosexual rights group told CNSNews.com that the talk show host's opponents want to send a message to media outlets around the country that there's a price to pay for "giving an audience to people with such extreme views" as Schlesinger's.

The downside of this, from the protester's point of view, is "it usually just brings more attention to a particular figure and only solidifies their base audience and thus gives the production company greater determination to move forward," Kevin Ivers, director of public affairs for the Log Cabin Republicans, told CNSNews.com.

Ivers criticized Schlesinger for allegedly telling people, some of whom are at risk for suicide, "that they have a biological illness because they're gay."

"And secondly, I would hope that people who are gay and at risk don't spend their time reaching out to crackpot psychotherapists on the radio and instead reach out to their churches, to other people in the gay community, to their families and look for support where they can count on it," he added.

No one should take away Schlesinger's right to free speech, Ivers said, "but no critic who thinks her point of view should not be out there should give her anymore publicity than she's already getting, which is only going to strengthen her hand for this TV show."

Homosexual activist groups also are coming under increased fire from family groups who believe they are stifling any debate on the merits of reparative therapy for those who want it.

"Frequently I challenge reporters by asking 'why are we told this is a line them up and march them off to a control camp to change their minds situation,' when all of the ex-gay ministries I'm aware of only work with individuals who are interested or willing to change their particular behavior," said Rev. Craig Bensen, a pastor and counselor and co-founder of Vermont's first ex-gay ministry.

Bensen, who took part in the recent debate in Vermont on same-sex "marriages," told CNSNews.com he was appalled at the way proponents of reparative therapy are depicted as "bigots" and "homophobes" who are "ignorant."

Bensen said the majority whip for the Democrats in the Vermont Senate said, "The types who oppose same-sex marriages are the type who don't have library cards."

"This is a free speech issue as well as a truth issue. This is constitutionally protected speech that actually happens to be true and the media don't want to report it and the gays don't want it to exist," Bensen said.

Paramount refuses to drop the show, and homosexual activists vowed they would carry on their campaign against Schlesinger to television advertisers.

LaBarbera said family groups should rally in support of Schlesinger, who he said is being unjustly attacked.

"She's letting people see it's okay to defend basic morality," he said. "She's showing people it's okay to stand up for what you believe."