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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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April 26, 2005

Hate violence and attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people continue to pose a significant and daunting threat across the nation and in Michigan, even as crime rates in general decline, according to the annual report of anti-GLBT violence released today by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) and Triangle Foundation.

The total number of anti-GLBT incidents reported to NCAVP as a whole increased 4% last year with a total of 1,792. In Michigan there were 93 incidents, also a 4% increase. The report provides a glimpse into some of the latest trends in violence against GLBT people in a number of cities and regions throughout the Unites States, including Michigan.

Leaders of the GLBT anti-violence community also pointed to the singularly dangerous difference of violence against the GLBT community, as violence rooted in the "hatred of difference, which has fueled most of the shameful chapters in our history as well as a large share of the human tragedies unfolding throughout the world today.

"Clearly we have entered a new and frightening era for anti-GLBT violence, "said Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of Triangle Foundation. "Trends in the violence against our community are largely a
function ---a physical, real-life, real-time manifestation--- of the rhetorical and political attacks being waged against GLBT communities, individuals and families even while making we chart progress in the face of those attacks. "

"The goal of NCAVP and its members like Triangle Foundation are tied to creating an environment in which anti-GLBT violence is in fact unacceptable if not wholly unexpected, "said Clarence Patton, Acting Executive Director of NCAVP. " At present, as our report illustrates, we are along way from such an environment, "he concluded.

Ongoing and increasing levels of violence against the GLBT community are seen in the context of accelerating political attacks on gay people as is clear in an analysis of statewide elections in 2004, including in Michigan, which banned same-sex marriage and codified the second-class status of same-gender relationships and GLBT people in eleven states. Those ballot measures, as well as President George Bush's support for an amendment to the US Constitution which would Federalize the ban on marriage, were the driving force for hard-right wing attacks and ushered in a new era of hatred and demonization toward GLBT people.

"Hard-right conservatives and other fundamentalists have much to answer for in the numbers we reveal in this report, "said Montgomery. "But in spite of their best efforts to erase us from the American family portrait the march toward GLBT equality goes on and gains ground every day. "

Among several recommendations suggested in the report, NCAVP called for means to foster public, educational, political and cultural climates at local, state and Federal levels that make clear that acts of anti-GLBT hatred and bias have no part in a civil society.

Specifically, schools should have in place programs that adopt tolerance education curricula and protocols for protecting students who identify or are perceived to be GLBT; political leaders of every party should speak out forcefully against anti-GLBT discrimination and violence and support genuine efforts to prevent them; and businesses should establish and enforce appropriate GLBT acceptance and anti-discrimination standards for
the workplace.

Furthermore, religious leaders must make it clear that no major religious tradition holds violence as an acceptable tenet, and finally, the media must explain and report anti-GLBT violence in its proper context, namely as a broader pattern of occurrence that reflects and cases harm to everyone on America.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs is a network of over twenty anti-violence organizations across the country that monitor and respond to incidents of bias and domestic violence, HIV-related violence,
pick-up crimes, rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence affecting the GLBT community.

Triangle Foundation, a founding member of NCAVP, is Michigan's GLBT anti-violence project, as well as the leading civil rights and advocacy organization serving the GLBT community.

FOR IMMEDIATE USE Contact: Jeffrey Montgomery 313-537-3323, ext




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