The Iowa Independent’s Jason Hancock is reporting that the Family Leader — a group spearheading a campaign to revoke same-sex marriage in Iowa — has removed a link to a website called ‘Second Hand Effects‘ (of homosexuality) which had described homosexuality as a public health crisis akin to smoking and endorsed discredited ex-gay reversal therapies. Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper first discovered the link by altering the group’s URL and I later found it on the group’s website:
Julie Summa, director of marketing and public outreach for The Family Leader, told Hancock that the link was removed because the seminar series has not been offered for around two years but did not rebuke its most offensive contents:
“The Second Hand Effects link shouldn’t be on our ‘Capturing Momentum Tour’ web page, which was created from an old template,” she said. “We plan to remove it as you are correct, we do not currently offer the seminar and have not had a full seminar in about two years.”
The seminar series, which is advertised as exposing the “public health crisis of same-sex activity,” was first discovered by the “Good As You” blog, but garnered headlines when it was brought up by reporters at a press conference organized by The Family Leader with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The group’s CEO and president — Bob Vander Plaats — said the seminar hasn’t been offered since he came on board in November and vowed to look into the continued mention of the series on the group’s website.
“It is a true statement that the seminar has not been held under his leadership,” Summa said Tuesday. “I verified with our staffer responsible for the seminar, and it has been about two years ago that our organization has offered a Second Hand Effects full seminar.”
As I discovered in Iowa last week, the group’s message about the consequences of homosexuality on society has not been lost on state lawmakers. Iowa State Rep. Dwayne Alons (R) — a co-sponsor of Iowa’s anti-gay marriage bill — told me, “that whole lifestyle has brought a lot of problems to society” before suggesting that gay people have shorter life spans.