Speaking to a group of Catholic students at Iowa State University last month, Jennifer Roback Morse, head of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute, said that Tyler Clementi’s suicide was influenced by a sexual encounter he had with an older man and that gay activists are manipulating young people for “some sort of political vision.” She unsurprisingly didn’t mention the invasive webcam spying his roommate did on more than one occasion nor the taunting Clementi endured online as a result. The Clementi family responded by demanding an apology from Morse for exploiting Tyler’s name “to advance an anti-equality agenda.”
Now, Morse has released a statement in which she not only refuses to apologize, but doubles down on the very duplicitous claims that got her in trouble in the first place:
MORSE: The media and activists groups are mischaracterizing my remarks, in which I urged students to befriend gay students, and also urged them all to adhere to the traditional standards of sexual morality. I believe that engaging in uncommitted sex hurts people of both genders and all sexual orientations. I would be happy to meet with Tyler Clementi’s mom and dad to try to move forward and go beyond the highly charged rhetoric that doesn’t help anyone. I don’t think the Clementis know me or what I believe or think or said. Reaching out across lines of moral difference in a spirit of love is my mission. In the meantime, I would invite anyone to come to the Ruth Institute website and listen to the entire podcast for themselves.
There is no evidence whatsoever that “uncommitted sex” did anything to “hurt” Tyler Clementi. Furthermore, Morse is continuing to encourage young people to engage in the very kind of anti-gay condemning of their peers that clearly did have a profound effect on Clementi’s sense of security and well-being.
It seems unlikely the Clementi family is convinced by this statement that NOM’s agenda is any less “cruel” than they described it. Besides, they still haven’t received an apology.