Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
'An Agenda of Perversion'
This week political advocacy groups were particularly unhappy with how President Obama celebrated "Gay Pride Month."
Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins said Obama's "allegiance is not to the majority of Americans. Despite natural and national crises, this administration has consistently put an agenda of perversion ahead of the real business at hand."
The latest controversy began when the president issued a Father's Day proclamation that included the following sentence: "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step-father, a grandfather, or caring guardian."
It was the inclusion of "two fathers" in this list of families that sparked criticism. Tom Minnery of CitizenLink said that by including "two fathers," the President approved of "motherless-ness." A similar inclusion of "two mothers" in a Mother's Day proclamation, he said, showed approval for "fatherless-ness."
"The man has come out in favor of fatherless-ness and motherless-ness," said Minnery. "A kid needs a mom and a dad, or at least a chance at a mom or a dad. But a federal government policy ever says that two fathers is just as good as a mother and a father or two mothers is a just as good as a mother and a father that will contribute to the corrosion of what we understand as family."
When asked in the comments section of a blog post about other motherless families mentioned in the proclamation, CitizenLink's Jenny Tyree said "the difference between a 'two-father' co-parent situation and all the others … is that a two men co-parenting situation is intentionally motherless."
One day after the Father's Day proclamation, the Department of Labor issued a legally binding clarification on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a law that allows parents to take up to 12 weeks each year to care for a child. The act has a broad definition of a parent. It includes anyone who takes on parental responsibilities even if they are not the legal parents or guardians. For example, this would include grandparents caring for children of parents who are absent or incapacitated. The department stated that those in same-sex relationships must also be given time to care for a child if they have taken on the role and responsibilities of being the child's parent.
"No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The Labor Department's action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA."
According to FRC's Perkins, the statement was move "to force private employers to extend benefits to homosexual couples" and a violation of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
"Families are formed only by blood, legal marriage (which under the federal DOMA means only the union of a man and a woman), or by legal adoption," said Perkins. "This latest action would for the first time force private employers in all fifty states—even those which have amended their constitution to forbid legal recognition of same-sex relationships—to extend benefits to just those relationships. Only Congress has the power to work such a dramatic change in the meaning of the FMLA."
Meanwhile, the American Family Association (AFA) called on Christians to contact Home Depot and express disapproval for its sponsorship of some gay pride events in Maine and Massachusetts. Particularly upsetting to the AFA was that Home Depot was a vendor at one event, "conducting kid's craft workshops for children in the midst of loud and boisterous gay activities."