While mainline denominations struggle this summer over homosexuality as a theological issue, Religious Right activists are increasingly addressing it as a public-policy matter. Consider the protest targets of religiously oriented conservative groups in this month alone:

• The Thirteenth National Lesbian and Gay Health Conference, scheduled for July 24–29 in New Orleans. The event received an undesignated $25,000 federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which the CDC says was to be used for AIDS-related workshops. Critics contend the money was used for other parts of the conference. According to a preliminary program released last month, topics at the conference include “Creating Mythologies and Rituals for Queer People,” “The Lesbian Erotic Dance,” “SEXCESSful Teen Outreach,” and “Eroticizing Safer Sex for Women.”

• A Public Broadcasting System showing of Tongues Untied, an explicit film about the trials faced by black homosexual men, which was scheduled for July 16. According to conservative groups, the movie received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) production grant. It was originally shown at the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which also received an NEA grant, and is now receiving more tax support through publicly funded TV.

• Two gay-rights bills in the California state legislature. Rallies are being held across the state to oppose the bills that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing and employment and would allow homosexual couples to register as “domestic partners.”

The ‘Gay Nineties’

People for the American Way (PAW), the liberal lobby created to counter the Religious Right, charges that conservative Christians are making this the ...

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