A media campaign about overcoming homosexuality may never again see airtime on any major television network due to complaints from homosexual-rights activists.

"We're experiencing what we believe to be censorship," says John Paulk, a social research analyst for Focus on the Family, one of eight conservative organizations sponsoring the ad campaign.

Paulk contends that homosexual-rights activists have blocked the commercials from running on major television stations nationally after their meetings with station programming directors. After originally accepting a paid "Truth in Love" commercial, Time Warner Communications and Central Florida News 13 jointly decided not to run it because the corporation and affiliate station were "concerned that the advertisement could be perceived by our viewers as subjecting the gay and lesbian community to discrimination."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) began protesting the TV commercials on the HRC Web site after the first spot aired on WDCA TV, a UPN affiliate in Washington, D.C., in May. "This politically motivated right-wing ad campaign is nothing more than degradation in a pretty package," Elizabeth Birch, director of HRC, says. The HRC has created its own TV campaign promoting acceptance of homosexuals. It has aired in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Using the Internet, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also organized resistance to the commercials. GLAAD posted the contact names and numbers of station managers and listed instructions on how to educate media personnel "to reject these harmful, hate-filled ads."

Last year, full-page newspaper ads featuring married couples who reported they had overcome homosexuality created a firestorm (CT, Sept. 7, 1998, p. 19). "Our ads are very effective, loving, and affirming," says Bob Davies, executive director of Exodus International North America, a ministry for people who want to overcome homosexuality. "We don't slam anyone. We only offer an alternative."

Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has produced three commercials in all. One presents former homosexual couples telling their personal story, then flashes the Exodus contact number with the tagline, "It is not about hate. It is about hope." An other features a mother with her formerly homosexual son and the message, "Love your children enough to let them know the truth. There is hope for change."

"The same organizations that preach tolerance aren't tolerant of other viewpoints," Davies says.

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