The family of Tyler Clementi — backed by GLAAD, the Human Rights the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and Equality Matters — on Monday called on Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to apologize for a recent speech in which she used the story of Tyler Clementi’s death as an example of why it is “not the best thing” to let LGBT people be friends with other LGBT people, or be supported by the LGBT community.
In her speech to Iowa State University students on February 17, Morse said, “There are a lot of situations where people are doing something sexual that’s probably not the best thing for them…” and used Clementi as an example of LGBT youth who she claimed are, “getting help and support from the gay activists who have their own thing that they’re doing which is not necessarily to help the individuals but they’ve got some sort of political vision.”
Clementi, was a student at Rutgers University when he jumped to his death in 2010 after his roommate used a webcam to record him in an intimate encounter with another man.
“To exploit our late son’s name to advance an anti-equality agenda is offensive and wrong,” said Joe and Jane Clementi, the parents of Tyler Clementi.
“By doing so, National Organization for Marriage prove that not only is there no low they will not sink to, to advance their cruel agenda – but that neither they nor Ms. Morse have any grip on reality. The very idea that Tyler’s tragedy happened because of too much support – instead of not enough – is ludicrous. Shame on them,” said Tyler’s parent.
“This is among the more reprehensible tactics we’ve seen from NOM, and this is a group whose internal documents touted the use of racially-motivated tactics to pit Black and Latino people against their own LGBT friends, neighbors and family members,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Now they’re using Tyler’s story to pit young people against their own peers.”
Article continues below“That NOM would invoke Tyler as a part of spreading their hateful messages shows a real lack of moral compass,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “This is more proof that NOM is not in tune with mainstream America but instead is driven by the fringe agenda of a few secretive anti-gay donors. NOM should do the right thing and immediately apologize to the Clementi family.”
“Morse’s comments make clear that NOM isn’t just interested in stopping marriage equality. It’s an organization that seeks to marginalize and stigmatize the LGBT community as a whole, even if that means exploiting the death of an 18-year-old college student,” said Equality Matters’ Carlos Maza.
“Though she claimed to be interested in helping LGBT youth in her speech, her comments really reveal the depths of NOM’s anti-gay animus,” said Maza.
Morse also recently told Lutheran Public Radio that acceptance of same-sex relationships can be compared to acceptance of incest.
Morse is the President and Founder of NOM’s Ruth Institute.