News (USA)

GOP legislators parrot anti-gay group in “Natural Family Month” proclamation

New Hampshire GOP Rep. Claudine Burnham reading the NFF proclamation
New Hampshire GOP Rep. Claudine Burnham reading the NFF proclamation Photo: Twitter screenshot

Republicans in the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently proclaimed the 35 days between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as “Natural Family Month.” The proclamation mentioned the Natural Family Foundation (NFF), an anti-LGBTQ+ group that invented “Natural Family Month” and considers same-sex families as a “corrupt,” “immoral,” and “lawless” threat that will ensure society’s “extinction.”

The proclamation — read on May 7 by House Speaker Sherman Packard (R) and sponsored by state Rep. Claudine Burnham (R) — declared, “Strong families make for stronger communities, churches, businesses” and added that “organizations like the Natural Family Foundation work to encourage parental involvement,” “recognize the important role of each parents, restore family values,” and “promote honest and open communication between families.”

However, the proclamation wasn’t transparent about NFF’s anti-LGBTQ+ views. Burnham said the proclamation recognizes “that all families are important” and called Natural Family Month as part of a “growing nationwide movement… headed by the Natural Family Foundation.” She didn’t mention that NFF opposes same-sex marriage and same-sex parents and that the group’s founder has led protests against a local Christian evangelical megachurch for not doing more to oppose homosexuality.

NFF’s website states, “When we speak of family we consider that to be without question one biological born man and woman in a lifelong, committed, monogamous relationship with their biological and/or adopted children. Anything outside of these NATURAL parameters by design causes undue stress on the marriage, children and society.” It also states that “within the family there must be a clear male leader… and that leader must come from the family’s lineage.”

NFF’s website also says that cultures that have strayed from this heterosexual and patriarchal definition of family have all met their “inevitable” “demise,” ending up no better than the average prison.

New Hampshire Democratic leaders spoke against the “Natural Families Month” proclamation.

“I am outraged that Republican leadership approved a Declaration recognizing an institution whose mission it is to attack and marginalize LGBTQ+ families, blended families, and any family that the Natural Family Foundation considers non-traditional,” state House Democratic floor leader Lucy Weber said in a statement to LGBTQ Nation. “Families of the heart are no less families than those related by blood ties…. The New Hampshire House is made up of members dedicated to the importance of the family—and that includes all families. Many of them, like me, are part of families that do not follow the dictates of the Natural Family Foundation.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley told LGBTQ Nation, “Declaring the time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ‘Natural Families Month’ is disrespectful to every LGBTQ+, blended or non-traditional family in New Hampshire. Republicans have made it clear that they will do anything to vilify and marginalize LGBTQ+ Granite Staters with their deeply unpopular agenda that includes banning trans kids from playing sports, denying gender-affirming care, and forcibly outing young people. Granite Staters are sick and tired of these attacks, which is why we will flip the State House in November and elect Democrats up and down the ticket who believe every kind of family is deserving of love and respect.”

Local political writer William Tucker noted that the lead organizer of NFF is James Harrison, a 67-year-old white man who is also the co-founder and leader of Minutemen United. In 2013, Minutemen United held weekly protests against Vineyard Columbus, an evangelical Ohio megachurch with over 8,500 members, to demonstrate against the “church’s ‘passive resistance’ to abortion and gay marriage.”

Minutemen United’s members held picket signs against same-sex marriage, shouted as cars and video recorded their license plates as they entered the church parking lot, and installed anti-abortion signs showing graphic images of aborted fetuses that frightened the church’s child-aged attendees. A professor at a local evangelical Christian college compared the group’s protest tactics to those used by the “God Hates Fags” protestors from Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church. The church ended up seeking a restraining order against Harrison’s group.

“The Minutemen and groups like them see themselves as the moral police of secular society, so the role they take is to condemn secular society and to condemn churches,” Vineyard’s senior pastor, Rev. Rich Nathan, told The Columbus Dispatch. “Our church, like many churches, sees its role very differently. Our church attempts to present Jesus Christ as savior and Lord through compassionate outreach so that men and women will be persuaded to follow him.”

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