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Ex-Gay Gadfly Stephen Bennett Asks Question at Values Voters Debate

Timothy Kincaid

September 17th, 2007

The “values voters” seem (so far) to be obsessed about homosexuality. And the candidates that showed up to pander are playing right along. They all weighed in on how to oppose “the homosexual agenda” with only Ron Paul hedging his anti-gay attitudes in terms of libertarianism.

Every single candidate present would veto ENDA, would support a federal marriage amendment, and would support healthcare policies that would reward a “moral” lifestyle.

So it’s not too surprising that Stephen Bennett was trotted out to ask the following question:

Would you support legislation ensuring that schools would lose federal funding if they exposed children to homosexual indoctrination?

They all said yes.

UPDATE: Peter LaBarbera appeared to ask a “question” to Mitt Romney… who wasn’t there to answer. What miniscule credibility this circus of the extreme had was completely abolished by allowing questions to non-present candidates. Those candidates that showed up should be ashamed.

Mat Staver “asked a question” of Fred Thompson comparing gay marriage to slavery.

UPDATE: A straw poll took place following the debate in which this slick bar-graph declared Mike Huckabee the winner. Janet Folger (left) gesticulated wildly.



a. mcewen
September 17th, 2007 | LINK

geez was david parker there too?

September 17th, 2007 | LINK

i would just like to correct an inaccuracy above about ron paul’s position on the federal marriage amendment. “all” the candidates didn’t support the amendment. Ron Paul didn’t vote for it in Congress and has repeatedly said that he supports leaving gay marriage up to the individual states (as the defense of marriage act does), or in an ideal world, not up to government at all but up to individual churches.

Lynn David
September 17th, 2007 | LINK


Alan Keyes didn’t out-moral Mike Huckabee? I’m appalled, I tell you!! Appalled!!!

Finally… yikes! Any presidential candidate who was in a debate with Stephen Bennett and Pete LaBarbera as questioners isn’t worthy of hte title President of the United States.

September 17th, 2007 | LINK

What do you think of the Value Voters’ agenda as stated on their “about” page at

What parts, if any, do you find reasonable among their stated goals?

September 18th, 2007 | LINK

Sorry David — took a awhile to read it. For some reason it’s coming up in Arabic, from a pirate server somewhere in Afghanistan.

I was able to (hopefully) accurately translate the page. (thank “The Creator” for!)

“we are all created equal … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness blah blah”

“secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
(and we do mean, ourselves)

Everything in between indicates they’re paying lip service to the former, and aiming for the latter.

Which probably explains why it’s in Arabic, and on a pirate server somewhere in Afghanistan.

(Others can answer in all seriousness, if they care to. As someone thankfully outside the reach of that particular cultural milieu — as of now — we find the whole thing rather beyond absurd. Is this sort of thing due to home-schooling and gated-communities or something???)

September 18th, 2007 | LINK

>>”Would you support legislation ensuring that schools would lose federal funding if they exposed children to homosexual indoctrination?”

>They all said yes.

I would like to point out that Paul would like to get rid of Federal control of education entirely and leave it to the states, a position that is hard to express using only red and green lights. You may certainly disagree with him on whether cutting out the Department of Education is a good idea, but his answer is consistent with that position.

In other words, I doubt his answer was because he hates gays, but because he hates government — or at least, federal intrusion into local issues.

September 18th, 2007 | LINK

I read that agenda. I could write for pages about how they go from what is not true to what does not follow, but I’ll just answer your question:

Part I of Number 9:
“True Enforcement and Border Security”

I agree that we should not be allowing people to illegally sneak into our country. So yes, I agree our security is lax and in need of true enforcement.

Timothy Kincaid
September 18th, 2007 | LINK

To the Ron Paul supporters:

It is sometimes difficult to determine exactly what he means when he speaks. He may well oppose a federal marriage amendment, I really couldn’t tell.

However, from his language it was clear to me that he did not view gay people as equal citizens. He used some “them and us” language about gays imposing on “our families”.

I don’t disagree with Paul’s libertarian ideals and to the extent that he is consistent (ie. opposing hate crimes for race, religion, etc.) then that’s fine.

But let’s not become confused and think that he’s a champion for equality and opponent to bigotry. He had an opportunity to show himself as such last night and failed miserably, in my opinion.

September 18th, 2007 | LINK


I thank you for giving an honest answer to my question and for your willingness to actually read through their agenda in order to give that answer.

I must say I am disappointed that you are the only Box Turtle Bulletin reader who was willing to do so.

September 20th, 2007 | LINK


Ron Paul does oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment–that’s in the record.

Frankly, I didn’t like the way Dr. Paul phrased some of his answers, and it’s pretty clear that he’s a bit uncomfortable with the topic. And I’m not a knee jerk supporter who agrees with him 100%. But I failed to hear any examples of rank bigotry from Mr. Paul. Perhaps some ignorance, but I don’t think he is a bigot.

And as a previous commenter noted, you also have to view Dr. Paul’s answers in terms of his overall libertaian philosophy.

The bottom line is that while gay issues are very important, the issues of a murderous interventionist U.S. foreign policy, the prospect of a war with Iran, the criminality of the Bush administration, growing domestic abuses of human rights, and an out of control Federal government and a disintegrating dollar and economy eclipse ALL ELSE in my opinion.

It’s fine to be critical of Dr. Paul , but keep in mind the larger picture here.

Timothy Kincaid
September 20th, 2007 | LINK


I’m glad to hear he opposes the FMA. But I didn’t hear that at the debate and I doubt the audience did as well. He talked around the question leaving me with a false impression.

I don’t object to you making your decisions based on whatever criteria you believe is best. However, here at BTB we tend to discuss politicians from the perspective of how they would (or do) legislate on equality. That’s our interest and we believe that there are more than enough sites that evaluate positions on Iran.

So it is unlikely that we will be tempering our criticism of someone’s lack of respect for gay citizens by their views on Darfur, Iran, budget deficits, or really anything else.

Nonetheless, I do understand that Paul’s objection to ENDA is based differently than Keyes’.

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