You have probably heard of the shooting Wednesday morning of a security guard at the D.C. headquarters of the anti-gay Family Research Council. It has been reported that the man arrested for the shooting, Floyd Corkins II, had volunteered for the DC Center for the LGBT Community. The guard, who helped subdue Corkins, is reportedly in stable condition; Police Chief Cathy Lanier called him a hero.
Here is the Metro Weekly story: http://tinyurl.com/dyvkdah
Here is the Washington Blade story: http://tinyurl.com/9pre9ky
Here is Chris Geidner's story for BuzzFeed: http://tinyurl.com/9mcy4h8
Here is the Associated Press story: http://tinyurl.com/bsqybxs
AP quotes Brian Brown of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage as saying, "Today's attack is the clearest sign we've seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as `hateful' must end."
AP quotes DC Center Executive Director David Mariner as saying about suspect Corkins, "He always struck me as a kind, gentle and unassuming young man. I'm very surprised that he could be involved in something like this."
Before the suspect's connection to the DC Center was known, two dozen LGBT groups issued a statement condemning the shooting: "We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers. The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident."
Here is a link to the LGBT groups' statement:
I say this to Brian Brown: Instead of exploiting this shooting, stop slandering LGBT people. We all need to coexist in this country. Hate kills. It is hardly in your interest, Mr. Brown, to start comparing who has more blood on his hands. Gay families exist whether you like it or not. We have a right to exist. Each of us has a right to our own religious beliefs, or no religious beliefs. You do not have a right to use the government to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us. If you would stop your hate-filled campaign attacking gay and lesbian families, we could work together to promote greater tolerance and understanding for everyone in this diverse country. Who knows, we might also be able to do something about the insane proliferation of guns. Neither violence nor demonizing minority groups is an acceptable way of resolving differences.
By the way: Brian Brown's rhetoric notwithstanding, attacking gay and lesbian couples' marriage rights is NOT pro-marriage. Those of us who love our partners so much that we have spent years fighting for the right to marry, and our allies, are the ones who are pro-marriage. As the joint statement by LGBT groups demonstrates, the overwhelming consensus in our movement for equality is that our struggle must be conducted with respect and reason and in recognition of our common humanity, and in renunciation of violence. But the path toward violence begins before a gun is drawn. Incendiary and slanderous speech contributes to it, as when gay people are accused of seeking to destroy marriage. Make the case for why you think we are wrong, even dressing up your religious dogma as "natural law" if you must; but that does not require you to invent dastardly motives for us.
Finally, I draw your attention to GLAA's "Manifesto Against Religious Bullies," which I drafted and which we issued on May 25, 2012:
In peace, hope, and dignity,
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Update: David Mariner, Executive Director of The DC Center, has issued the following statement:
I was shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence. No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for the victim and our thoughts are with him and his family.