Fox News on inauguration: "Gay America prepares to party"

The network's Web site claims there'll be "a slew of gay parties and inaugural balls," and notes that some conservatives are hopping mad.

By Alex Koppelman

Published January 15, 2009 7:25PM (EST)

Reading S.E. Cupp's article posted on Fox News' Web site Wednesday, you'd think the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama next week was practically centered around gay people and the LGBT rights movement. In the piece, headlined, "Gay America Prepares To Party at Obama Inauguration," Cupp writes:

Unprecedented inaugural celebrations for President-elect Barack Obama by gay activist groups, social organizations and ordinary citizens suggests many view Obama's election as a signal of a forthcoming sea change for the gay rights movement in America.

The Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay Episcopal bishop, will say a prayer at an inaugural event at the Lincoln Monument on Sunday; a gay and lesbian marching band will take its place in the official presidential parade; and a slew of gay parties and inaugural balls will be held in the nation's capital before and after Obama takes the oath of office.

Two flaws in Cupp's logic immediately come to mind. First, where's the mention of the controversial decision to have Rick Warren deliver the invocation at the inauguration itself? Second, what "slew of gay parties and inaugural balls?" I've been planning for my own coverage of the inauguration, and have become fairly familiar with the list of events that have been planned, and I never got the impression there were many gay-themed events. It's certainly possible that I've missed some, but I went back and checked a couple comprehensive schedules and I found a grand total of two, the People’s Inaugural LGBT Gayla and the Human Rights Campaign Equality Ball.

Of course, Cupp then turns to "conservative critics expressing concerns that while the celebration may be gay-friendly, it won't be family-friendly." She quotes Jennifer Giroux of Women Influencing the Nation as saying, “I think (the) inauguration should be kept away from that. Christians may love the individual, but they are offended by the gay lifestyle. It’s unhealthy -- spiritually, emotionally and physically.

"It’s not a day where a group that feels like it has some payback coming should be putting its decadent lifestyle on display.”

And she writes that Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, "is worried less about what happens in public and more about what may go on behind closed doors."

Cupp does say that conservative groups like the Christian Coalition won't be protesting. But, she notes, there's at least one radio host, James T. Harris, who doesn't want protests to occur because he wants Americans to be horrified by what they see.

"The gayer inauguration, the better,"  Harris said. "I hope that all of San Francisco turns out, and turns the inauguration into a gay pride festival. Then liberals can see how open and tolerant conservatives are.

"Let America see liberalism in all of its self-absorbed lunacy. Then maybe America will only have to tolerate four years of the madness.”

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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