Anti-gay speaker from U.S. vows to speak in Saskatchewan
Peter LaBarbera calls critics 'Canadian homo-Marxists'
The group Intolerance Free Weyburn wants the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association to drop an anti-gay speaker from its roster, but American Peter LaBarbera vows he will appear.
LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), will be speaking at the association's provincial convention April 11-12.
According to the group's website, Americans for Truth's mission is to oppose "the radical homosexual agenda" and "stand for God-ordained sexuality."
You realize just how much hatred is behind his message.- protest organizer Chris Brookes
AFTAH has also been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors extremist organizations.
"Read some of the things he's been saying, whether it's on his Facebook or his Twitter, or his own personal website, and you realize just how much hatred is behind his message," said protest organizer Chris Brookes Tuesday.
Brookes started an online petition, asking the Pro-Life Association to rescind its decision to have LaBarbera speak at the event. By Tuesday night, the petition had collected more than 380 signatures.
"They were promoting him as somebody who is doing this out of spirit and love. And it's just not true," says Brookes. "It's all hate."
Meanwhile, LaBarbera isn't taking the criticism lying down. On his website, he's calling his critics "Canadian Homo-Marxists" and is vowing to speak in Weyburn.
[Bill Whatcott] is one of the most fearless truth-tellers I have ever encountered and it will be my honour to appear with him in Canada.- Peter LaBarbera heaps praise on anti-gay activist Whatcott
He accused the Southern Poverty Law Centre of conducting a "nefarious campaign to demonize" his group.
He also said he was looking forward to meeting his friend, anti-gay and anti-abortion crusader Bill Whatcott at the Weyburn event.
"He is one of the most fearless truth-tellers I have ever encountered and it will be my honour to appear with him in Canada," LaBarbera said on the website.
"That is, unless the local 'Gay Thought Police' succeed in their “homo-Marxist” (or homo-fascist) attempt to shut down my speech."
Pro-Life Association president Marcy Mallette says the group plans to keep LaBarbera as a speaker for the event. She says there is nothing wrong with LaBarbera's message.
I don't understand why they would call him hateful ... [LaBarbera's] website is for truth, and that's not hateful at all.- Pro-Life Association president Marcy Mallette
"I don't understand why they would call him hateful," said Mallette. "His website is for truth, and that's not hateful at all."
Mallette says the association has come under fire before. Last year, the group brought in a speaker from Courage International, a group that asks gays and lesbians to not act on same-sex attraction.
Intolerance Free Weyburn plans to protest both days of the convention. Mallette says she's not concerned.
"I welcome dialogue," she said. "I mean, that's the whole point of this. There's nothing worse than just being silent about everything."