What passes for “victory”

I see that PFOX is announcing that they have won an important victory in Arlington County.

From an Alliance Defense Fund press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. -Arlington Public Schools agreed yesterday to permit Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) to distribute and post its flyers on the same terms and conditions as other Virginia community groups. Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund brought suit against school officials in May when they refused to distribute PFOX’s flyers even though they were distributing flyers for other community outreach groups.

This is not exactly accurate. PFOX specifically demanded the right to distribute their flyers in high schools. Arlington County school officials state that they don’t allow any outside groups to distribute literature in their high schools (as is also the case in Loudoun County). Since the law requires all groups to be treated equally, denying PFOX’s demand does not constitute discrimination.

Arlington does, however, permit information to be sent home with middle and elementary school students. What they have done is to revise the written policy to include that practice. There has been no actual change in policy; PFOX is still not allowed to contact high school students, and says that they are now “considering” distributing their flyers to middle school students, which they would already have been able to do previous to their lawsuit. I’m not sure how this might fit in with or contradict the sexuality education curriculum for this age group. A PFOX spokesperson demurred when asked if they would try to reach elementary students as well, saying “It’s better to aim at a more mature audience.” Uh huh.

I’m having trouble identifying the big “victory” in this case for PFOX, but I suppose there isn’t much to choose from in that column, and they must work with what they have.

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2 Responses to What passes for “victory”

  1. Gary McCaleb says:

    While Equality Loudon is having difficulty seeing what PFOX won, “Truth Wins Out,” one of the most ardent opponents of PFOX and, like Equality Loudon, a strong advocate for homosexual behavior, issued a press release blasting the school district for “capitulating” and settling the case. See http://www.truthwinsout.org. I’d respectfully suggest that when an opponent laments about “capitulation,” then the other side–PFOX, in this case–did indeed score a victory.

    Full disclosure: I am an attorney and was of counsel on the Arlington case.

  2. David says:


    Thank you for pointing out for our readers that PFOX actually intends to expose children as young as 12 to the seriously unbalanced Richard Cohen. They must really be losing it.

    Truth Wins Out contends that by focusing on the phony question of equal access, Arlington County missed an opportunity to win this case by pointing out that PFOX is a discredited group that is driven by Richard Cohen, a bizarre therapist who was permanently expelled by the American Counseling Association. Cohen’s peculiar brand of therapy includes banging a tennis racket while yelling a parent’s name, caressing clients who sit on his lap and blaming the angry spirits of dead relatives for causing homosexuality.

    I have to agree with Wayne Besen that Arlington could have taken a more productive approach by allowing PFOX to further discredit itself – but they do have the taxpayers to consider. As things stand, nothing has changed. PFOX can do nothing they weren’t free to do already. If they wish to consider the fact that they weren’t given the opportunity to become more of a public embarrassment in court a “victory,” so be it.

    I’d also like to take a moment to gently ridicule your characterization of our organization and Wayne Besen’s as “strong advocates for homosexual behavior.” If you’d care to visit our “about us” page, I don’t think you’ll find much of anything about advocating how or with whom anyone has sex. That’s really none of our business, or, for that matter, yours.

    Thanks for visiting.