THE GLBT CENTER CONDEMNS THE ATTACK ON HATE GROUP’S HEADQUARTERS WHILE ALSO EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT ON HATE GROUP LEADER’S ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT THE TRAGEDY
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida (The Center) stand in solidarity with numerous other LGBT organizations in condemning the Wednesday shooting of a security guard at the Family Research Council’s headquarters in Washington DC. Several LGBT Organizations such as HRC, National Stonewall Democrats, Log Cabin Republicans and Truth Wins Out, among 36 others, joined in support of statement issued by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) which stated: 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. The Center reiterates that violence is never a substitute for effective debate. While there are major differences between the philosophies of The Center and the Family Research Council, only cowards and bullies hide behind the destructive nature of weapons in expressing their anger or hatred toward any group they do not agree with. “Yesterday, a security guard, Mr. Leonardo Johnson, showed up to work and was performing his duty when he was approached and shot by a gunman attempting to enter the offices of Family Research Council. The bravery of Mr. Johnson prevented further tragedy from occurring and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family for a full and quick recovery”, stated, Randy Stephens, Executive Director of The Center. “Even though thousands of LGBTs have been the victim of such violent behavior for many years, we will not tolerate vicious behavior vented toward those who do not agree with us. If we are to advocate against violence to the LGBT Community, we must advocate it for all, regardless of their beliefs.” In a press conference held earlier on Thursday, Tony Perkins, the head of Family Research Council , blamed not only the shooter for the attack on the security guard, but also declared that the Southern Poverty Law Center was also a culprit in the attack because they have designated the FRC as a hate group . In response to such comments made by Perkins, Stephens added that “Such designation was due to the propaganda of hate and lies about the gay community formulated by the Family Research Council which has led to physical and verbal attacks against members of the LGBT community for over a decade. Such designation of a hate group was due to their own verbiage and actions and not just because of a difference of public policy as claimed by Perkins. Sadly, the Family Research Council continues to incorrectly state the facts in trying to exploit this tragic situation. “ The Center, located at 946 N. Mills Ave. Orlando, FL 32803 is a non-profit organization dedicated to informing, educating, supporting and advocating on behalf of the LGBT Community and its allies
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