|Founded||May 8, 1995|
|Focus||Oppose LGBT rights in law and policy|
|Brian Camenker, President|
|Parents' Rights Coalition
Article 8 Alliance
MassResistance is a Waltham, Massachusetts-based group that promotes socially conservative positions on issues relating to homosexuality, abortion, anti-bullying, gun control, the transgender community and same-sex marriage. It was founded by Brian Camenker in 1995 as the Parents' Rights Coalition, and in 2003 it changed its name to Article 8 Alliance. It adopted its current name, MassResistance, in 2006.
The group has been critical of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for maintaining moderate positions on LGBT rights during his term as governor. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated MassResistance an anti-gay hate group, in part for its claim that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth were "put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality".
Brian Camenker, a conservative activist in Massachusetts, founded Parents' Rights Coalition in 1995. The name was changed to Article 8 Alliance in 2003 and then to its current name, MassResistance, in 2006. The organization is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Camenker, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, has also participated in local politics and was the president of the Newton Taxpayers Association.
Camenker's vocal opposition to "the homosexual agenda" began in 1992, when his neighbor showed him a teaching guide that contained what he characterized as "disgusting descriptions of gay sex". Camenker was one of several parents who expressed concern to the Newton school committee about a pamphlet provided to teachers for use as background material at Newton's Day Junior High School. The pamphlet listed graphic tips on subjects including safe sex for lesbians. A short while later, Camenker founded a conservative organization, Newton Citizens for Public Education (NCPE), which opposed a controversial ninth-grade sex education program in Newton. Camenker was accused by state Board of Education chairman, Martin Kaplan, of having ties with Christian right organizations. Following a vote by the Board of Education which recommended support groups for LGBT students, Camenker expressed concern about harassment of gay students, but stated that direction being taken would "cause more acrimony rather than less". He added, "People should view gays as friends, as Americans, rather than as someone who's different than them".
Parents' Rights Coalition
Camenker formed the Parents' Rights Coalition on May 8, 1995. That same year, Camenker, heading the Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition, sponsored a bill in Massachusetts requiring school officials to notify parents about sex-education courses. The bill, if passed, would give parents the option to remove their children from those classes.
MassResistance has promoted its platform through media appearances and lobbying for laws related to parental rights in public schools. The bills that have been submitted on behalf of MassResistance in the past several years have been consistently rejected by the Joint Judiciary Committee.
Parents' Rights Coalition opposed a Massachusetts public school teacher reading of King & King, a fairy tale involving two married men, to kindergartners. In 2006, they alleged that the school violated a law requiring the school to inform parents of all sex-ed-related material. The lawsuit has since been thrown out of Federal Court.
Hate group designation
In 1996 MassResistance's leader, Brian Camenker claimed that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth actually were “put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality”. MassResistance also asserted that groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to "lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism".
MassResistance has claimed that "gays are dangerous to kids", and have made comments regarding "skyrocketing homosexual domestic violence" and called a gay pride event a "depraved" display that featured "a great deal of obviously disturbed, dysfunctional, and extremely self-centered people whose aim was to push their agenda".
On its website, MassResistance has rebuked the SPLC, writing "The SPLC has created and advertises its bizarre and offensive list of those it labels "hate groups", "extremists", and "domestic terrorists" that even includes the Tea Party".
In March 2012, MassResistance president Brian Camenker and the anti-gay organization, Jews and Christians Together, jointly made a series of pre-recorded telephone calls endorsing U.S. Presidential candidate Rick Santorum and opposing U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for the Ohio "Super-Tuesday" Republican primary.
A few days after the calls were broadcast, MassResistance's website stated: "As the 2012 presidential primary races are heating up, MassResistance is being called on to expose an important issue that the mainstream media (even Fox News) won't talk about. Millions of emails and robo-calls with MassResistance's information went to voters in key states leading up to Super Tuesday, which likely made a difference, say activists".
Criticism of FBI and CIA
In 2012 MassResistance publicly criticized the FBI and CIA for "embracing the homosexual movement". Camenker is critical of the FBI's LGBT program promoted on the FBI's careers website, as well as their involvement with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the CIA's Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees and Allies (ANGLE).
According to MassResistance, the FBI actively recruits homosexual and transgender employees and agents. MassResistance is especially critical of the FBI's "outrageous" official partnership with the SPLC.
MassResistance has maintained conservative social positions on "hot-button" issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, homosexual and transgender rights, gun control, marriage, and other issues. The group monitors changes to LGBT rights legislation in countries as far away as Australia, but focuses most of its efforts on the United States, and especially in Massachusetts.
MassResistance has expressed strong opposing views about Mitt Romney for his moderate policies on abortion. During Romney's term as governor of Massachusetts, MassResistance criticized him for his stance on abortion, referring to him as "probably the most pro-abortion and pro-gay rights Republican official in the nation for the last decade".
In 2012 MassResistance opposed the nomination of Kenneth Salinger to the Massachusetts Superior Court by Governor Deval Patrick, citing Salinger's activist agenda and financial contributions to MoveOn.org and "pro-abortion" group EMILY's List. MassResistance gave a presentation at a conference hosted by Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum. Camenker spoke to U.S. Representative Todd Akin during the conference, and reflected later on how he "gets it" and how thrilled he was to meet and speak "with a smart, principled, pro-life, pro-family Congressman". After Todd Akin's televised interview in August 2012 in which he claimed that women victims of what he described as "legitimate rape" rarely experience pregnancy from rape and the ensuing backlash, MassResistance commented that "Todd Akin misspoke during a lengthy interview and then apologized and clarified his statement. Given his record, that should be the end of it".
MassResistance has always maintained staunch opposition to same-sex marriage. In its booklet, What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts, Camenker characterizes acceptance of same-sex marriage as "a hammer to force the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality on everyone". The organization objects to schools teaching children that same-sex marriages are a normal part of society. They cite "radical" activist judges and "cowardly" politicians as factors in the increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, and warn the public to fight back.
Massachusetts has permitted same-sex marriage since 2004, and MassResistance has continued to oppose it through political activism. In October 2008, MassResistance mounted a petition campaign for a ballot referendum to reinstate a recently repealed 1913 law to deny Massachusetts marriage licenses to same-sex couples who reside in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. It failed to gather a sufficient number of signatures.
MassResistance has voiced objections to anti-bullying efforts, especially in Massachusetts where they criticized Mitt Romney's support of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Efforts to pass anti-bullying legislation in Massachusetts have been opposed by MassResistance, in part because of concern that it could "silence criticism of the gay movement". MassResistance has characterized efforts to prevent bullying as "a very aggressive, fascist-type movement".
According to MassResistance, the "homosexual anti-bullying agenda" is exploiting the legitimate problem of school bullying, with the aim of pushing "homosexual-normalization propaganda" at children.
Testifying at a Joint Committee on Education hearing in 2009 which was considering nearly a dozen bills that would address bullying, Brian Camenker of MassResistance "claimed supporters had been brought in by 'special-interest groups' with a gay-rights agenda". In its written testimony, MassResistance stated that it had filed bill H.1059 in the Massachusetts Legislature to repeal the anti-bullying law that the commission was addressing. The testimony suggested adopting a student-run approach to anti-bullying in schools, and concluded that the anti-bullying law was onerous and costly, and should be repealed in favor of a top-down, school-directed solution. It went on to say that homosexual activist groups were behind the law and that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had diverged from its role of fighting anti-Semitism.
In 2000 members of the Parents' Rights Coalition attended a statewide conference, called "Teach-Out", that was sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, held at Tufts University.
One student asked about fisting and was provided with an explanation. MassResistance dubbed the incident "Fistgate" after one of its members "secretly recorded the workshop". A state employee who participated in the discussion filed suit against Camenker and Scott Whiteman as a result of the distribution of the tape recordings. According to Bay Windows, a "Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled that the tape was illegally acquired and therefore an invasion of privacy against those individuals present, who were never told they were being recorded." Greg Carmack suggested that the question might have been planted by those making the recordings.
In October 2008, MassResistance employee Michael Olivio was arrested for disorderly conduct at a school after parents became concerned about his taking many pictures of their children. When questioned by police, he explained that he was filming footage for a documentary, but mistook an elementary school for a high school. When asked by police to leave, Olivio began to "act erratically"; he "ran through yards [...] shedding clothing". Camenker supported Olivio's statement that he was working for the MassResistance, but went to the wrong school.
Criticism of Mitt Romney
Camenker first voiced concerns about Mitt Romney in 1994, when Romney unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate on a platform supporting gay rights and abortion rights. According to Camenker, "Romney is a RINO, a Republican In Name Only".
In April 2006, MassResistance tried to pressure Romney into ending a state advisory commission on LGBT youth. Romney instead ordered the commission to focus on suicide prevention among gay and lesbian teens.
In November 2006, Camenker released a 28-page report critical of Romney's sympathetic positions on gay rights and portraying him as a social liberal. The report focused on Romney's term as governor of Massachusetts and his peripheral involvement with social issues such as gay rights and abortion. Camenker wrote that "the biggest problem is that Romney is so clearly and blatantly faking this. He's a fraud", suggesting that Romney was merely pandering to special interests.
In January 2007, Romney's campaign issued a press release critical of Camenker for MassResistance's "Mitt Romney Deception" report. Romney's campaign removed the press release from its site, but MassResistance continued to display it on their own site, and they issued their own press release as well. Romney responded in defense of his conservative record as governor that he was "as staunch a defender as anyone in the country" of "traditional marriage", and a pro-life position on stem cell research.
- "2010 IRS Form 990 federal tax return". Foundation Center. 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- LeBlanc, Steve (July 2, 2006). "Group wages battle against Massachusetts gay culture". Rutland Herald. Rutland, VT. Associated Press. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Schlatter, Evelyn (2010). "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (140). Retrieved October 5, 2012.
Generally, the SPLC's listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods—claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities—and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.
- "MassResistance Accomplishments".
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Brian Camenker, President of Parents' Rights Coalition (now MassResistance).
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- "While you weren't looking: FBI and CIA embrace homosexual movement. Reaching out to "gay and transgender community"". MassResistance. September 28, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Tashman, Brian (April 6, 2012). "MassResistance Says America's 'Worldwide Homosexual Terror Group' will bring about 'Brutal Oppression'". Right Wing Watch. People for the American Way. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
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- "MassResistance releases new, updated version of shocking booklet: "What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts"". MassResistance. August 2, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
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But Michael Olivio's employer has come forward to back up his story. Olivio, 48, works for the anti-gay rights group MassResistance.org. Brian Camenker, head of the group, said Olivio mistakenly went to West Middle School Tuesday to snap pictures instead of the high school.
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