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Volume 35
Issue 09
 
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Local Lesbian couple arrested after protest at Focus on the Family headquarters
Local Lesbian couple arrested after protest at Focus on the Family headquarters
by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

A Washington State Lesbian couple were arrested on Monday, Februray 19, at the headquarters of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dotti Berry and Robynne Stapp where protesting the group's positions on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues.

After taking an 11 a.m. tour of the Focus on the Family facilities, the women asked to meet with the organization's founder, James Dobson. However, their request was denied by Focus on the Family officials. The pair then sat down in the organization's main lobby and refused to leave until Dobson apologized for his group's anti-LGBT teachings. They were later removed and booked in a Colorado Springs jail on suspicion of trespassing.

"When you know that your act of civil disobedience means that you have to be willing to be arrested, you are prepared for that possibility and you go willingly," Barry told the Seattle Gay News on Feb. 22. "That makes it a lot different for us, and makes our treatment go smoothly because we are cooperating."

The Blaine couple are members of Soulforce, a social justice organization opposed to political and religious oppression. The two are the first participants in an ongoing Soulforce campaign "Focus on the Facts," which is modeled on Gandhi Satyagraha's campaigns in South Africa and India.

Dobson and his organization are often criticized for misrepresenting social science research, Soulforce claims. In recent months, Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale rebuked Focus on the Family and its founder for mischaracterizing their research conclusions.

In addition, the group discredits LGBT parenting by claiming that "more than 10,000 studies" have shown that "children do best when they have a mom and a dad." However, the American Psychological Association (APA) disputes such claims because they rely on "studies that simply do not address Gay and Lesbian parents and their children." Moreover, the APA argues, "no credible evidence shows that children raised by Lesbian or Gay parents differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual couples."

"I am here to mirror Dr. Dobson's human essence, so that the reflection will cause him to fully understand why it is important to begin telling a new and true story, one that empowers all of us," said Berry in a written statement shortly after their arrest.

Berry and Sapp will return to Colorado Springs on March 14 for a court hearing to determine any possible penalty the two may face as a result of their protest.

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