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Miscelaneous: Florida\'s Community Center for Gays
Posted by kallahar on Jan.29.02 at 08:49 am PST.

kallahar writes From the Libertarian Party:

WASHINGTON, DC -- A plan for the federal government to spend $200,000 to build a church-based seniors center for gay men and lesbians in Florida is an insult to conservative Christians and others who believe that homosexuality is immoral, Libertarians say.

"This plan shows why it is wrong to use taxpayers' money to meddle in controversial, faith-based projects," said Steve Dasbach, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "Using tax money for projects like this creates controversy where none need exist.

"With this gay-friendly seniors center, some taxpayers will be forced to subsidize beliefs they consider wrong; decisions that should have been made by a church will now be made by government bureaucrats; and a project that should have brought a community together may now tear it apart. That's wrong."

In an effort to cater to Broward County, Florida's rapidly growing population of elderly gay men and lesbians, the county's Area Agency on Aging plans to spend $200,000 this summer to create the nation's first federally funded, "gay friendly" day care center, according to news reports.

The facility will sit on the grounds of Fort Lauderdale's Sunshine Cathedral, a predominantly gay church. While the center will not discriminate against heterosexuals, it will "specialize" in serving the gay community.

Such a gay-friendly seniors center is admirable, said Dasbach -- as long as it's not government funded or subsidized.

"According to estimates, there are 1 to 3 million gay seniors around the nation," he noted. "If they want to pool their resources to create senior centers or other facilities that specifically serve their community, that is commendable. Or if an entrepreneur wants to build such a facility to serve an untapped market, that's clever and resourceful.

"But millions of Americans fervently believe that homosexuality is a sin, and they're entitled to their opinion, too. What right do Broward County officials have to force such people to, in effect, subsidize that sin by financing a gay seniors center?

"That makes no more sense than taxing African-Americans to build a seniors home for retired Ku Klux Klan members, or forcing animal-rights activists to subsidize a store that sells fur coats."

The fact that government intervention creates unnecessary political controversy is even more important than the relatively small amount of money at stake, said Dasbach.

"Already, a Fort Lauderdale-based Christian group called Reclaiming America has denounced the proposal as 'state-sponsored discrimination,' setting up a heated conflict where none should have existed," he said. "This is yet another example of government causing problems while pretending to solve them."

The gay-friendly seniors center should also be a wake-up call for conservatives, who will be put into the uncomfortable position of either supporting the project -- or opposing the Bush administration's "faith-based" initiative, which would funnel millions of tax dollars to religious-based charities, noted Dasbach.

"Conservatives who support Bush's faith-based funding plan are now footing the bill for a gay-friendly day care center," he said. "Perhaps now those conservatives will understand that the only way to protect religious values is to prevent politicians from subsidizing any religious institution -- not just the ones they happen to support."

One important note, said Dasbach: The Libertarian Party doesn't oppose government funding for the seniors center because it objects to gays or lesbians -- only because it believes that government should not discriminate for or against any peaceful, consensual, adult lifestyle.

"The real problem isn't the gay lifestyle; it's the politicians' lifestyle -- which consists of collecting your money and forking it over to politically powerful groups," he said. "Maybe Washington, DC needs an 11th Commandment that says: Thou shalt not force people to subsidize behavior they believe is wrong."

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Aug.20.01 by kallahar

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke