Attempts by anti-gay right-wing leaders and anti-gay groups to brand the Mark Foley scandal as a gay issue have failed to impact voters’ support of GLBT issues, a survey has revealed.

Gay advocacy organisation, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), says it’s been monitoring what it calls a coordinated effort to place blame on the gay community and equate Mark Foley’s behaviour to the fact that he is gay.

The poll shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe that “this type of behaviour is typical of politicians” over “this type of behaviour is typical of gay men.”

The poll also showed support for either civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples at 66 percent, which is consistent with other polls on the same question.

“Some right-wing leaders and politicians have tried to divert attention from the congressional leadership’s failure to investigate Mark Foley’s abhorrent behaviour, and their cover-up in order to hold on to power, by insisting that his being gay was the central issue,” said HRC president Joe Solmonese.

“Conservative politicians have tried to promote prejudice against gay Americans, rather than push for accountability in this scandal. Today’s poll shows that Americans reject their outrageous claims.”

Since this scandal was made public on September 29, 2006, ultra-conservative leaders such as Tony Perkins, James Dobson and Pat Buchanan have spoken out numerous times to national media outlets pushing the idea that this is a gay issue, in an attempt to shift the public’s perception of this inappropriate behaviour and subsequent cover-up by the Republican leadership on gays.

On Oct 6, Pat Buchanan said, “If the Republican House leadership is guilty of anything, it is of being too tolerant, of allowing Political Correctness, a fear of being called homophobic, to trump common sense. Whether we admit it or not, many male homosexuals have a thing for teenage boys, which is why so many of them wind up with black eyes when they try to pick them up.”

Peter Hart Research Associates Inc conducted a poll of 806 registered voters nationwide from October 9-11, 2006. The results of the poll show that the attempt to scapegoat gay Americans has been an utter failure, as the American people continue to focus on the lack of leadership displayed by the Republican leadership through this scandal.

The poll also finds the American people continue to believe gay and lesbian Americans deserve the same rights and protections as all Americans and their relationships deserve legal recognition.

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