Sunday, December 17, 2006

Anti-gay news OK, pro-gay news not OK

Ex-Gay Watch reports that Florida's Palm Beach County School District is blocking access to a number of gay websites like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, while simultaneously allowing access to anti-gay sites like National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and Focus on the Family.

The district uses Blue Coat Systems's WebFilter software to filter out websites. It seems that Blue Coat lumps any site having anything to do with being gay as part of their "Sexuality/Alternative Lifestyles" which consists of:

Sites that provide information, promote, or cater to gays, lesbians, swingers, other sexual orientations or practices, or a particular fetish.

So being gay is now the same as having a fetish.

A article says that "[The District's] computer security manager, Bob LaRocca, says the filtering software being used comply with the Child Online Protection Act and the Children Internet Protection Act." That makes no sense. COPA was blocked by the courts in 1998, ruled likely to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and went back under trial in October, 2006. CIPA, which has been found constitutional, is very specific about protecting children from porn, not GLAAD. Therefore, the district is applying this web filtering software to comply with laws that aren't relevant.

Blue Coat has a page where you can check on the filtering category for a website. I plugged a few in. Any pro-gay site falls under Sexuality/Alternative Lifestyles. Focus on the Family falls under Religion, Education, and Health. The vehemently anti-gay Illinois Family Institute, run by Porno Pete, is classified only as "Education."

Most objectionably, Love in Action is classified as Health. You may recall from a year or so ago when a teenager named Zach was forced his parents to attend their program, which claims to turn gay teens straight. The head of the program has said that, "I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle." After Tennessee sued LIA, claiming they restricted LIA's patients captives access to their own medication, LIA countersued, claiming religious discrimination. The suit was settled. LIA, whose slogan is "Finding freedom in Jesus Christ," continues their anti-gay programs, but does not need a license as a mental health facility. Clearly, their classification as a Health website by Blue Coat is inaccurate.


Fig said...

You've been sixpenced!
not quite as good as being farked but far easier on your server.

Ryan J. said...

I just wanted to say that I'm very thoroughly enjoying your blog. Thanks for the insightful and inciteful commentary.

Narc said...

Thanks, Ryan!