Focus on the Family's Love Won Out Ad
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Commercial Advertising
Artist: Focus on the Family
Confronting Bodies: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and a private advertising agency
Dates of Action: 2000
Location: Florida Bus Shelters
Description of Artwork: An advertisement that promoted Love Won Out, a one-day conference “addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality in youth.”
The Incident: The Christian Ministry Focus on the Family purchased advertising space from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. Their controversial ad for a conference that sought to discuss and “prevent” homosexuality was reviewed by a private advertising agency that contracts with the government-funded transit authority. They objected to the language of the ad and subsequently, the ad was pulled.
Results of Incident: On January 11, 2001 Focus on the Family filed a federal lawsuit against the transit authority for violating the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Human Rights Campaign advocated on behalf of the transit authority, stating that the ads are public health threats. Spokesperson Wayne Besen pointed to published medical findings that condemn reparation therapy, also known as ex-gay therapy. Focus on the Family does not seek financial reward; instead they want to force the transit authority to run ads for a similar event in the future.
Source: Gay.com, 1.17.01. Liberty Council, 1.12.01