Local Gay Activist Questions Medical Group
GAINESVILLE - The national controversy over gay rights is now focused on a local medical organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit known for legally representing victims of hate has deemed an organization in North Central Florida as a hate group. However the founder of the organization says it's mere name-calling.
In 2002, the American College of Pediatricians separated themselves from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to create an organization that specifically supports female & male parenting. Today the group is being questioned by gay rights activists.
Terry Fleming with the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida recently found out that Gainesville is home to the American College of Pediatricians or ACP; a doctors association the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as an anti-LGBT hate group.
"It's very unfortunate that this group is located in Gainesville because Gainesville is very tolerant. We have a very accepting community, we're proud of that fact and we're glad to be part of that community," Fleming said.
The center has identified more than 900 hate groups, ACP being one of them. They define a hate group as, “Having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics," according to their website.
Fleming added, "It's dangerous to children who are coming out and trying to come to terms with that. And the treatment that they receive in schools is often affected by the pseudo-science that the group such as the ACP put out."
Dr. Tom Benton a 25-year pediatrician in Gainesville and past-president of ACP says that the group expects society to support the two-parent, father-mother family unit in order to be a role model for children. "I love what I do, to take care of children. And that's what I am about. So the only time for me that might be an issue for me is when we disagree on what is appropriate medical care for their child," Benton said.
Annie Orlando the owner of atlas screen printing took her son to see Dr. Benton from birth through adulthood. And while she disagrees with Dr. Benton's views she doesn't believe the organization acts as a hate group. "As my son's doctor I was always very comfortable with him to talk about anything I wished and on any issue. He never tried to impose his beliefs. He was always very good," Orlando said.
Both Dr. Benton and Fleming believe the best way to deal with these types of situations is by educating the community at large. For more information on any of the organizations look below:
Southern Poverty Law Center
American College of Pediatricians
Pride Community Center of North Central Florida
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