The board president of YouthPride called on Nathan Deal to "stop lying" in his anti-gay attack ads aimed at Karen Handel, his opponent in Tuesday's GOP runoff for governor. Deal has twice aired campaign spots -- the latest released Thursday -- that criticize Handel for supporting "Youth Pride, a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13." Jordan Myers, board president of the non-profit, responded with a statement Friday challenging the accuracy of Deal's ads and arguing that the organization "protects, unites, and dignifies the lives of gay youth and young adults." Last month, a Deal campaign commercial aimed at Handel criticized her for supporting YouthPride and "outreach to gay and 'questioning' kids as young as 13 and funded seminars such as 'Unsung Heroes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community.'" The full statement from Myers:
On Thursday, August 5th 2010, a campaign commercial for Nathan Deal aired on local television and was posted on YouTube. The commercial falsely states as a fact that YouthPride is “a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13.” Actually, Nathan Deal is half right --we promote the idea that gay youth should not commit suicide. We promote the idea that gay youth should not have to become homeless. We promote the idea that gay youth should not have to suffer silently. We promote the idea that gay youth should not have to be bullied. We promote the idea that gay youth should not lose hope. We promote the idea that gay youth should not have to be burdened with shame. The FACTS really are that we're a non-profit that protects, unites, and dignifies the lives of gay youth and young adults. YouthPride is the only organization in metro Atlanta that exclusively serves all gay youth, and we've been doing it for more than 15 years. Nathan Deal – stop lying. Discontinue your slanderous campaign commercial. Instead, encourage parents of gay children to visit our website, learn the FACTS about YouthPride and make a donation, so that we can keep providing our vital services to Atlanta's young people for the next 15 years and beyond.Deal's last attack on Handel prompted her to elevate her anti-gay positions into a crusade against gay marriage, civil unions and even adoptions by gay couples, which Handel said she would support banning as governor. It's the sort of ant-gay back-and-forth that led GOP state Rep. Mike Jacobs on Thursday to call on both Handel and Deal to "stop the gay bashing" and "focus on bigger issues." Deal's latest anti-gay ad comes the same week he and Handel lashed out at a federal judge’s ruling against California’s Proposition 8 gay marriage ban.