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Suburban Chicago Anti-Gay, Hate Group Loses Tax-Exempt Status

First Posted: 08/01/11 01:20 PM ET Updated: 10/01/11 06:12 AM ET

Hate Group
AFTAH president Peter LaBarbera (right) and anti-gay educator Rena Lindevaldsen, who presented at the group's "Truth Academy."

The blog Ex-Gay Watch is reporting that the tax-exempt status of the controversial Naperville, Ill.-based organization Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) has been revoked due to their leadership's failure to file a series of required tax forms with the state for three consecutive years.

Though Ex-Gay Watch broke the news Monday, AFTAH's tax-exempt status was apparently revoked on May 10, 2010, perhaps coincidentally less than two months after they were officially designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) due to spreading discredited or slanderous propaganda about a group of people. They remain one of the few anti-LGBT organizations that have received that designation.

Though officially tax-exempt for some time now, AFTAH still claims that donations made to the group are tax-deductible, as Ex-Gay Watch pointed out. The revocation officially went into effect on June 10 of this year.

AFTAH, founded in 1996, is "a national organization devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda," according to its website. Its founder and president Peter LaBarbera has become a frequent pundit in conservative media and told WorldNetDaily recently that same-sex marriage represented a "profound error" of "taking something long regarded as taboo and detestable and now enshrining in this noble institution of marriage."

LaBarbera went on to say that same-sex marriage would soon give way to demands for societal approval of polygamous and polyamorous relationships. A quick perusal of AFTAH's home page reveals many blog posts explicating similar views, even including interviews with a number of "ex-gay" (and event one "former transsexual") individuals and a recent essay "defending Marcus Bachmann's right to counsel unhappy homosexuals."

The group last made headlines when it hosted its first-ever "Truth Academy" last summer. The event intended to "train 'pro-family' advocates how to counter so-called 'homosexual' misinformation." It offered a number of sessions with titles such as “From destroying DOMA to homosexualizing the military: Obama’s radical homosexual/transsexual agenda for America” and “From gay pride to gay tyranny." The event offered scholarships for attendees as young as 14 to help them more easily pay to attend the academy.

That event was met with a protest organized by pro-LGBT advocacy group Gay Liberation Network, whose co-founder Andy Thayer described the event as a "nasty attempt to indoctrinate the next generation with anti-LGBT hate."

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |