Sometimes going on national television to call homosexuality “destructive and “unnatural” sinks your career. For Kirk Cameron, it seems to have resurrected it. The former teen star had been arguably professionally stalled up until his comments during Piers Morgan’s CNN program in March. But despite a firestorm of criticism, including critical tweets from Cameron's former "Growing Pains" co-start Alan Thicke, Cameron doubled down, and is now embarking on a 35-city "mass marriage-counseling event" across America.
The next stop for the “Love Worth Fighting For” tour is Ocean Grove, N.J., where this Friday up to 6,000 audience members will have a chance to listen to Cameron expound upon traditional marriage values, which he believes are defined exclusively as between a man and a woman, as well as his own personal experiences as a married father of six.
But not all Ocean Grove residents are welcoming the former Mike Seaver to their city with open arms.
Corey Bernstein is a 17-year-old resident of New Jersey and co-chair of the Youth Caucus at Garden State Equality, the state’s organization for LGBT civil rights. In an email sent to Cameron through his manager on Friday, Bernstein wrote that he had "endured brutal bullying" in high school because he was gay, and invited Cameron to a lunch on Saturday along with other members of the LGBT community in Ocean Grove.
"In a kind, respectful and constructive way, we’d like to talk to you about the pain your words about being LGBT have personally caused me and other LGBT youth," Bernstein wrote. "Your statement that being LGBT is 'destructive to our
civilization,' when millions of LGBT people like me try our very best every day to make our world a better place, was like a knife in the heart."
Despite Bernstein's heartfelt plea, Cameron declined to meet with the Youth Caucus through his manager, Mark Craig, who wrote back in an emailed response, "I promise you [Kirk's] goal is not one of trying to hurt people in any way, in fact it is just the opposite. He has a concern for their well being- not only now, but eternally."
Craig also recommended Bernstein "listen online to the interviews and
comments Kirk has shared where he was given ample time to communicate his heart and thoughts" so that he would better understand Cameron's views.
Not good enough, said New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a vocal proponent of gay rights, who on Thursday intervened on behalf of Bernstein, sending his own email to Cameron, expressing his disappointment at the star's refusal to meet with the LGBT youth.
"These courageous young people are heartbroken by Mr. Cameron’s response, and so am I," Congressman Pallone wrote. "I find it remarkably insensitive for Mr. Cameron to suggest that these teens, once again, expose themselves to the words that so deeply hurt them upon their first encounter."
Congressman Pallone also pledged to have lunch with the teens on Saturday.
As an alternative to the "Love Worth Fighting For” event, Ocean Grove United will be holding protest march and block party with the theme, "ALL Love is Worth Fighting For."