For more than 25 years, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. It’s sponsored charity races around the nation, landed celebrity supporters like Ellen DeGeneres and Cynthia Nixon, and has leveraged widely publicized pink-ribbon campaigns with major corporations like Old Navy Evian, Dell, Energizer and Yoplait.
Heck it even has its own perfume.
But now the group is coming under fire because, after five years of sponsorship, it’s cutting funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The official reason: PPFA is under congressional investigations (yeah, by anti-choice Republicans on a witch hunt).
Is Komen severing ties because it doesn’t want to piss off conservative donors or because it’s adopting its own right-wing agenda—one that spells bad news for gays and lesbians?
Boy Culture posted a 2010 interview from WXIA-TV in Atlanta featuring Karen Handel, Komen senior vice president for public policy and a former Republican candidate for the Georgia’s governor’s office. A veteran politico who ran on an anti-abortion platform, Handel is also against marriage equality—and she’s not shy about sharing her beliefs:
As Handel explains above, she would work against any plans to further civil unions, adoptions by gays and lesbians, or same-sex marriage measures.
“Marriage is between one man and one woman—I’ve been very very clear about that. And the record is clear about any of the other issues like domestic partner benefits or anything like that. In fact in Fulton, I voted no on domestic partner benefits.”
…I do not think that gay relationships are—they are not what God intended. And that’s just my viewpoint on it. Others might disagree with that. But I would also hope that if you look at what is happening in our state, we’ve got issues we need to be focused on in Georgia. We have a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. And it’s something that I supported wholeheartedly. We have that, and let’s get dealing with the other issues that we also need to deal with in Georgia. And the press can help with that. (Laughs).
Once again, we see a Republican politician who thinks furthering gay rights is a waste of resources but suppressing them is a legitimate use of the legislature’s time. Except in this case, the politician also happens to be a senior policymaker at a major cancer nonprofit.
It seems like Komen is shooting itself in the foot by disengaging from Planned Parenthood: Early detection is essential when it comes to cancer, and routine mammograms—the kind that are PPFA’s bread and butter—save thousands of lives each year.
If you’re truly serious about protecting women from cancer, you should give more—not less—money to Planned Parenthood.
And if you’re at all serious about standing by the LGBT community, fire Handel while you’re at it.
Photos: Glenn Francis, Aine D