A friend on Facebook drew attention to a story in the conservative Daily Caller about Amtrak targeting the LGBT community in promotion and ads. A fairly banal story but, as my friend said, “I’m trying to figure out how this story gets from a discussion of a marketing campaign to a quote from “Dr.” Paul Cameron.”

He’s got a point. I understand the need for balance and I realize DC has a specific point of view. But did they really need to drag Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition and Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute into it? Is this REALLY that controversial that they need to quote famous anti-gay activists? Wasn’t there anyone else out there willing to chime in or did other sources laugh at the idea of needing to stake out a position against Amtrak “using tax dollars” to attract the LGBT community?

The Human Rights Campaign weighed in on Amtrak’s new strategy. Daryl Herrschaft, spokesman for the LGBT advocacy group, told TheDC that this was a sign that the public sector was catching up to the private sector. “Public sector operations are working in the same market as private which has come to recognize and capitalize on the vast LGBT market,” Herrschaft said. “The private sector is already well ahead in terms of its treatment of gays in the workplace.“

Dr. Paul Cameron, chairman of the Family Research Institute, by contrast, expressed outrage at hearing the government would be funding a campaign to engage LGBT people. “This seems to me like an inappropriate use of public money,” he said to TheDC. “Social justice demands responsibility and this group of people shun that responsibility. Public money ought not be used to aid, abet, and perpetuate this lifestyle.”

Regardless of what advocates for traditional values say, Amtrak is moving forward with the initiative. The company spearheaded one of its initial attempts at outreach last Tuesday at the Washington Nationals sixth-annual LGBT themed baseball game. “Yoooou’re OUT! Join Team DC & your friends in the LGBT community for an evening at the Ballpark … Offer includes FIERCE discounts on game tickets, special reserved seating, pre-game on field recognition of event organizers & distinguished members of the LGBT community!” the Nationals advertised. Amtrak is an official sponsor of Nationals baseball, but given the opportunity, Abubakar said that Amtrak jumped at the chance to have its name attached to this particular night.

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