The False Testimony of Will Estrada on HSLDA and Same-Sex Marriage

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By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

On August 26, 2014, ThinkProgress reporter Josh Israel published an article entitled “Why Conservative Christian Homeschoolers Are Fighting Standards That Don’t Apply To Them.” Israel’s article focused primarily on HSLDA’s opposition to Common Core. However, he also discussed the fact that HSLDA has long involved itself — and its members’ money — in lobbying that has no obvious relation to homeschooling. One of HSLDA’s non-homeschooling targets has been, and continues to be, the legalization of same-sex marriage. Israel interviewed both myself and Will Estrada (HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations) on this matter:

One common attack on HSLDA has been that its work often extends to topics that are not directly connected to the rights of homeschoolers…In the 2006 [sic], the group even lobbied for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. A statement on the group’s website explained that because “Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization,” it thus constitutes an “attack on parental rights.” Estrada said that the group no longer lobbies on this issue and that he did not know why it had done so then.

Ryan Stollar, executive director of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (a group of former homeschoolers who work within the movement to protect the rights of current homeschool kids), told ThinkProgress that he believes the issues the leaders of HSLDA “have chosen and continue to choose to focus on are not necessarily that issues that are in the best interest of the homeschooling movement,” and may be “actively jeopardizing” it. He cites “right-wing extremism,” positing that “making opposition to same-sex marriage a homeschooling issue is shooting [themselves] in the foot” in their attempt to represent the broader movement.

As seen above, Estrada claims that HSLDA “no longer lobbies on this issue.” He even claims that he “did not know why it had done so then.” Estrada would know: he is HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations. HSLDA says that his job is “to serve as HSLDA’s federal lobbyist.” Surely HSLDA’s federal lobbyist would know what HSLDA is lobbying for and why.

But either Will Estrada is strangely ignorant of his own organization’s agenda against same-sex marriage or he blatantly lied to Josh Israel.

Note that Israel said that, “In the 2006, the group even lobbied for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.” The link that Israel provided takes the viewer  to a lobbying report filed by HSLDA in 2006 regarding the amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Look who signed it:

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Will Estrada himself filed the report.

Yet he “did not know why it had done so”?

Furthermore, if Estrada was not sure why he himself did so (and his organization continues to do so), HSLDA has conveniently made public since 2004 an official page on their website. It’s entitled, “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage.” It continues to exist to this day. It does not say HSLDA “no longer” fights same-sex marriage. Rather, it declares HSLDA continues to fight it. And the reasons are quite clear:

“HSLDA will continue to fight against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization. This is an attack on parental rights. This is a battle the homeschooling movement cannot afford to lose.”

What of Estrada’s other claim, that “the group no longer lobbies on this issue”?

This, too, is blatantly false. Let’s take a look at just the last two years:

  • HSLDA opposed Hawaii House Bill 1109 because it would legalize same-sex marriages. On January 28, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage.”
  • HSLDA opposed Texas Senate Bill 480 because it would create civil unions for same-sex couples. On February 13, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
  • HSLDA opposed Texas House Bill 1300 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On February 25, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
  • HSLDA opposed Texas House Joint Resolution 78 because it would repeal Texas’s traditional marriage amendment that excluded same-sex couples from the state’s definition of marriage. On February 25, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
  • HSLDA opposed Delaware House Bill 75 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On May 21, 2013, HSLDA declared that, “Given HSLDA’s interest in preserving traditional marriage, this bill should be opposed.”
  • HSLDA opposed Rhode Island Senate Joint Resolution 708 because it would legalize same-sex marriages. On July 3, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage and the traditional family.” HSLDA then linked the the article “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage” — as recently as 2013.
  • HSLDA opposed Pennsylvania House Bill 1647 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On September 11, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “Given HSLDA’s support of traditional marriage between one man and one woman, this bill should be opposed.”
  • HSLDA opposed Pennsylvania House Bill 1688 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On October 24, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “Given HSLDA’s support of traditional marriage between one man and one woman, this bill should be opposed.”
  • HSLDA opposed Hawaii Special Second Session Senate Bill 1 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On November 14, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill.
  • HSLDA opposed Hawaii Second Special Session House Bill 6 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On January 1, 2014, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage” and “opposes the establishment of same-sex marriage.”
  • HSLDA opposed Hawaii House Bill 1109 and Senate Bill 1369 because they would legalize same-sex marriage. On May 1, 2014, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” these bills because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage.”

HSLDA has not changed their position on same-sex marriage nor have they stopped lobbying on this matter. They continue to publicly oppose same-sex marriage and they urge their members to similarly mobilize, as evidenced in this e-lert they sent out just a few years ago in 2012:

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Also in this e-lert HSLDA once again explains why they oppose same-sex marriage:

Why is HSLDA opposed to these bills? Our freedom to educate our children is based upon the foundation of marriage and traditional  family. In many of the cases before our courts, parental rights are based on “Western civilization concepts of the family.” Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in Western civilization upon which the foundation of parental choice in education and basic parental rights are based.

Yet despite repeated mobilization against same-sex marriage all the way through 2013 and 2014 (each mobilization with explicit reasons for why), Estrada had the gall to not only tell ThinkProgress reporter Josh Israel that HSLDA “no longer lobbies on this issue,” but to play clueless about “why it had done so.”

“Excellent speech becomes not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.” ~ Proverbs 17:7

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