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Burgess's fundraising letters for CWA, a national anti-Gay, anti-choice group, released
Burgess's fundraising letters for CWA, a national anti-Gay, anti-choice group, released
NARAL Pro-Choice WA holds press conference about work of Seattle City Council challenger

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington released a bevy of fundraising letters on Wednesday, October 24, that Seattle City Council candidate Tim Burgess allegedly wrote for the far right wing group Concerned Women for America (CWA). The letters were uncovered in the archive files of the People for the American Way, a liberal watchdog group, and use derogatory language toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and outline CWA's opposition to abortion.

A company owned by Burgess wrote the letters during a decade long relationship with the conservative organization between 1995 and 2005. IRS records and published reports suggest he profited roughly two million dollars, according to a NARAL press release.

At a candidate forum sponsered by the Greater Seattle Business Association and Equal Rights Washington on September 12, Burgess told the assembled crowd that he regrets providing services to CWA. "I was responsible for taking them as a client... It was a mistake, I admit that," he said.

Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, said Burgess told her organization during an endorsement meeting that he wrote fundraising letters for CWA. Seattle Gay News publisher George Bakan, who also participated in the press conference, reminded reporters that Burgess told The Stranger during an interview that he was a "copywriter" on CWA projects, a well understood trade term meaning that he wrote, edited and approved much of the language used in the letters.

Among CWA's accusations in the letters released by NARAL:

o Radical homosexual activists and their allies plan to turn America's public school system into full-fledged Gay propaganda and recruitment camps;

o Homosexuality and pedophilia are both sexual orientations;

o Emergency contraception is the same as an abortion;

o The National Education Association seeks to promote the "homosexual lifestyle" in America's public schools.

One letter dated January 1997, which had been blown-up to poster size and circled in red by press conference organizers, talks about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a piece of legislation still under consideration in Congress. The letter reads: "...ENDA was a blatant attempt to destroy our society's moral foundations. This bill would have forced Christian businessmen and women and other decent Americans to hire homosexuals and those with a variety of 'sexual orientations,' including transvestites and pedophiles."

Burgess claims that his firm, formerly called The Domain Group but now called Merkle Domain, only wrote six of the 20 or more letters released this week. However, he admits his firm did work on one letter in 1999 which criticized It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School, a film about how educators can talk about LGBT people in an age-appropriate manner. The letter said the film was simply "slick propaganda to persuade teachers and others to actually convert children to homosexuality." A second letter the firm worked on in 1999 recommended "ban[ning] partial-birth abortions" through legislative changes.

Bakan said as a newspaper publisher he's turned away advertising from groups professing beliefs he disagreed with, such as "ex-Gay" groups. He said that in Seattle few companies would take work from groups such as CWA.

Although NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and the Seattle Gay News have endorsed Councilman David Della, Burgess' opponent, in the Seattle City Council (Pos. 7) race, Cooper and Bakan said they are releasing the letters Wednesday mainly to provide voters with more information.

The Seattle Gay News, in a strongly worded editorial published September 7th, endorsed Della for the November 6 election and criticized Burgess for his work with CWA. The Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee, an organization that rates candidates on their responses to questions about the LGBT community, has also endorsed Della.
picture below: George Bakan - publisher: Seattle Gay News


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