Clementi family responds to anti-gay group

March 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM
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NEWARK, N.J., March 5 (UPI) -- The parents of a New Jersey college student who killed himself after being outed as gay are swinging back at an anti-gay group that invoked their son's name.

Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 after his roommate secretly broadcast a sexual encounter between Clementi and another man on the Internet.

In February, Jennifer Morse, a representative from the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage and encourages homosexuals not to enter into relationships, told a group of college students in Iowa how they could "support" gay people in exercising "sexual restraint," citing Clementi as an example, said Tuesday.

A video of Morse's speech was posted on the gay rights website Equality Matters, showing her saying: "That kid Tyler Clementi who killed himself -- who threw himself off the George Washington Bridge -- do you know this story? ... I mean, there was a much older man in the [video].

"In other words, there's usually more to the story, right? And so I think friendship is what you have to offer. There are a lot of situations where people are doing something sexual that's probably not the best thing for them.

"You don't have to agree with what they're saying they want, but you still can be a good friend to them and give them some support for sexual restraint, for example, which they might not get from anybody else," she said. "They might be getting pressure to be sexually active even in situations that aren't going to be good for them."

Clementi's parents, who have pressed an anti-bullying campaign in their son's memory, released a statement swatting back Morse's definition of "support."

"To exploit our late son's name to advance an anti-equality agenda is offensive and wrong," the Clementis wrote in a statement responding to the comments. "By doing so, National Organization for Marriage proves that not only is there no low they will not sink to, to advance their cruel agenda -- but that neither they nor Ms. Morse have any grip on reality. The very idea that Tyler's tragedy happened because of too much support -- instead of not enough -- is ludicrous. Shame on them."

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