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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 10, 2006

'If you oppose gay marriage, press 1'

Phone company uses anti-gay messages to sell service

�I am a concerned mother of three children calling on behalf of the National Campaign to Stop Same-Sex Marriage,� says a voice when you answer the phone. �My greatest fear for our country is that once we�ve abandoned the concept of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, we, as a nation founded under God, will have no principled basis for rejecting polygamy or any form of sexual involvement.�

�If you agree, please press one.�

It�s an automated telephone device, which has been calling around Ohio and the nation in the past few weeks. It leaves the same message in voicemail or on an answering machine.

�The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has legalized gay marriage, now a conclusive national battle over gay marriage has broken out. Because of this legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, a couple can legally marry and move to another state and still be considered a legal married couple.�

The last statement is not true. But the voice hits its main point again:

�If you oppose the legalization of gay marriage, please press one.�

Surprisingly, this is not one of the familiar anti-gay groups making the calls. It�s a long distance phone carrier and internet service provider that uses an anti-gay scheme to seek customers. The message continues.

�Our God-ordained institution of marriage is under attack in our courts across the nation and your help is needed to save it before the one man, one woman definition of marriage is completely and radically redefined.�

�If you feel we are under attack, please press one.�

Then comes the hook:

�The stakes are so high that the battle ahead is nothing less than a civil war between the culture of average Americans and the culture of the liberal intellectual elites. Overwhelmingly, we hope the public would vote against gay marriages, but the courts are going to thrust it upon us and jam it down our throats.�

�Please, a petition with your signature is needed today. Please press one.�

From there, one is asked to sign a petition to pass the federal constitutional marriage ban amendment and send notes to House and Senate leadership and the president.

Then the listener is directed to a live representative who pitches for long distance and �filtered� internet service by United American Technologies.

UAT is an Oklahoma corporation with a phone network based in Oklahoma City and an internet operation headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.

It randomly telemarkets homes through two nonprofit groups: the National Organization to Stop Same-Sex Marriage and the National Campaign to Stop Pornography. The anti-porn group is registered as a non-profit with the Internal Revenue Service. The anti-gay marriage one is not.

UAT advertises on the pornography group�s website.

The company�s program is to direct a percentage of subscribers� bills to the two nonprofits, and 5 to 10 percent to a charity the customer selects, which could be their local church.

Making the automated calls on behalf of the charities keeps UAT exempt from the national Do Not Call list.

An unnamed customer service representative at the anti-marriage group said, �They [UAT] do it for us. We are their client.�

None of the enterprises publish business phone numbers, only the toll-free number given in the message, so all calls lead to customer service representatives and no farther. The first thing they want to know is, �Are you opposed to same sex marriage?� before they answer any questions or explain their service.

In addition to explaining the charitable contribution, a UAT customer service representative said that other phone and internet companies �make you a donor without your consent.�

He explained that the major phone carrier networks �host boy-lovers� websites� and support �the abortion industry.� He also mentioned gay-friendly work policies common in the industry.

�AT&T gives $13.8 million to gay and lesbian networks every year,� he claimed. �And Sprint supports the gay community and is involved with Pride events.�

UAT claims to be �stopping those people� by taking their business away.

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