WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nancy Brinker, the founder of the breast cancer research organization Komen for the Cure, has thrown her weight behind another controversial cause: gay activism.
Together with her son Eric, Brinker hosted a reception for the gay legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal last month in Washington, D.C.
The decision to host the reception comes almost exactly a year after Brinker's organization announced that it was cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, causing her social stigma and isolation among feminists and social progressives.
The Washington Post reported that Brinker’s decision to host the Lambda reception one year after the Planned Parenthood dust-up “may look like a bit of PR-savvy outreach to liberals turned off by Komen’s actions.” However, the paper points out that Brinker’s son Eric is gay, and her support for Lambda appears to be genuine.
Brinker’s liberal leanings on social issues shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Though a Republican, in 1996 Planned Parenthood of North Texas gave Brinker the Gertrude Shelburne Humanitarian Award, while she has served on the advisory board of that affiliate.
The CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Texas, Ken Lambrecht, an openly gay man, was one prominent Planned Parenthood supporter who refused to criticize Brinker last year, instead telling the Dallas Voice that he would like to get Brinker back on his advisory board.
Komen itself appears to have friendly relations with the homosexual community. The breast cancer organization has formed an advisory counsel specifically devoted to homosexual issues. Keen News Service, a homosexual news outlet, reports that Komen awarded more than 30 grants for “LGBT-related breast health projects” between 2007 and 2011.
All told, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been awarded by Komen to groups like New York City’s LGBT Community Center, which is described as the “largest LGBT multi-service organization on the East Coast and second largest LGBT community center in the world.” The community center received an $80,000 grant in 2010.
Another gay-focused organization, The Mautner Project, received $500,000 between 2008 and 2010, and another $200,000 after that. Many other similar organizations have received grants of approximately equal size.
Whether genuine or an act of posturing, it may help to revive Brinker's relationship with the trendy personalities with whom she momentarily broke ranks last year.
While the bulk of the responsibility for the Planned Parenthood cut (which Komen subsequently reversed) was placed upon Komen VP Karen Handel, who had a track record of social conservatism, Brinker herself did not escape unscathed in the eyes of American liberals.
A petition launched on Change.org demanded that Brinker step down as CEO, which she subsequently did – at least in name – while liberal flagships such as Jezebel, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post ran critical articles about the Komen founder.
Gay rights activists and organizations joined the fray, expressing fears that the Planned Parenthood cuts foreshadowed a change in approach towards the homosexual community.
“If pro-choice organizations are first, we can’t help but wonder if LGBT organizations are next,” asked Jim Key of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
Such fears are now allayed.
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Eric Brinker, who is himself active with Komen, compared the work of Komen to that of Lambda.
“There’s actually a lot of similarities between their work and Komen’s mission,” he told the Post. “They help people who are underserved and sometimes left behind.”