After Protest, Hate Web Site Undergoes 'Design Changes'
(CNSNews.com) - Amid intense public and legal scrutiny, a San Diego-based web site that advocated "a horrible death" for public figures opposed to the homosexual lifestyle, deleted from its web pages the names and profiles of public officials it targeted for attack, citing "design changes."
"Usqueers.com," an Internet site that called for the death of former President Ronald Reagan and other leading conservative figures because of their current or former stands on homosexual advocacy, also deleted solicitations of its readership for private information on the people it targeted.
"That page is offline while we contemplate design changes which will allow us to freely express our opinions of the 'sacred cows' on the list - as they have so freely expressed similar opinions about us - yet which will not subject usQueers.com to tedious and unnecessary legal entanglements," read an update late Wednesday.
The move came amid intense pressure from legal and family groups on law enforcement officials and the Internet service provider to shut down the site.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that promotes homosexual rights, joined in the condemnation of the site Wednesday.
"Calling for the death of people is reprehensible and in no way, shape or form should be condoned by anybody," David Smith, an HRC spokesman, said after viewing the contents of "usqueers.com."
"These types of sites, on either side of any debate, should be condemned in the strongest possible way," Smith said.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, a national abortion provider whose doctors and clinic staff have been subjected to criminal harassment after their names were posted on other extremist web sites, also denounced the tactics employed by "usqueers.com."
"It's tacit terrorism as far as we're concerned," said Virginia Martin, vice president for external affairs with Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C.
"We have physicians and clinic staff who are on the Nuremberg web site, and, regardless of what the courts say, their families and the physicians and staff themselves feel that basically a bounty has been put on their head," Martin said.
Law enforcement officials also have expressed an interest in "usqueers.com." A spokesman for the Secret Service, the federal agency responsible for the protection of current and former presidents, said the agency was aware of the site and was investigating it. "We take every threat seriously, small or big," the spokesman said.
Besides the content, family groups were concerned for their safety because the web master had a history of violent behavior.
B. Allen Ross, a homosexual rights activist who runs the site, attacked a Baptist minister in San Diego in June in protest against the Southern Baptist Convention's stances against homosexual behavior.
In a plea bargain in October, Ross pled guilty to kidnapping. At a sentencing on January 7, Ross faces a maximum of eight years imprisonment, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County district attorney's office said.
Earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for Aplus.Net Internet Services in San Diego, the web site's Internet services provider, said the company was examining whether it should continue providing services to their client.
"We're investigating to find out if [the content] violates our acceptable use policy, and if it does violate our acceptable use policy, the Internet site will be shut down," said Mark Drake, a company spokesman.
Hate Web Master Has History of Violence (November 28, 2001)
Attorney Calls on Justice Dept to Close Hate Site (November 26, 2001)