San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair Featured Public Whippings

By Pete Winn | September 29, 2008 | 10:59pm EDT
( - Bondage, sadomasochism, whippings, beatings, widespread nudity, oral and anal sex acts, people being led around by collars and chains--that’s just a sampling of what was “celebrated” at a public street fair held Sunday in San Francisco.
Critics such as Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality said the nudity and sex took place unchecked by San Francisco police, who simply stood by and watched.
“In the name of 'tolerance and diversity,' we are casting aside all boundaries, some dating back to the beginning of recorded time,” LaBarbera said, “and Folsom's shocking, police-protected public perversions are mere markers of a nation in steep decline, a nation that is leaving God behind.”
The event celebrates the “BDSM” -- bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism – subculture of San Francisco’s homosexual community.
Last Friday, LaBarbera’s group and other conservatives held a news conference in San Francisco to criticize Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for allowing the Folsom Street Fair to take place.
"As our nation deals with a severe economic crisis, America faces an equally grave moral crisis that flies under the politically correct media's radar,” LaBarbera said.
Most Americans would be stunned to learn the things that have gone on at Folsom Street Fair under cover of police protection for the last 25 years, he added.
Matt Barber, who tracks social issues for the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel, said police have not only been “ordered to stand by and watch as this criminal activity occurs right in front of them,” but that in the past, the San Francisco Police Department hosted a recruiting booth at the event.
Calls by to the SFPD have not been returned, but Barber, who also is an associate dean at Virginia’s Liberty University Law School, said those who cavorted sexually in public broke several California state laws.
“Each violation is punishable by up to six months in jail,” he added. “Yet Mayor Newsom and the San Francisco police willfully and knowingly allow this lawlessness and vile perversion to take place in public."
Newsom issued a letter welcoming the Folsom Street Fair, which doubles as an AIDS fundraiser.  The San Francisco Department of Public Health, meanwhile, sponsored two booths at the event.
Newsom is also a well-known opponent of Proposition 8, the initiative on this fall’s ballot to overturn a California Supreme Court’s ruling handed down this summer that created homosexual marriage in California.
LaBarbera noted that Newsom has long been active in advancing the homosexual public policy agenda, pointing to the mayor’s 2004 order to the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples-- a move that led to thousands of homosexuals flocking to San Francisco City Hall for nuptials before the state supreme court put a stop to the practice.  
"It is no coincidence that the man who took it upon himself four years ago to illegally and radically redefine marriage now enthusiastically welcomes the Folsom Street Fair with its public depravities,” LaBarbera added.
In 2007, meanwhile, the Folsom Street Fair was roundly criticized by Romans Catholics and others for a promotional poster that was a sado-masochistic mockery of Leonardo DaVinci’s painting, “The Last Supper.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who represents San Francisco, defended the ad at the time, telling “It's a constitutional question. It's a religious question. It's about as global a question as you could ask. I'm a big believer in the First Amendment. I do not believe Christianity has been harmed by the Folsom Street Fair."
Calls to the event’s organizers were not returned prior to press time.

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