Through his manager, actor and evangelist Kirk Cameron denied a request from a formerly bullied gay teenager who wanted to discuss the homophobic things Cameron has said in the past and the actions he's taken to prevent the legalization of gay marriage.
Corey Bernstein, 17, wrote to the outspoken actor to invite him to discuss their opposing views at Garden State Equality's Youth Caucus because Cameron would already be in New Jersey this weekend for an appearance before the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.
Bernstein's full letter has been published online, but among the most powerful statements in it are the following:
"In a kind, respectful, and constructive way, we'd like to talk to you about the pain your words about being [lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender] have personally caused me and other LGBT youth. If you can't join us for lunch that Saturday -- when we youth will be meeting regardless -- but can meet us at another time that weekend, we will do everything to make the timing convenient for you.
"Mr. Cameron, words casting negative judgments about LGBT people not only perpetuate prejudice in our wider society, but also hurt LGBT youth in particular. Some of your public comments about being LGBT have devastated us LGBT youth. We yearn to grow up in a world that provides us dignity and safety. That is our simple, most heartfelt dream.
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"The problem is not just that you oppose marriage equality -- a view we disagree with, but to which you are entitled in our free nation -- but that you did so with such disregard for how we youth would perceive your words. Your statement that being LGBT is 'destructive to our civilization,' when millions of LGBT people like me try our very best every day to make our world a better place, was like a knife in the heart."
The response from Cameron's manager, Mark Craig, can be found on Facebook. Craig wrote that Bernstein's request to meet Cameron was denied because the actor -- who played Mike Seaver on the television show "Growing Pains" that ran from 1985 to 1992, although he may be more known now for his religious stance than for being a teen heartthrob -- has a schedule that doesn't permit him to make time "to set up extra meetings like you are suggesting."
Craig also suggested members of the Youth Caucus should watch Cameron's interviews that are available online. In them, Cameron has said homosexuality is "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive to our society."
Cameron's appearance in Ocean Grove will be based around the theme "Love Worth Fighting For." It's a motif Garden State Equality will protest with a march and block party called, "All Love Is Worth Fighting For."
The actor was criticized this year after an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan. During the interview, he reaffirmed his stance on gay marriage. He has also been denounced for his position as "Champion of Marriage," a title given to him by the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance (You can watch his testimonial below). His former cast mates on "Growing Pains" have repeatedly said that Cameron's religious leanings during his time on the show alienated him from the rest of the people making the show.