Key Staff/Board of Directors
Related Interface Documents
Illinois Family Institute
David Smith (Executive Director)
Anti-LGBT Public Policy Advocacy (sponsors and promotes petitions, legislation and amendments aimed at curbing legal recognition for same-sex couples, voiding non-discrimination laws, ending abortion rights and removing sex education from schools)
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is an independent 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to upholding and re-affirming marriage, family, life and liberty in Illinois.
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is one of the largest and most active statewide anti-gay industry organizations. Headed by Executive Director David E. Smith, the group is a 501c3 organization "dedicated to championing and re-affirming Biblical morals and values within our rapidly changing culture."
IFI focuses on a number of different issues including abortion, religious expression, education and LGBT issues. Specifically, the IFI advocates against same-sex marriage and supports an amendment to the Illinois state constitution that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The group also opposes the "homosexual/bisexual/'transgender' agenda" and supports the repeal of the measure that added sexual orientation to the Illinois Human Rights Law. In the summer of 2006, IFI used anti-gay rhetoric and HIV fear-mongering in an attempt to prevent the Gay Games from being hosted in Chicago.
Former executive director and current Policy & Media Advisor Peter LaBarbera is a longtime anti-LGBT activist. He founded Americans for Truth and has worked with national anti-gay organizations such as Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America. Under his leadership, IFI was an inflammatory organization known for making outrageous claims and launching offensive attacks against the LGBT community. It is still unclear whether IFI's messaging will remain as radical under David Smith's leadership, but LaBarbera's continued ties to the organization make it unlikely the messages will change dramatically.
David E. Smith: Executive Director
Peter J. LaBarbera: Policy & Media Advisor, Former Executive Director
Although the Illinois Family Institute has virtually no national media presence, it receives substantial coverage from media outlets in Illinois. The organization launches numerous anti-LGBT initiatives each year, which pushes the local press to cover the Illinois Family Institute's efforts to end discrimination protections and ban same-sex marriage. Throughout the first half of 2006, the organization's attempts to stop the Gay Games from being hosted in Chicago was given enormous attention by local media, including the influential Chicago Tribune.
The local media's interest in the Illinois Family Institute was partially the result of the personality of former Executive Director Peter LaBarbera, whose inflammatory statements against LGBT people encouraged the conflict-driven media to focus on the organization. Although media coverage of the organization has steadily decreased since LaBarbera left for Americans for Truth, it is unclear whether the lack of attention is due to his departure or the end of the group's Gay Games campaign.
PODCASTS & MULTIMEDIA:
June 2005 - July 2006: Chicago Gay Games Protest - led opposition to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, including attacking sponsors and criticizing participants who were HIV positive 2004 - present: Organize Support for State Marriage Amendment - collected petition signatures, lobbied Illinois lawmakers and organized rallies in support of a state amendment to ban same-sex marriage
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The Illinois Family Institute is funded entirely by private sources.
"Thank you for working with IFI as we lead the statewide movement defending natural marriage against polygamous and homosexual so-called 'marriage' in Illinois. Though progress has been made, marriage -- one-man, one-woman, as God-ordained -- remains vulnerable in Illinois... this is only the first step in a complete high-jacking of marriage. The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality Illinois (the Homosexual lobby here in Illinois) will stop at nothing short of 'marriage.'"
- David E. Smith, IFI Newsletter, 12.14.06
"In this context, the reality of modern-day 'tolerance' becomes clear. When the victim is Politically Correct, the media cooperates with activist groups to use the tragedy to promote the desired 'progressive' end; in the case of Shepard's murder, homosexual-inclusive 'hate crimes' legislation. When the murder victim is not Politically Correct - such as Mary Stachowicz, a devout Catholic woman brutally beaten and stabbed to death by an enraged homosexual - what we get is media disinterest and silence.
- Peter LaBarbera, IFI News & Opinion, 11.17.05
"It is no accident that in Philadelphia, where 'sexual orientation' and 'hate crimes' laws are on the books, 11 Christians were recently arrested on trumped-up charges for preaching the Gospel and protesting at a 'gay pride' event. Pro-homosexual measures like SB 2597 are more about forcing everyone to approve of homosexuality and gender confusion than stopping true discrimination.
- IFI E-Alert, 11.09.04
David E. Smith, Executive Director
Peter LaBarbera, Policy & Media Advisor, Former Executive Director
Lora Sue Hauser, Schools Issues Advisor
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. John Koehler
Dr. Don & Sandra Helfer
Mr. Bruce Tincknell
Mrs. Lora Sue Hauser
Mr. Jim Finnegan
Pastor Richard Giovannetti
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05.23.11 - David E. Smith of the Illinois Family Institute talks about civil unions in Illinois and claims, "What is happening here in Illinois is a tragic attempt by radical forces to advance a political agenda by using the authority of the government to validate wrong and unhealthy relationships."
09.14.09 - Illinois Family Institute's Laurie Higgins claims that "[a]nyone who has been paying attention knows that anti-bullying/safe schools curricula are now the central means by which pro-homosexual propaganda is secreted into public schools."
08.03.09 - Illinois Family Institute's Laurie Higgins on the anti-LGBT attacks in Tel Aviv: "In an exploitative effort to silence Christians, homosexual activists rush in to impute culpability directly and speciously to orthodox Christian teaching on the morality of homosexual acts."
04.16.09 - The Illinois Family Institute posts a video ad that denounces GLSEN's Day of Silence, claiming, "The 6 minute video, made by a Bible believing church here in Illinois, exposes how our children are being indoctrinated, held captive and forced to accept an unproven and dangerous ideology while Biblical Truth is undermined."
03.22.07 - The Illinois Family Institute urges its supporters to contact state lawmakers after a House committee approved a bill that would legalize civil unions in the state.
03.19.07 - The Illinois Family Institute urges its supporters to contact state lawmakers and tell them to oppose a proposed civil unions bill in the state Legislature.
09.13.06 - Illinois Family Institute claims Equality Illinois is promoting a "conterfeit" version of marriage and say they will attempt to place an anti-marriage equality amendment on the 2008 ballot.
09.06.06 - The Illinois Family Institute criticized a court of appeals ruling that rejected anti-marriage equality petition signatures collected by Protect Marriage Illinois.
08.04.06 - Protect Marriage Illinois claims a U.S. District Court Judge's ruling against the organization's petitions for an anti-marriage equality amendment was "rushed and shallow".
07.19.06 - The Illinois Family Institute claims the Democratic National Committee has a five-point plan to defeat state anti-marriage equality amendments; says the DNC gave $10,000 to opponents of Illinois' amendment.
07.06.06 - Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera "remains hopeful" that a proposed anti-marriage equality amendment will reach the Illinois ballot in November.
04.28.06 - Responding to an Illinois activist's statement that the voters do not support an anti-marriage equality amendment, the Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera challenged the activist to put the amendment up for a popular vote.
09.13.05 - Peter LaBarbera launches attack on Republican Illinois state Sen. Dan Rutherford and spreads innuendo about his sexual orientation.
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