Brokeback Bunny? Gays Vie for Easter Egg Roll

ByABC News

April 16, 2006 — -- The annual White House Easter Egg Roll has been an oasis of innocence in a city of partisan venom for nearly 130 years, dating back to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

But the decision by gay and lesbian couples to bring their children to the event in Washington Monday is injecting conflict into this year's festivities. Some Christian Conservatives are not happy.

In an age when Spongebob Squarepants, Buster the Rabbit and "Tinky Winky" the Teletubby have all been caught in the cultural crossfire, perhaps it was inevitable that the Easter bunny would be next. Two hundred gay and lesbian families say they'll be attending.

Colleen Gillespie and Alisa Surkis waited in line for hours to pick up their tickets.

ABC News caught up with them and their 3-year-old daughter Ella at their home in New York City before they left for Washington.

"I think that for us it's really a simple thing," Surkis said, "that we just wanted our fellow citizens a chance to meet our families."

Ella said she's really looking forward to one thing in particular: "Candy."

Gillespie and Surkis said conservatives have politicized families like theirs by demonizing them.

The Bush administration, which has endorsed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, has said that all families are welcome at the Easter Egg Roll.

But some conservatives say what these families are doing is pushing a pro-gay marriage agenda -- politicizing an event designed for children.

"It just seems … tacky and tasteless," said Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, "to take an event that should belong to them and turn it instead into an event for adults to use to make a political statement."

But the families, who will be wearing rainbow-colored flower leis to the event, say they're not trying to be political -- simply present.

"If you felt somebody was doing something to hurt your family, to attack your family," Surkis said, "and you wanted to say, 'Hey, why are you doing this; this is who we are; we're just a family?' would you consider that political or would you consider that just doing something for your family?"

This is not the first time there's been an issue about who attends the Egg Roll. In 1953, then-President Dwight Eisenhower's wife noticed there were no black children participating.

The next year, there were.

ABC News' Dan Harris originally reported this story for "World News Tonight."

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