Anti-LGBT Activities Roundup 4/13/2017

The following is a list of activities and events of anti-LGBT organizations. Organizations listed as anti-LGBT hate groups are designated with an asterisk.

Alaska Family Action (AKFA) is supporting an Anchorage anti-trans initiative that would force Alaskans to use public locker rooms and bathrooms that match the sex specified on their birth certificates. The initiative was introduced March 28 as a pared-down version of the earlier Protect Our Privacy Initiative, that would have dismantled legal protections for LGBT people and allowed some businesses to refuse to serve same-sex ceremonies. It was deemed illegal by the Anchorage municipal attorney because it addressed too many different subjects.

Should this latest initative pass legal review, signatures will be gathered to place it on the April 2018 ballot. The language in the initiative is similar to the current debate over Texas’ anti-trans bathroom bill, SB 6.

One of the two sponsors for the Anchorage initiative is Kim Minnery, wife of AKFA president Jim Minnery, who has a long history of anti-LGBT activity and has helped spearhead two successful campaigns against anti-discrimination legislation that would have included LGBT people. His cousin, Tom Minnery, has a similar history. Retired now, Tom Minnery is president emeritus of Family Policy Alliance (formerly CitizenLink, which was affiliated with Focus on the Family). He was also a former senior vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family and a founding member of the board of directors and former president of the board of the anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.

In 2012, Jim Minnery was a leader of the so-called “Protect Your Rights – Vote No on Prop 5” campaign in Alaska. Prop 5, which did not pass, would have extended anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people. The campaign ran an anti-trans cartoon ad, including one in which a “transvestite” applies for a job at a daycare center. That ad was roundly denounced as stigmatizing and dehumanizing, including by former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. Minnery has also claimed that there is a “homosexual agenda” to persecute and prosecute anyone who doesn’t endorse it. He also claimed that the 2015 LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance “legally invited men into public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms” used by women and girls because the men will claim to identify as female.

AKFA also launched a campaign on April 11 against the nomination of Drew Phoenix, who is trans, to the Alaska State Human Rights Commission. In a Facebook post targeting Phoenix’s nomination, AKFA noted Phoenix’s work in support of the anti-discrimination Prop 5, which AKFA says, “proposed that men should be able to use whatever showers, bathrooms, etc. they want, consistent with their self-declared ‘gender identity.’” Conflating sexual predation with trans women is a harmful myth peddled by anti-LGBT groups.

The American Family Association* (AFA) is conducting “spiritual heritage tours” in June and September. The tours include a Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown visit and another to Washington, D.C. and Mount Vernon. AFA bills the excursions as tours that will “help you capture the deep, rich Christian heritage of our country and the people who founded it.”

AFA has a long history of anti-LGBT statements and activities. Last year it launched a boycott against Target stores for the latter’s trans-inclusive policies which, AFA claimed, would allow sexual predators into restrooms and changing rooms, a common and roundly debunked claim made by the anti-LGBT right. Earlier this month, AFA radio host Bryan Fisher claimed that LGBT people “stole the rainbow” from God, presumably as a response to the death of artist Gilbert Baker, who created the flag. Fischer has linked homosexuality to Nazism and pedophilia and claimed that Muslims don’t have First Amendment rights. He has also supported the criminalization of homosexuality.

The Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) is holding a 10-year anniversary celebration on April 28 in Bellevue, Washington. The keynote speaker is conservative author and radio host Dennis Prager, who has claimed that heterosexual AIDS and rape on campus are “liberal hysteria” and lies and that voting for Trump was a good thing because it was like dropping “atom bombs” on Japan. The context then “morally demanded it,” he claimed, and the moral demand in our time is the defeat of the Left.

FPIW is also holding a series of meet-ups in Washington state through April 21 under the title of “Gender Revolution”: “We celebrate ‘Women’s Day’, but no one can define what a woman—or a man—actually is anymore” and “[W]hy is my child’s school working so hard to convince them there are 56 genders and you can be any gender you want?”

In addition to the citizen meet-ups, the group is holding “citizen lobbying” trainings in Olympia on April 14 and 19. FPIW says the sessions are “FPIW’s signature citizen orientation training” and prepare participants “to have a meaningful impact on good public policy” in Washington state. The trainings take place at the state capitol.

FPIW is extremely active in anti-choice and anti-LGBT state and local politics and conducts trainings on getting involved. It has battled domestic partnerships, access to birth control for poor women, and a telemedicine bill, claiming that it would allow “webcam abortions.” FPIW president Joseph Backholm has compared same-sex marriage to two siblings re-defining their bond and said that “tolerance is not something to be pursued.”

FPIW is also behind the anti-trans “Just Want Privacy” campaign, which was gathering signatures in 2016 for Initiative 1515, which would have repealed a state human rights commission law and made it legal for businesses to discriminate against trans people by allowing them to refuse to allow trans people to use the restrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity. The measure didn’t make the November ballot.

The Family Research Council* (FRC) will be holding its Watchmen on the Wall (WOTW) national briefing in Washington, D.C. May 24 through 26. WOTW is FRC’s ministry to pastors. Confirmed speakers include pseudohistorian David Barton, anti-LGBT pastor and activist Michael Brown, anti-Muslim Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jerry Boykin, and anti-LGBT speaker and activist Frank Turek.

On May 2, FRC is holding a lecture on the Free Speech Fairness Act, which is, according to FRC, “a bill that restores free speech and religious liberty to churches and other nonprofits by allowing them to make political statements” under certain conditions. Georgia congressman Jody Hice will be speaking about the bill. Hice, who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee, served as a pastor and conservative talk radio host.

In 2012, Hice published his book It’s Now or Never, in which he alleges the gay community has a plot to recruit and sodomize children and that homosexuality causes shorter life spans and that same-sex couples cannot raise healthy children. He also states in the book that abortion rights supporters are worse than Hitler and calls for Muslims to be stripped of their First Amendment rights.

The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) will be holding its annual dinner May 1, featuring conservative evangelical author, speaker and radio host Eric Metaxas as its keynote speaker.

MFC has long battled LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, claiming that the latter will result in a loss of political freedom. The group has promoted falsehoods about homosexuality and LGBT people as well. In 2011, for example, the group posted a “legislative handbook” on its website that claimed, among other things, that "the homosexual population includes a disproportionate number of pedophiles," that "some homosexuals have become urolagniacs (ingesting urine and feces) and engage in bestiality as well as other deviant behaviors," and that LGBT people are abnormal and disordered—all claims that have been roundly rejected by credible scholarly researchers. The manual also pushed for removing sexual orientation from the state’s Human Rights Act because there was “no evidence that a significant number of homosexuals are discriminated against.” After bloggers started publicizing the manual, it was removed from the site.

In 2014, MFC joined fellow anti-LGBT groups the Minnesota Child Protection League and the Minnesota Catholic Council in a full-page anti-trans ad in the Minnesota Star-Tribune. The ad targeted a school policy aimed at inclusion of trans students in sports, and painted trans students as dangerous.

The Liberty Counsel* is planning a tour of Israel in partnership with Christians in Defense of Israel from October 2 through 11. According to one of the Counsel’s “Liberty Alerts,” the VIP tour occurs over the holiday of Sukkot and the Feast of Tabernacles and the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War and the seventieth anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The tour will include the opportunity “to meet with political and community leaders.”

The Liberty Counsel is a hardline anti-LGBT group that bills itself as a non-profit litigation, education and policy organization providing legal counsel and pro bono assistance in cases that deal with “religious liberty” and issues around abortion and LGBT rights. The group has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and believes homosexuality is dangerous. It is currently defending anti-LGBT activist Scott Lively in a lawsuit that claims Lively engaged in human rights violations because of his work in Africa, in which he allegedly spread falsehoods about homosexuality that helped create a dangerous climate for LGBT people in Uganda.

In the wake of the mass shooting last June at Orlando’s LGBT Pulse nightclub in which 49 people died, Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver criticized memorial gatherings, claiming they turned into “homosexual love fests.” Earlier this year, Staver insisted that the Pulse shootings had nothing to do with targeting LGBT people and that first responders were traumatized again because they had to “get tested for AIDS-related conditions” because of all the blood at the scene.

The Political Network for Values (PNV) is holding its second transatlantic summit of policymakers in Brussels April 27 through 28. PNV is an anti-choice and anti-LGBT network of groups and individuals whose board of directors includes Brian Brown, president of the anti-LGBT hate group World Congress of Families and Benjamin Bull, director of the international arm of Alliance Defending Freedom.*

According to its website, PNV formed as a result of efforts initiated by former Minister of Home Affairs in Spain and former European Parliament member, Jaime Mayor Oreja. He, along with legislators from Europe, the United States and Mexico, are working “to create Trans-Atlantic cooperation among legislators on the issues of life, marriage, family and fundamental freedoms.”

The second summit includes Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Study for the Family Research Council*; Sharon Slater, director of Family Watch International*; Sophia Kuby of Alliance Defending Freedom* and Katalin Novák, Hungary’s Secretary of State for Youth, Family and International Affairs. She is serving as a local organizer for the upcoming World Congress of Families* gathering in Budapest in May (see below).

According to the program, the summit will “create a forum spotlighting topics regarding the institution of marriage, family, human life, human dignity, religious freedom and freedom of conscience in international organizations.” A proposed agenda will be discussed by policy makers based on the risks and challenges identified by experts, and will set the ground for its implementation.

The ex-gay Restored Hope Network (RHN) is holding its annual conference in San Diego June 16 and 17. RHN claims to be a network of “more than 55 Christian ministries, pastors and counselors in the US.” It is dedicated to restoring hope “to those broken by sexual and relational sin especially those impacted by homosexuality.”

RHN’s doctrinal statement includes the belief that “sexual purity is a life and death matter” and claims that “Marriage between a man and a woman prefigures the union of God and his people or Christ and the church and has as its highest purpose the self-giving integration of the two sexes into a single sexual whole.”

RHN launched in 2012 after splintering from ex-gay juggernaut Exodus, which shut down in 2013. RHN is helmed by veteran ex-gay activists like Stephen Black, who often worked with virulently anti-LGBT Oklahoma lawmaker Sally Kern (no longer in office) and Andrew Comiskey, who headed up the ex-gay Desert Stream Ministry, which in the past fell under suspicion of sexual abuse.

The pseudoscience of ex-gay therapy (also referred to as “conversion” and “reparative” therapy) has a long history of demonizing and attempting to “cure” homosexuality through a range of discredited and often dangerous practices. Ex-gay therapy has been rejected by virtually every mainstream and legitimate medical and mental health organization for years. In 2012, the Pan American Health Organization—the North and South American representative of the World Health Organization—condemned the practice and in 2016, the World Psychiatric Association announced its opposition to it, as well.

World Congress of Families* (WCF) is gearing up for its annual conference May 24 through 28 in Budapest. The local organizing committee is led by Katalin Novak, Hungary’s Secretary of State for Youth, Family and International Affairs.

WCF conferences often include local government officials, and the gathering serves as an important nexus of networking for international anti-LGBT and anti-choice groups. They are often rife with anti-LGBT and anti-choice rhetoric and conspiracy theories, as demonstrated at last year’s gathering in Tbilisi.

WCF, under the umbrella of the International Organization for the Family (formerly the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society), often colludes with government and religious officials abroad with regard to policy and legislation and works to push its ideology of “the natural family.” The latter considers families that are made up of one cisgender man in a lifelong marriage with one cisgender woman and their children as the only valid type of family. According to WCF’s Eventbrite page for the Tbilisi conference last year, this construction of the “natural” family “precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members.” There is no room in society for family structures other than that, according to this view.

WCF’s work in Russia may have provided impetus for the anti-LGBT laws there that essentially criminalize homosexuality and have fostered an often brutal anti-LGBT climate. Both the IOF and WCF are currently headed by Brian Brown, who is also the president of the National Organization for Marriage.

 

Comments, suggestions or tips? Send them to HWeditor@splcenter.org and follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.