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Anti-LGBT Roundup 5/16/17

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.

Alliance Defending Freedom* (ADF) held a panel discussion May 9 on campus free speech. Titled “Freedom’s Marketplace: How Undermining Free Speech Undermines Education,” the event included ADF senior counsel and director of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom Casey Mattox; David French of the National Review; Mark Oppenheimer of Tablet Magazine and formerly of the New York Times; and Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution.

ADF has supported the criminalization of gay sex, and Benjamin Bull, its international director, reportedly met with Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina in 2014 as part of the planning committee for a World Congress of Families* (WCF) conference in Moscow (the conference was at first suspended after Russia invaded Ukraine, but another was held, possibly in its stead). Mizulina is the architect of Russia’s anti-propaganda laws, passed in 2013, that disregards free speech and instead bans “gay propaganda,” including public speech or demonstrations that equate same-sex to heterosexual relationships.

ADF is also instrumental in developing policy that segregates trans students from their peers in schools, and fuels an atmosphere of gender-policing. ADF has also contacted school districts and warned that trans-inclusive policies would expose the schools and teachers to tort liability. ADF’s school policy language also appears to have served as a model for numerous so-called “bathroom bills” around the country, which are designed to segregate trans people from public bathrooms and associated facilities.

Paul Cameron, anti-LGBT psychologist, propagandist, and architect of anti-LGBT junk science, is the director of the Family Research Institute* and he spoke in Gdansk, Poland May 11. The event is sponsored by Polish hard-right nationalist groups, including political party Ruch Narodowy (National Movement), which first formed as an electoral alliance of right-wing and far-right nationalist political movements, and All-Youth Poland, which has neo-Nazi ties. The talk appears to be titled “Myths of Homopropaganda.”

Paul Cameron
Paul Cameron, Family Research Institute.

Several academic professional organizations have either removed Cameron from membership or censured him, including the American Psychological Association and the Nebraska Psychological Association. The American Sociological Association adopted a resolution that asserted that Cameron had consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism. The Canadian Psychological Association also adopted a resolution with similar wording to the ASA’s.

Best-known for a “study” that claimed gay people die younger than heterosexual people, Cameron is no longer cited by name among anti-LGBT groups, but he has found a willing and supportive audience in Poland. So much so that Cameron sued a Polish LGBT group for defaming him.

The group had sent letters to various Polish universities warning about Cameron’s history and anti-LGBT statements. A court ruled in Cameron’s favor initially, but after an appeal, the court found that Cameron is a public figure and must be aware that he will garner criticism. Thus, the court ruled, calling him a “homophobic liar” and “pseudoscientist” do not infringe on his rights. The court did rule, however, that the LGBT group must issue apologies for calling Cameron a “fraud.”

Cameron has repeatedly linked LGBT people to pedophilia, and, in a 2010 talk in Krakow, Poland, made the claim that LGBT people have sex with animals. In a 2014 interview with radio host David Pakman, Cameron referred to LGBT people as parasites and suggested that a death penalty for LGBT people “is not an unreasonable thing.”

In March of this year, Cameron gave a talk to the College Republicans on the campus of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (FRI is based in Colorado Springs), titled “Will Homosexuality’s Rapid Rise among Youth Ruin Trump’s Plans?”

The Florida Family Association is advertising the “Southeast Regional Patriot Academy” to be held at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, June 28 - 30. Billed as an organization, the Patriot Academy is “training champions to change the world,” the Patriot Academy is a three- to seven-day “’boot camp’ in leadership and government open to students ages 16 to 25 and held every summer in various state capitols throughout the country.” Participants learn the political process from the inside out, according to the website, as they “file legislation,, debate bills, campaign for office and pass laws.” They also receive training in media skills, public speaking, leadership, current issues and “America’s heritage—all from a Biblical worldview.”

The Academy was founded by former Texas state representative Rick Green (1999-2003). Major sponsors are the American Family Association* and Wallbuilders, which is run by pseudohistorian David Barton, known for his miscontexualization and incorrect interpretations of American history. In 2012, for example, Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson, recalled one of his books and cancelled its publication because it contained historical errors. The book, The Jefferson Lies, purported to expose liberal myths about Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. A group of conservative scholars pointed out that Barton’s take on Jefferson is factually untrue.

Other regional Patriot Academy trainings are taking place in Phoenix, Ariz. (June 14-16); Boise, Id. (June 19-21); Dover, Del. (July 12-14); Austin, Tex. (July. 30-Aug. 5 and Aug. 1-5); and Richmond, Va. (Sept. 22-14).

Focus on the Family (FOTF) is resurrecting Brio magazine, which is geared toward teen girls. The magazine folded in 2009 in the midst of the economic downturn, but relaunched last month, featuring Sadie Robertson, the granddaughter of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Brio originally published from 1990-2009 and shut down along with its brother mag, FOF’s Breakaway, geared toward teen boys (no word on whether that magazine will make a comeback).

Bob DeMoss, vice president of content development for FOTF, said that the new incarnation of Brio will put forward a “biblical worldview” — including, according to NPR, “opposition to LGBT relationships, abortion and premarital sex.”

The magazine is available in print.

Mandi Ancalle, government affairs general counsel of the Family Research Council* (FRC), testified before the House Oversight Committee May 4 regarding the importance of “free speech for churches,” which are allegedly restricted because of the Johnson Amendment, which was inserted into the 1954 tax code during the administration of then-president Lyndon Johnson. The amendment prohibits churches and other nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 designations under federal tax code from endorsing and opposing political candidates. The Christian Right has been attempting to do away with the Johnson Amendment for years.

Mandi Ancalle
Mandi Ancalle, Family Research Center.

Ancalle was testifying in favor of the so-called Free Speech Fairness Act, which was introduced February 1 of this year. The FSFA is being touted as a “fix” for the Johnson Amendment, and would allow charitable organizations to make statements with regard to political campaigns if the statements are made in the ordinary course of carrying out its tax-exempt purpose.

FRC Radio roundup: FRC president Tony Perkins does a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests April 26 - May 9 have included Frank Gaffney (director of the Center for Security Policy*); Tony Binion (director of policy outreach, Heritage Foundation);  Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA); Sen. John Boozman (R-AR); Quentin Van Meter (vice president of the American College of Pediatricians*); Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH); Missouri attorney general Josh Hawley; Campus Reform editor-in-chief Sterling Beard; Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Rep. Mark Harris (R-MD); Rev. Franklin Graham; Texas Republican state senator Diane Campbell (co-sponsor of the Texas anti-trans “bathroom bill,” SB-6); Donald Vander Boon (owner, West Michigan Beef Company); Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO); Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA; he is also House Majority Whip); Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC); Everett Piper (president, Oklahoma Wesleyan University); Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN); Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ); Fox News’ Todd Starnes; Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC); Tim Wildmon (president of American Family Association* [AFA]). Everett Piper guest-hosted on April 28 and AFA’s Sandy Rios guest-hosted on April 26.

The ex-gay Hope for Wholeness Network  (HFW) is holding its national conference (“Hearts Unite”) July 12-16 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

The group’s mission is to shed light on the complicated issues of “sexual and relational brokenness with special expertise on homosexuality and transgenderism.”

HFW, whose tagline is “freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ,” was founded in 1999 as an affiliate of Exodus International (Exodus North America is now defunct). According to the website, the name “Hope for Wholeness” originated as an annual conference then the name was given to the ministry’s creation of the Hope for Wholeness curriculum in 2011, to “assist those affected by homosexuality, and to help those that desire to walk alongside them.”

The HFW website states that, “Homosexuality (whether in practice or identity), as well as other sexual addictions, is against God’s plan for mankind.” The site goes on to state that, “Same-sex attractions are not chosen, nor is there any scientific evidence to point to genetic causation,” and then states that though they don’t believe there is biblical evidence t point to a specific demonic spirit, “we believe that the demonic realm may play a part in ways such as spiritual taunting, leading others astray, and leading one to harm others through various forms of abuse.” The site goes on to claim that, “We believe that leaving homosexuality is more about becoming a man or woman in Christ, and not merely stopping this or that behavior” though they note they “do not attempt to alter anyone’s attractions” nor do they promise that this will take place.

Ex-gay (or reparative) therapy has myriad approaches, but all incorporate the idea that LGBT people are somehow “broken” or “abnormal” and thus should stop either being gay or engaging in same-sex relationships, or, in the case of trans people, stop trying to be who they feel they truly are.

The Florida-based Liberty Counsel* has been targeting a math teacher at Riverview High School in Tampa for promoting LGBTQ “propaganda.” The Counsel sent a demand letter to Jeff Eakins, the superintendent of Hillsborough County Schools, claiming that they were writing “on behalf of parents of children in the classroom” of the teacher.

The Counsel alleged that the teacher had prohibited students from wearing Christian cross necklaces, promoted the anti-bullying initiative Day of Silence (which is a student-organized initiative to call attention to anti-LGBT bullying), and decorated her classroom with pro-LGBT “political themes,” including, the letter stated, “a large display on her wall stating ‘ALLY,’ a ‘Safe Space’ poster and door sticker, and assorted other LGBT promotional material.”

The Counsel accused the teacher, who identifies as lesbian, of violating the school’s code of ethics of the education profession of Florida and then made several demands, including “promoting LGBT political activism during instructional time on April 21 [the 2017 Day of Silence], or at any other time.”

Mat Staver
Mathew “Mat” Staver, Liberty Counsel.

The school district conducted an investigation and determined that the teacher is not guilty of any wrongdoing. Regardless, Liberty Counsel president Mathew “Mat” Staver, stated in a comment in the Tampa Bay Times that, “We’ll be following up with another letter to the school. We have other students who have come forth in other classes as well.” According to the Times, Staver said that letter would probably go out Wednesday (May 10).

The Liberty Counsel has a history of targeting schools over its allegations of “promotion of homosexuality” and a “gay agenda” (see here, here, and here).

On May 9, the Liberty Counsel touted an Israeli study in a press release as refuting propaganda from LGBT activists “who detach gender completely from sex and promote that men and become so-called ‘women’ by merely ‘identifying’ as female, and vice-versa.” The study, by Moran Gershoni and Shmuel Pietrokovski, is titled “The landscape of sex-differential transcriptome and its consequent selection in human adults.”

The study has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity and instead addresses pathophysiology, and notes that though men and women have nearly identical genomes, sexually dimorphic traits can result in different disease susceptibilities.

The anti-LGBT right has a long history of touting anti-LGBT pseudoscience or distorting legitimate research (see here, here, and here) in attempts to marginalize LGBT people and drum up public sentiment against them.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced the 2017 March for Marriage, which will be held Saturday, June 17. The event, started in 2013 involves a march in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall to the Supreme Court to protest marriage equality and, according to an announcement sent around by Brian Brown, NOM president, “to restore marriage in the public eye.” We will not rest, the announcement says, “until this illegal, unjust ruling is reversed,” which references the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling that legalized marriage equality in the United States.

The 2015 march garnered perhaps 6,000 people, while the 2016 march seems to have attracted around 250 participants.

NOM has a long history of battling marriage equality since its founding in 2007 to push for the anti-LGBT Proposition 8 in California. Though Prop 8 passed, it was later found to be unconstitutional but NOM soon became a clearinghouse for anti-LGBT marriage initiatives throughout the country.

It also has repeatedly run afoul of election laws, even gaining a reputation for running political campaigns without disclosing donors to election officials. In 2014, the Maine Ethics Commission fined NOM more than $50,000 for violating state campaign laws in 2009 during a campaign against marriage equality. The commission report suggested that NOM had violated campaign disclosure laws in New Hampshire and Iowa and lied about its malfeasance to a government agency.

In 2012, a public relations disaster for the organization ensued when internal documents were leaked, revealing that NOM was working to build a national strategy that would “expose” then-President Obama as a “social radical” and “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by using black spokespeople to promote NOM’s agenda and to “provoke the gay marriage base “ into calling the black spokespeople bigots. Part of the strategy involved finding attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally and finding “glamorous young Latino and Latina leaders…willing to stand for marriage.”

By 2014, NOM’s finances had tanked, according to its tax returns, but Brown was by then more engaged in working overseas and with international allies. In 2016, he became the president of the World Congress of Families*, and appears to be more engaged currently with that organization and its parent, the International Organization for the Family*.

The World Congress of Families* (WCF) is holding its eleventh major gathering in Budapest, May 24-28. The local organizing committee includes Katalin Novak, Hungary’s secretary of state for Youth, Family, and International Affairs under the government’s Ministry of Human Capacities, headed by Zoltan Balog. The latter was part of a Hungarian government delegation that attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. in February.

WCF holds world congresses in various cities around the world annually (as well as other, smaller regional conferences), and serves as an important nexus for Christian Right networking and policy influencing, often bringing in local organizations and government officials. The congress also serves as a showcase of anti-LGBT and anti-choice rhetoric and conspiracy theories, as at last year’s gathering n Tbilisi. The WCF is a staunch promoter of the idea of the “natural family,” which holds that the only valid form of family is a biological man and biological woman in a heterosexual marriage with their biological children.

 

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