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Anti-LGBT Roundup of Events and Activities 6.26.17

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.

C-Fam* (Center for Family and Human Rights)

Lisa Correnti of C-Fam* (Center for Family and Human Rights) claimed in a June 22 email from the organization that the group had been in Cancun engaged in negotiations during the 47th General Assembly for the Organization of American States (OAS). C-Fam's June 22 Friday Fax update stated that, “Latin American countries pushed back this week against further promotion of gender ideology in a resolution.”

“Gender ideology” is a right-wing conspiracy theory being used to combat equal rights for LGBT people and women in the global arena. C-Fam stated that the 2017 OAS proposal for rights went beyond agreed-upon language, and included intersex traits as a protected category and called for condemnation of “undefined” homophobia and transphobia.

The OAS adopted the same language it has been using for years in its human rights resolution, according to C-Fam.

C-Fam has a long history of anti-LGBT and anti-choice lobbying at the United Nations. Its roots lie as CAFHRI – Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute – and the extreme anti-choice group Human Life International and Human Life International-Canada as a way to gain consultative status at the U.N. HLI was founded in 1981 and quickly garnered a reputation for its extremist rhetoric (like approving of sniper attacks on doctors who perform abortions) and actions, and for linking the abortion industry to Jews.

CAFHRI was founded as a legally distinct entity from HLI and HLI-Canada, but was closely tied to both and initially required to report to them. Over the years it apparently has evolved into its own entity doing its own anti-LGBT and anti-choice work.

Austin Ruse, president of C-Fam, screenshot from “At Home with Jim and Joy,” June 22, 2017

Austin Ruse is the current president of C-Fam, which is very active at the United Nations. The group garnered press in March when it was revealed that Lisa Correnti, the group’s executive vice president, was named by the State Department to the U.S. delegation to the U.N.'s annual Committee on the Status of Women. Ruse has made inflammatory statements in the past, including calling for left-wing professors to be “taken out and shot” and linking homosexuality to pederasty.

Ruse also has supported Russia’s laws that criminalize speech about homosexuality, claiming that “it’s a good thing that there are laws against proselytizing the homosexual lifestyle to schoolchildren” and saying that most Americans would be fine with a ban on pro-LGBT speech.

Family Research Council*

Radio Roundup: FRC president Tony Perkins does a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests for the June 8-23 episodes included: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC); Mayor Ben Baker (Neosho, MO); Robert Spencer, director of the anti-Muslim Jihad Watch*; Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX); Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (guest hosted June 9 and 21); Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA); Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX); Rep. Matt Manweller (R-WA); Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA); Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness; Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL); Terry Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of CNS News; Sen. James Lankford (R-OK); Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK); Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO); Mat Staver, president of the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel*; Tim Graham, director of media analysis at Media Research Center; Thomas Brejcha, Thomas More Society; Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ); Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity; Todd Starnes, Fox News columnist; Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA); Greg Baylor, Alliance Defending Freedom*; Sandy Rios of the American Family Association* (guest-hosted June 22); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); and Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies*

Florida Family Policy Council

Attorney John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, will be speaking at Tea Party Manatee’s “Celebrating Our Independence” event at Mixon Farms in Bradenton, Florida, June 27. According to an email FFPC sent out, Stemberger’s speech is titled “Standing Alone” and will focus on how ordinary people can become extraordinary and change history.

Stemberger also serves on the board of Trail Life USA, an anti-LGBT alternative to the Boy Scouts that launched in 2014. On its original FAQs (web archive), it stated that Jewish churches and organizations are precluded from chartering Trail Life troops and Jewish adults would not be allowed to serve as leaders because they would be “unable” to sign the statement of faith (Christian), though Jewish youth are allowed to participate.

John Stemberger, Florida Family Policy Council, screenshot from anti-Planned Parenthood press conference, 2015

Furthermore, the group's original site said that any boy who is “part of or advocating for the Gay Movement” was also excluded from participation, though boys “struggling” with homosexuality and who confided such to a leader could participate and Trail Life would help counsel him about same-sex attraction. The website no longer includes that language, and instead now says that Christian men and women can serve as leaders as long as they sign the statement of faith and abide by membership standards. The site no longer mentions homosexuality.

Focus on the Family

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the anti-LGBT and anti-choice group Focus on the Family June 23 in Colorado Springs at its fortieth anniversary gathering, becoming the first vice president to address the group.

In a speech “steeped in Biblical imagery,” according to the Denver Post, Pence assured FOTF that it has “an unwavering ally” in President Trump. Pence promised that the new healthcare bill would defund Planned Parenthood (PP), though PP does not receive money directly from the federal government. Rather, PP’s federal funding comes from reimbursements through Medicare and Title X. There is no “keep Planned Parenthood running” part of the federal government.

Furthermore, some 60 percent of PP patients rely on public health programs like Medicaid and Title X for preventative and primary care, so right-wing calls to “defund Planned Parenthood” actually mean they will attempt to block patients who rely on public healthcare programs from getting their care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Pence has a long history of anti-LGBT and anti-choice sentiment. He has linked gay relationships to societal collapse, supported the harmful and pseudoscientific practice of “ex-gay” therapy (he wanted to cut funding for AIDS/HIV in order to fund conversion therapy), and opposed an anti-discrimination law that would have banned discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. As governor of Indiana, he also signed the state's so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in 2015, which would have allowed private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. The outcry was so great that Pence signed a fix to the bill which ensured that it did not single out LGBT people.

Pence also tried to change the definition of rape to what he called “forcible rape” in order to limit how federal funds could be used for abortion. Under current law, federal funding is available for abortion to women in cases of rape or incest. Women who were drugged, for example, and raped were thus not eligible for funding under the bill Pence authored.

Focus on the Family was founded in 1977 by anti-LGBT psychologist James Dobson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Under Dobson’s tenure, FOTF was known for its strident anti-LGBT rhetoric and positions, as well as for pushing anti-LGBT pseudoscience and misrepresenting legitimate research. Daly took over the organization in 2005, and in 2013, the New York Times ran a piece in which it appeared Daly has softened some of the group’s stances, though some have refuted that interpretation.

Daly has made anti-LGBT statements in the past, including claiming that same-sex marriage endangers civilization. He has asserted that two gay parents contribute no value to parenting, that “homosexual activists” wish to restrict the speech of anyone opposed to homosexuality and that homosexuality “really is a form of fascism.” He also has supported the discredited anti-LGBT study by sociologist Mark Regnerus.

FOTF is perhaps best-known for launching the “Love Won Out” campaign and ministry in 1998, a push for the pseudoscientific and often harmful practice of ex-gay therapy. Its primary spokesman, John Paulk, was photographed in a gay bar in Washington, DC. He has since apologized for his role in the ministry and is living as gay.

Regardless, FOTF continues to push ex-gay therapy and the belief that people can “leave” homosexuality on its website. Many of the "resources" are written by Jeff Johnston, who claims he is no longer gay. Johnston also has called same-sex relationships “unreality” and pushes the falsehood that people (especially men) are gay because they were sexually abused as children.

Help 4 Families Ministry

“Ex-gay” group Help 4 Families (Ashland, Kentucky) are holding a conference July 28-29 at Metro Life Church in Orlando, Florida. The website says that the event “will provide help and support to individuals, families, and churches facing the challenges and heartbreak of transgenderism, and same-sex attraction.”

Robert Gagnon, screenshot from “God’s Design for Human Sexual Behavior,” 2015

Speakers include Robert Gagnon and Sherry Holt, among others. Gagnon is a notoriously anti-LGBT theologian, who has repeatedly linked homosexuality to pedophilia and called homosexuality “harmful” and “unhealthy.” Homosexual relationships “are repulsively contrary to nature…and comparable to, or more likely worse than, the worst forms of adult-incest,” he has said. He also has called on society “to end the cycle of homosexual behavior.”

Holt claims to be a “former lesbian” who is a facilitator at “Journey to Freedom,” a group based in Louisville, Kentucky for women “who struggle with relational brokenness.” Holt claims she was “brought out” of lesbianism through a “miraculous, tangible encounter with Christ.”

Help 4 Families is part of the Restored Hope Network. They call themselves a “Christ-centered ministry compassionately reaching out to individuals and families who are experiencing the challenges and heartbreak of transsexuality.”

National Organization for Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage held its annual “March for Marriage” event in Washington, D.C. on June 11. Attendance at NOM events has been steadily declining since 2015. That year perhaps 6,000 participants attended, while in 2016, only a few hundred showed up. The count for 2017 was around 50, amidst what NOM president Brian Brown claimed were scheduling and permit troubles.

The event has been bolstered in the past by church-sponsored buses bearing attendees and a larger contingent once bussed in by New York State Senator Ruben Diáz, but this no longer appears to be the case. However, members of the anti-LGBT group American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property attended this year.

Speakers at the event included Brown, who exhorted attendees not to be discouraged by low numbers and claimed that, “we are on the side of true human rights, we are on the side of true civil rights." Brown said he was going to continue to work to overturn Obergefell, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that granted marriage equality. Longtime NOM strategist Frank Schubert also spoke, calling the Obergefell decision “anti-constitutional” and “illegitimate.”

NOM continues to court anti-LGBT African-American pastors. Denise Walker of Everlasting Light Ministries in Minnesota spoke at the event, and said that the “gay rights movement is ungodly, it is from the pit of hell.”

Pray in Jesus Name Project*

Gordon Klingenschmitt of the Pray in Jesus Name Project* was in Lone Tree, Colorado and interviewed British politician and member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage, who was the keynote speaker at a National Asian Indian Republican Association gala and dinner June 17, at the Marriott Denver South (Lone Tree). Farage, former leader of the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim right-wing populist party UKIP who helped orchestrate the anti-immigrant Brexit movement, is a “person of interest” in the investigation into possible improper ties between the White House and Russia.

Klingenschmitt, who calls himself “Dr. Chaps,” served one term in the Colorado state house as a Republican. A former Navy chaplain, he was reprimanded for violating Navy rules about appearing at political events in uniform. The Navy declined to recertify him and he was discharged in 2007 following the controversy. He appealed the decision, but lost.

His brief tenure as a lawmaker was marred by controversy and he was stripped of a committee position at one point. He ran for a seat in the state senate in 2016 but lost in the Republican primary.

Klingenschmitt has a long history of anti-LGBT statements that run the gamut from conspiratorial to outlandish and harmful. He has a penchant for claiming opponents are “demon-possessed” and recently claimed that demonic spirits are using the Disney film Beauty and the Beast to recruit children into homosexuality. He also claimed that LGBT people are trying to adopt the children of heterosexuals to “recruit” them into “the homosexual lifestyle” and that LGBT people have something “nonhuman” and “demonic” in them. In May 2017, he expressed outrage that the Air Force Academy chapel in Colorado Springs is closing for four years for repairs, and he blamed it on the nomination of a lesbian, Col. Kristin Goodwin, as Commandant of Cadets at the Academy.

Restored Hope Network

The “ex-gay” group Restored Hope Network held its annual conference June 16-17 in San Diego. RHN claims to be a network of over 55 Christian ministries, pastors and counselors in the United States, works to “restore hope” to those “broken by sexual and relational sin especially those impacted by homosexuality.” RHN is one of the largest groups in the country that still believes people can “leave homosexuality.”

RHN launched in 2012 after splintering from ex-gay juggernaut Exodus, which shut down its North American outreach 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.

This year’s conference -- held in a state in which ex-gay therapy for minors has been illegal since 2012 – drew protests from local San Diegans, including the San Diego Coalition Against Gay Conversion. Protest organizers claimed they would maintain a presence outside the venue throughout the conference. RHN spokeswoman Anne Paulk said in a statement to NBC 7 in San Diego that, “We...respect [their] freedom to leave homosexuality as much as respecting their right to remain homosexual or transgender.”

RHN claimed on its Facebook page that the protests allowed them to share their message more broadly than would have been possible.

Paulk was married to former ex-gay activist John Paulk, who became the poster-child for ex-gay therapy in the late 1990s. The Paulks divorced in 2013 and John Paulk is now living as an out gay man.

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*

The World Congress of Families* will be hosting its Caribbean regional conference June 29-30, in St. John’s, Antigua. According to an email sent out by WCF, the theme is, “Building Strong Caribbean Families” and it will take place at The Perry Bay Convention Hall in St. John's. Previous Caribbean regional conferences have been held in Trinidad and Barbados.

Guest speakers at the St. John’s event include Sharon Slater, director of Family Watch International*; Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Minister of External Affairs, Government of St. Lucia; Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family; Don Feder, WCF regional conference coordinator; Philippa Davies, Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society; Godfrey St. Bernard, University of the West Indies; and Rebekah Ali-Gouveia, WCF Caribbean coordinator. Sean Bird of the Christian Coalition for a Healthy Society, Antigua, is listed as the conference organizer.

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, of which Davies is a part, works to ensure the continued criminalization of homosexual sex. Jamaica currently criminalizes it under British colonial “buggery laws.” Davies stated in 2016 that, “Keeping the law in place means that children will not be taught that perverted sexual behavior is acceptable. It also facilitates keeping marriage under the right definition, and if the buggery law is removed, then the doors for same-sex marriage will be open.”

Slater has been doing anti-LGBT and anti-choice activism at the U.N. and in Africa for years. In her book, Stand for the Family, Slater links homosexuality to pedophilia, claims that LGBT people “recruit” children and claims that homosexuality can be “successfully treated.” Resource materials on the FWI website claim that “children raised in same-sex households have serious problems.”

Glenn Stanton is a staunch opponent of marriage equality and once misrepresented the work of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in an attempt to buttress his claims that human families function best with a heterosexual union between one cisgender man and one cisgender woman. His statement earned him and Focus on the Family a strong rebuke from the AAA. He has also called homosexuality “a particularly evil lie of Satan.”

In addition to Don Feder’s role at WCF, he sits on the board of advisors of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform*, which was founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Feder has a long history working against LGBT equality.

He also has argued against adding Harriet Tubman to the $20 bill because “American history was made by white males, who were overwhelmingly Christian,” and he has called for “Islam control.”

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