Anti-LGBT roundup of events and activities 9.13.17

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*

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)* is heavily involved in working against an anti-discrimination law in Spain that deals expressly with sexual orientation and gender identity. ADF recently called on the Spanish parliament to reject the law, saying that it would likely have “a significant and detrimental impact on citizens’ fundamental freedoms.” ADF went on to say that the bill is “the most harmful and damaging we have seen so far” in Europe.

ADF released a memo Aug. 17 regarding the Spanish bill, in which it claims that the bill is too wide in scope, infringes on freedom of expression and takes exception to an alleged overstepping of “parental rights” by allowing children 16 or older to pursue treatment and affirmation for gender dysphoria.

The proposed law, which will be discussed in the Spanish parliament this month, seeks to welcome LGBTI (I for Intersex) people as full members of Spanish society, after a history of persecution that included criminalization. The act, a law of “real equality,”

... seeks to overcome the historical invisibility and lack of recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transgender and intersex people. It attends and respects all possible identities, since the LGTBI collective is not a homogeneous whole. There are different realities and different situations. It is important to bear in mind the special vulnerability of older LGBTI persons, or persons who are migrants or asylum-seekers, those who are deprived of their liberty, those engaged in sex work, minors and adolescents, victims of multiple discrimination, such as transsexual and transgender women, or bisexual people, so far invisible. 

The law’s purpose

... is to establish and regulate the principles, measures and means to fully guarantee the right to real and effective equality of Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgenders and intersexes, as well as their descendants, through prevention, correction and elimination of all discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sexual characteristics, in the public and private sectors, at all stages of life and in any field, in particular in the civil, labor, social, health, educational, economic and cultural.

ADF has a long history of anti-LGBT activism and rhetoric as well as involvement in Europe under the aegis of “religious liberty,” which the anti-LGBT right uses to provide a framework to legalize discrimination and denial of goods and services to LGBT people.

ADF has also supported the criminalization of homosexual sex in the past, and in 2015, filed an intervention (similar to an amicus brief) in the European Court of Human Rights in support of state-sanctioned sterilization of transgender Europeans.

Alaska Family Council

The Alaska Family Council will host its annual “Religious Liberty Dinner” Sept. 15 in Anchorage. This year’s keynote speaker is Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, a nationwide organization of conservative attorneys based in Washington, D.C., that holds enormous influence over judicial nominees. The group promotes the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted using “originalism,” a doctrine that states that the basic meaning of the document was set at the time of its original creation in the 18th century.

 Leonard Leo, Federalist Society, in a Feb. 2017 appearance on C-Span.
Leonard Leo, Federalist Society, in a Feb. 2017 appearance on C-Span.

 

Leo is dedicated to building a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade, according to conservative legal activist and blogger Edward Whelan, and according to the New Yorker, Leo spoke with President Trump last year to guide his choice for the Supreme Court. Leo also played a major role in guiding President George W. Bush’s Supreme Court picks and may be responsible for a third of the current court.

For its part, the Alaska Family Council is known for its anti-LGBT and anti-choice campaigns in the state, usually through Alaska Family Action, its political arm. Most recently, the group was successful in scuttling the nomination of a trans man to the Alaska Human Rights and campaigning hard against allowing trans people to use public restrooms and other facilities in accordance with their gender identities.

Family Research Council*

The Family Research Council (FRC)* is gearing up for its annual Values Voters Summit (VVS), scheduled for Oct. 13 through 15 in Washington, D.C. The Summit is sponsored by FRC, FRC Action and a host of groups, including AFA* Action (American Family Association*) and American Values (founded by longtime anti-LGBT activist Gary Bauer). Co-sponsors include the Heritage Foundation and United in Purpose, an organization that has been backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists in an attempt to datamine and mobilize more conservative Christian voters to “change the culture,” presumably in accordance with a more Christian theocratic worldview.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is listed as a student co-sponsor. Its president, Everett Piper, is a confirmed speaker at VVS this year. He is a staunch ally of FRC and other Christian right organizations. Piper has been making the rounds on the anti-LGBT circuit over the past few years, and delivered the final keynote address at the 2015 Salt Lake City WCF gathering, in which he blasted gay rights activists and other liberals for “ideological fascism” and claimed there is a “war against Christians” in the culture. “The rainbow flag of tolerance has become the dark flag of tyranny overnight,” he claimed at another event in 2015. He has also suggested that secularists and radical Islamists are working together, aided by then-President Obama.

Other confirmed speakers include Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson; actor Kevin Sorbo; Jennifer Marshall (Heritage Foundation); Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC); anti-Muslim activists Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy*) and Brigitte Gabriel (Act! for America*); Rep. Michele Bachmann and Lt. Col. Oliver North (convicted in 1989 for abetting obstruction of Congress and destroying documents in the Iran-Contra scandal). Invited speakers include President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The schedule includes sessions such as “Islamic Supremacists: Threat to the West”; “Transgender Ideology in Public Schools: Parents Fight Back” and “Reckoning for America!” with comedian and author John Morgan. The latter session claims that the left has succeeded in using intimidation “in making wrong seem right, and turned truth into hate.” Another session, “How the Church can Influence the Nation,” is a workshop that deals with ensuring that Christian doctrine informs legislation and policy, and trains people how to do that on local levels.

In other FRC news, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany appeared on Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” radio show on September 6, hosted that day by the program’s producer, Russ Jones. The two discussed the current trial of New Jersey Democratic senator Robert Menendez, who was indicted on federal corruption charges in 2015. The conversation moved on to the end of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which was put into place to allow undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children to live, study and work legally.

FRC Radio Roundup:

FRC president Tony Perkins hosts a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests August 27 through September 8 included Texas attorney General Ken Paxton; Pastor Bill Elliff (Summit Church, North Little Rock); former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka; Pastor Steve Riggle (Grace Church, Houston); Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO); Gary LeBlanc (Mercy Chefs); Bishop E.W. Jackson; Denny Burk (Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood); Eben Fowler (Bott Radio Network); Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX); E. Calvin Beisner (Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation); Everett Piper (Oklahoma Wesleyan University); Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA); Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA); Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy*); Pastor Andy Stafford (Greenwell Springs Baptist Church); Kayleigh McEnany (spokeswoman, RNC); Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ); Kristen Waggoner (Alliance Defending Freedom*); Cabot Phillips (Campus Reform); Franklin Graham; Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH); Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD); Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL); Michelle Owens (attorney, Agee Owens Law); Peter Jones (TruthXChange)

MassResistance*

Virulently anti-LGBT group MassResistance reported in late August that it has launched a Hong Kong chapter, led by a “Catholic priest and a core group of eight veteran Hong Kong family activists.” According to the blog post, dated August 21, “There are serious concerns and fears in Hong Kong that the LGBT movement has targeted the country to force ‘gay marriage’ there, followed by the rest of their agenda in the society and schools.

MassResistance included a Cantonese version of their video “What gay marriage has done to Massachusetts,” which is based on 2008 claims (now a booklet translated into Spanish and Cantonese) that group director Brian Camenker began promoting a few years after same-sex marriage was legalized in the state. The booklet attempts to link marriage equality to all manner of things that Mass Resistance claims is bad.

Those include claims that funding for HIV and AIDS has gone up in the state — which is somehow related to same-sex marriage — and that the STD test formerly required for a marriage license was eliminated five months after same-sex marriage was legalized.

In actuality, the blood test prior to marriage requirement in Massachusetts ended because it was expensive for the general public and ineffective. It was originally implemented in 1943 amidst fears of syphilis. Since the test’s inception, it detected far fewer untreated cases of syphilis than expected — about one percent rather than the 10 percent predicted.

The booklet goes on to claim that since marriage equality was legalized in the state, “nearly every major Boston hospital has become an active supporter of the radical homosexual agenda.” Furthermore, the booklet continues, “Every year more state money goes to deal with the high incidence of homosexual domestic violence.”

Another claim is that “Groups of homosexual activists go into restaurants or bars and publicly kiss and fondle each other to test whether the establishment demonstrates sufficient ‘equality’.” The booklet takes exception to increased equality of LGBT people, and instead couches equality as oppressive to other Americans:

Same-sex “marriage” hangs over society, hammering citizens with the force of law. Once it gets a foothold, society becomes more oppressive. Unfortunately, it was imposed on the people of Massachusetts through a combination of radical, arrogant judges and pitifully cowardly politicians. The homosexual movement has used that combination to its continued advantage around the country.

MassResistance also reported on August 25 that the head of its Nigerian chapter, Dominic Idio, published a book, The Dimensions of Gay Struggle — Advocacy Project Against Gay Agenda, designed to “explain to the African reader what is happening around him and in the larger world context — and what people can do to deal with it.”

The blog post quotes Idio from the book:

My book is a personal attempt to awaken African consciousness towards resisting the fast-ravaging homosexual revolution that sets to redefine and destroy the ideals of the traditional family.

Minnesota Child Protection League (CPL)

The CPL, based in Anoka, MN, is holding its annual fundraising event September 26 in Bloomington. The event is titled “Hijacking Their Minds: How ‘safe schools’ and social emotional learning (SEL) indoctrinate our children.”

Speakers include Stella Morabito, a contributor to The Federalist and other publications such as Weekly Standard, Public Discourse, and American Thinker. Morabito also claims to be a former CIA intelligence analyst and is interested in how “gender ideology” (a right-wing conspiracy theory) is a “tool of propaganda.”

In a 2016 piece she wrote posted at the right-wing Mercatornet.org, Morabito stated that “tyranny comes disguised as ‘civil rights’” in reference to former President Obama’s directive allowing trans students access to school facilities in accordance with their gender identities.  The goal, she claimed, “is to remake humanity” and to create a “sexless society” that will stop recognizing biological ties. “Gender ideology is an effective statist tool,” she claims. “Cultural Marxists use it to corrupt language and sow confusion, especially among children.” (Cultural Marxism is another right-wing conspiracy theory and boogeyman.)

The other speaker is pediatrician Karen Effrem, who has become a staunch opponent of SEL, which, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, “is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Effrem has also been a staunch opponent of the Common Core standards, which the right has vilified for a variety of reasons, including charges that it would lead to the “indoctrination” of children into homosexuality. Effrem was also involved with the group EdWatch — later folded into Education Liberty Watch — and is now the president of the latter. During her involvement with EdWatch, she once called state programs in Minnesota that dealt with anti-discrimination in public schools “a betrayal of the public trust and an endangerment to the public health” because of alleged “teaching of homosexuality in the schools.”

Nashville Statement

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) — which included a coalition of evangelical leaders, scholars and pastors — met in late August in Nashville, Tennessee to attend the national conference of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Out of that gathering came the so-called Nashville Statement, a “Christian manifesto” regarding marriage and sexuality that received immediate lambasting on social media, including from the mayor of Nashville, for its lack of inclusion with regard to LGBT people and its stance that only heterosexuality is permissible.

The statement also acknowledges intersex people but they are likened to “eunuchs” that should embrace their biological sex “insofar as it may be known.” It further states that anyone who is LGBT is “immoral” and that it is sinful to approve of homosexuality or transgenderism.

Some of the signatories include such heavy-hitting evangelicals as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Tony Perkins of Family Research Council*; Paige Patterson, president of Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary; Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Seminary; David French of National Review; Robert Gagnon, long-time anti-LGBT theologian; Stephen Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media; Christiana Holcomb of Alliance Defending Freedom*; Paul Weber, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance (Focus on the Family’s policy arm); Michael Brown, pastor and longtime anti-LGBT activist and Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, who sits on President Trump’s evangelical advisory board.

Other faith leaders criticized the statement as bigoted and homophobic, including a group of various faith leaders in Utah, who released a statement, saying that those involved with it “do not speak for all people of faith, nor Christianity.” Christians United, which is a group of Christians who support and affirm LGBT inclusion in the church, also delivered a countermessage, stating that,

We deny that Christ rejects anyone from his loving embrace because of their sexuality or gender identity. We likewise deny that homosexuality, bisexuality, queer sexuality, trans identity, asexuality, or any other queer identity is sinful, distorted, or outside of God’s created intent.

In the Courts:

Masterpiece Cake Shop

The anti-LGBT right is gearing up for the impending Masterpiece Cake Shop case that is slated to appear before the Supreme Court. In Masterpiece Cake Shop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Right Commission, Jack Phillips is suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission over his 2012 refusal to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. Colorado bars places of public accommodation — businesses that sell to the public — from discriminating based on sexual orientation (among other designations). Phillips’ attorneys (Alliance Defending Freedom*; ADF) are arguing that Phillips’ rights to free speech and free exercise of religion were violated.

The Trump administration has thrown its support behind Phillips; the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus brief in the case, which Steve Vladeck, Supreme Court analyst at CNN and professor of law at the University of Texas noted is unusual because “It's practically unheard of for the Justice Department to argue in favor of a constitutional exemption to antidiscrimination laws — a constitutional right to discriminate. But that's exactly what this brief is doing.”

Other anti-LGBT groups have filed amicus briefs as well, including Liberty Counsel* (see here; PDF may not load in some browsers) and National Organization for Marriage (see here). Another amicus brief was filed on behalf of nineteen states, by and through Kentucky governor Matthew G. Bevin and Maine governor Paul R. Le Page.

Meanwhile, ADF filed its merits brief (PDF; may not load in some browsers) August 31, outlining the inherent rights or wrongs of the case.

 

Kessler falls flat in D.C., but the radical right marches on