Anti-LGBT roundup of events and activities: 11/3/17
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.
Family Research Council*
The Family Research Council (FRC)* released a statement decrying a federal judge’s decision that blocked part of President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a preliminary injunction on October 30, saying that Trump’s policy “does not appear to be supported by facts.” The injunction found that a group of transgender service members would have a strong chance of prevailing in their lawsuit against the ban, which remains in place until the lawsuit is resolved or a judge lifts it.
FRC was one of the primary groups lobbying for a transgender military ban, and announced its displeasure with the judge’s decision by calling it a usurpation of the commander-in-chief. “This is where judicial activism is leading us,” Perkins said in the statement.
The courts have moved beyond legislating on the invented rights of abortion and same-sex marriage to clearly usurping the constitutional authority of the executive branch. The president has the primary task of protecting Americans but we see the courts weakening his immigration policies designed to protect America from threats and now telling the commander-in-chief how to fun the military.
In a follow-up piece at the Daily Signal, Perkins had this to say:
As a result of her temporary injunction, the entire military will ‘revert to the status quo,’ a dangerous environment where people like Chelsea (Bradley) Manning can serve openly, women can be forced to shower with biological men, and ‘pregnant males’ can apply for maternity leave. Of course, the judge’s activism was celebrated by liberals, who don’t see the obvious problems of injecting Obama’s social engineering back into a military that the world was finally starting to take seriously again.
FRC president Tony Perkins has claimed that his group has relationships “with a number of people within the Trump administration, in various departments,” and that he had met Trump.
FRC materials have claimed that transgender people have an “underlying pathology” and that the “state of being transgendered [sic] is extremely unstable.” There is no reason, FRC says, “to affirm a distorted psychological self-concept that one’s ‘gender identity’ is different from one’s biological sex.”
FRC Radio Roundup:
FRC president Tony Perkins hosts a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests from October 16 through 30 included Jeryl Bier (journalist); Mike Berry (senior counsel, First Liberty Institute); Marilyn Musgrave (v.p. of government affairs, Susan B. Anthony List); Scott McConnell (exec. dir., Lifeway Research); guest host Everett Piper (president, Oklahoma Wesleyan University); David Curry (president, Open Doors USA); John Daniel Davidson (senior correspondent, The Federalist); Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); Charmaine Yoest (assistant secretary of public affiars, HHS); Roger Byron (senior counsel, First Liberty Institute); Bruce Bechtol (professor of political science, Angelo State University); John Solomon (executive v.p., The Hill); Stephen M. King (Regent University professor of government); Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH); Dan Forest (lt. gov., NC); Tom Fitton (pres., Judicial Watch); Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); Tim Huelskamp (pres., Heartland Institute); Jack Yoest (former asst. secretary for HHS); Nikita Vladimirov (Campus Reform); Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK); Jerry Davis (pres., College of the Ozarks); William Owens, Jr. (author and poet); Bill Hodes (former prof., Indiana University School of Law); Casey Mattox (senior counsel, ADF); Tim Graham (exec. editor, NewsBusters).
Pacific Justice Institute*
On October 28, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI)* held its “Celebration of Justice: 20 Years Defending Freedom” event, described as “a formal occasion” that included “a VIP reception (prior to the event), live auction, banquet, and awards ceremony.” Tickets cost $250 for one seat up to a premier table of table for $10,000.
The host was virulently anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, who Christian writer Alan Noble criticized in 2014, pointing out several examples of his misrepresentation of stories, and stating that “he consistently deceives and manipulates facts in order to exaggerate or fabricate incidences of Christian persecution.”
The keynote speaker was Libertarian and non-religious author and television personality Greg Gutfeld, who hosts “The Greg Gutfeld Show” on Fox News. The Guardian the show called a “comedy libertarian chatshow” when the paper recently wrote about Gutfeld seemingly manufacturing a beef with the music band Radiohead that’s been a running joke on his show for the past two weeks.
Gutfeld was editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine and later helmed UK-based Maxim. According to PJI’s description of the event’s website, when Gutfeld was a contributor at Huffington Post, he became “legendary” for his “‘inspired, lunatic ridicule of his leftwing fellow Huffers.’” Gutfeld also blogs at Breitbart.com.
PJI’s “Passing of the Torch” award went to evangelical pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship. Laurie said in 2015 that:
Homosexuality is outside of God’s order, and no amount of emotional arguments or political spin can change that precept of Scripture … As sinners, some of us are drawn to certain temptations and some are drawn to others. The fact is, some may be attracted to those of the same sex. But that doesn’t mean that a person should act on those temptations any more than a person who is tempted to steal, like, lust or murder.
PJI’s president, Brad Dacus, has a history of anti-LGBT statements, including claiming that homosexuality is more dangerous than cigarette smoking, and decreases the lifespan of boys, a junk science myth that can be tracked to anti-LGBT propagandist Paul Cameron. Dacus also claimed, in that same interview with right-wing radio host Janet Mefferd, that harmful ex-gay therapy has an 80 to 85% success rate. He has also stated that homosexuality is “dangerous and so destructive statistically to so many people who decide to engage in it.”
PJI has also engaged in anti-trans campaigns and fabrications. In 2013, the group launched a campaign called “Gender Insanity: The Next Attack on Your Family” in response to a California law that protects transgender students in schools. Dacus predicted the law would cause “many casualties,” including “mental, emotional, and psychiatric casualties.” The website for the campaign claimed that the law would create issues, including “any teenage goy who ‘identifies’ with girls must be given access to girls’ teams — including showers, bathrooms and locker rooms.”
The anti-LGBT right peddles the myth that sexual predators will somehow exploit nondiscrimination laws by pretending to be transgender.
One of the sample letters PJI provided in the Gender Insanity campaign that encouraged people to send it to their legislators included the text, “It is astounding that some legislators are so beholden to LGBT special interests that they will sacrifice our children’s safety on the altar of political correctness” and that it is absurd for any child or teenager to “impose their own gender confusion on everyone else.”
Also in 2013, PJI manufactured a story about a transgender student in Colorado harassing other female students. The story took off in right-wing media, but was demonstrated to be false — the student was not harassing other students and complaints had originated from a parent, not other students. PJI publicized the name of the trans student and in the midst of the media attention and apparent threats against her and her family, she was put on suicide watch.
PJI never officially retracted its claims that the student was harassing anyone, and instead further claimed that just the presence of the trans student in the bathroom with which she identified “was harassing.”
United Families International*
Last month, anti-LGBT hate group United Families International (UFI)* sent a team to Geneva, Switzerland, to monitor the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which meets three times a year there.
According to an October 26 email sent out by the Arizona-based UFI, one of the team members shared her thoughts, which were included in the email. The unnamed UFI member said it was two-plus weeks of meetings, and that the UFI team “heard and engaged in dialogue” regarding a diversity of subjects, including rights on water and sanitation, rights of older persons, and all the ways to report on the impact of private military and security companies on people’s rights.
“Any group with an ax to grind,” the email said, “will attempt to have their grievance aired” at some point before the Council and “the prize” is to have the concern or need labeled as a human right. The team member went on to list a few of the rights the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes; the Declaration was proclaimed in Paris in December, 1948 and is a standard of achievements for all nations and peoples. The team member went on to say that,
She then accused human rights activists of “pushing their ideology” as they move from country to country, while “traditional marriage, the natural family, and respect for life from conception to natural death are attacked as being discriminatory, repressive and harmful.”
The challenge of human rights activism, the UFI team member asserted in her conclusion, is to ensure that “the concept of ‘human rights’ is not hijacked, diluted or used to promote things that stand in opposition to the values and freedoms we hold dear.”
According to its website, UFI holds consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which gives the organization access to not only ECOSOC, but several of its subsidiary bodies and various human rights mechanisms of the UN.
In the group’s history on its website, UFI notes that as United Family Foundation (prior to 1995), the organization “actively worked to protect families in the United States from the homosexual and radical feminist movements, abortion without parental consent, federal controlled daycare, sex education issues, distribution of contraceptives to minors etc.”
UFI also issues “Guides to Family Issues” that are available on its website. One such guide deals with sexual orientation, a 36-page document that pushes discredited and harmful myths about LGBT people. The introduction claims that “tolerance toward sexual orientation requires the elevation of dangerous sexual practices to a place equal to traditional monogamous heterosexual norms.”
Other claims made are that “differing sexual orientations are not innate and immutable, but rather developmental disorders that often can be prevented or successfully treated”; that a “homosexual lifestyle” is “dangerous and an “unhealthy and harmful practice”; that denying same-sex marriage is not discriminatory, since a homosexual can marry someone of the opposite sex, like a heterosexual; that same-sex marriage “diminishes the rights of children”; that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children because they endanger children; that LGBT people are violent toward each other; that “homosexuals engage in behaviors that are destructive to themselves and to society”; and states that, “Pedophilia is widespread among the homosexual community.”
Legislative and Judicial
Anti-LGBT judge resigns
A Kentucky judge resigned in late October after the Commonwealth of Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) charged him with misconduct.
Judge Mitchell Nance of Barren County recused himself from adoption proceedings involving gay, lesbian or bisexual people leading multiple groups — including the ACLU and the Fairness Campaign — to file ethics complaints against him.
The JCC stated in its charges that the judge acted on behalf of a personal bias or prejudice, citing several canons, including one that prohibits a judge from manifesting a bias or prejudice based on sex, race, disability, religion, age or sexual orientation. The JCC gave Nance a time frame in which to respond to the charges. Instead, Nance resigned and cited his religious beliefs and convictions.
He first came to notice in April of this year, when he declined to hear a same-sex adoption case and recused himself, stating that he could not be impartial. In a court order, Nance wrote that he believed that under no circumstance would the best interests of a child be served in an adoption by a “practicing homosexual.”
Texas House Speaker who blocked anti-trans bill announces he won’t run for reelection
Joe Straus, Texas House Speaker, announced on October 25 that he will not run for reelection in 2018, though he didn’t rule out running for a higher office.
Straus, a moderate Republican, was instrumental in blocking the anti-trans Texas “bathroom bill” this year in both regular and special legislative sessions, citing harsh economic and moral costs.
Straus worked on many bipartisan issues in the state, and, according to Mark Jones, political scientist at Rice University in Houston, he will be remembered for the restraint he put on the Tea Party. “He slowed down, if not blocked, a shift to the right within Republican politics,” Jones was quoted as saying in the Texas Tribune.
Most recently, Straus clashed with harder right elements in the GOP over issues like private school vouchers and efforts to roll back property taxes. Those, plus the anti-trans “bathroom bill” were on the Texas special legislative session that Governor Greg Abbott called in July — a list of issues Straus likened to a “room full of horse manure,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Republican consultant Kelton Morgan lamented in the San Antonio Express News that Straus “has been this bulwark against the crazy. He is the one who has stood in solid defense of the Texas miracle, of Texas continuing to be the place everyone wants to come and live and work and raise a family.”
With Straus leaving the Texas legislature, expect a new onslaught of anti-LGBT legislation in the state following his departure.
Photo of NC lieutenant governor at fundraising event with leader of scandal-ridden anti-LGBT church surfaces
A photograph of North Carolina lieutenant governor Dan Forest has surfaced, showing him in a living room in July with Robin Webster, a leader of the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), located in western North Carolina. Though Webster was at Forest’s fundraiser, it’s unclear how much money, if any, WOFF has given to Forest.
WOFF has come under scrutiny over the years for allegedly abusive practices, including so-called “blasting,” which involves church members surrounding another member and screaming and/or hitting and punching them, sometimes for hours. An “Inside Edition” episode in 1995 captured some of that (video available here), and also brought up allegations of child abuse and sexual assault and a cult-like atmosphere in the church.
More recently, some 43 former church members have claimed they were regularly punched, choked, smacked and slammed against the floor and thrown through walls to “purify” them and expel demons. The former members — many raised in the church — also claim that WOFF leaders have waged a decades-long cover-up to stymie law enforcement and social services officials. Other former members claim they were brought to the U.S. from WOFF congregations in Brazil and forced to work for little or no pay.
WOFF leader Webster was among the strongest supporters of North Carolina’s draconian HB 2, which not only banned trans people from public restrooms and facilities that match their gender identities, but it also prevented municipalities from passing anti-discrimination laws and made it much harder for people to sue for employment discrimination on any basis.
HB 2 was repealed in early 2017 and replaced with another law that keeps municipalities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances until the end of 2020 and allows the General Assembly to make bathroom laws.
Forest, who is expected to run for governor in 2020, was a key supporter of HB 2, and has appeared on Tony Perkins’ radio show, Washington Watch. Perkins is president of anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council. When Forest was on the show, he peddled the anti-trans discredited myth that the bill protects women and children from predators.
DOJ will argue in support of anti-LGBT baker at Supreme Court
The U.S. solicitor general, Noel Francisco, will argue against a gay couple in the pending Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, according to a headline at the National Law Journal. Francisco filed the two-page request for ten minutes Oct. 25.
The DOJ also filed a brief in support of the anti-LGBT baker in September, in which it urged the court to rule that laws that bar businesses from refusing to serve LGBT people may violate free speech, an argument pushed by anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the baker in the case.
Current attorney general Jeff Sessions spoke at a closed-door meeting with ADF in July.
Francisco, a Trump nominee, was an attorney at the elite and secretive D.C.-based law firm Jones Day, which provides legal representation for over half of Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs and Verizon. The law firm, which provided legal counsel for Trump during his presidential campaign, hosted a 2016 gathering between then-candidate Trump and Republican lawmakers and key Republican figures. Former Jones Day partner Don McGahn became White House counsel and, according to an April Politico post, at least three Jones Day attorneys have joined McGahn there.
The National Law Journal reported in May that Jones Day lawyers in the Trump administration received a blanket waiver clearing them of ethical conflicts.
Francisco, who was confirmed as solicitor general last month was also a clerk to the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, and served in the George W. Bush administration before joining Jones Day.