Anti-LGBT Roundup 11.22.2017

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

Alliance Defending Freedom*

The Alliance Defending Freedom is gearing up for its Supreme Court arguments on Dec. 5 in the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

This case will determine whether a Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, can legally discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. At issue in the case is whether the state can compel a bakery to make cakes for same-sex weddings in violation of the owner’s religious beliefs. Phillips is claiming that baking cakes is a form of free speech.

Phillips has become a cause célèbre for the Christian Right, because he refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his Christian religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined in 2013 that Phillips’ refusal to sell the gay couple a wedding cake constituted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a violation of Colorado law.

Phillips’ ADF attorneys are arguing that Phillips’ “religious liberty” and free speech rights are violated by Colorado’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Department of Justice has filed a brief in support of Phillips and will also be arguing before the court in support of his case.

Since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, religious right groups have increased their activism around religious exemption laws to legalize discrimination against LGBT people and see the appointment of anti-LGBT judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court will help them prevail.

Should ADF prevail in this case, it could have far-reaching ramifications beyond LGBT people, and may affect all who are currently protected through anti-discrimination ordinances.

According to Heather Timmons and Ephrat Livni, writing at Quartz in June, taken to its logical conclusion, “the Masterpiece precedent would give a large swathe of the economy the potential power to choose whom to serve based on religious beliefs.”

American Family Association*

The American Family Association has released its “Naughty or Nice” list of retailers. According to an email sent out Nov. 20, the AFA has “taken the top national retailers and reviewed their websites, media advertising and in-store signage in an effort to help you know which companies are Christmas-friendly.”

There are secular forces in our country that hate Christmas because the word itself is a reminder of Jesus Christ. They want to eradicate anything that reminds Americans of Christianity. That is why it is important to remind governments and companies to keep the word Christmas alive. AFA wants to keep Christ in Christmas and Christmas in America.

AFA reviewed up to nine areas to determine if a company is "Christmas-friendly." Print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store helped determine a retailer's rating. If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.

Currently on AFA’s “naughty” list are such retailers as Barnes & Noble, Staples, Best Buy, PetSmart, and Dollar General.

Family Research Council*

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is currently under fire amidst fallout from the resignation of Republican anti-LGBT Ohio state representative Wes Goodman, who was caught having sex with another man in his congressional office. Over thirty men have alleged that they were targets of sexual misconduct from the heterosexually married Goodman.

In a 2015 incident, Goodman allegedly groped an eighteen-year-old at an event held to raise money for the rising GOP star’s campaign. The event was sponsored by the secretive and powerful conservative Council for National Policy. Perkins was the CNP president, and assured the parents of the young man who Goodman allegedly groped that the situation would be “dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.”

The incident, described in emails and documents obtained by the Washington Post, were never made public, and neither did unspecified prior “similar incidents” that Perkins referred to in a letter to candidate Goodman. The correspondence demonstrates that Perkins asked Goodman to drop out of the race and suspended him from the CNP, but Goodman went on with his race and won election.

FRC Radio Roundup:

FRC president Tony Perkins does a daily radio show, Washington Watch. Guests from Nov. 1 through Nov. 21 have included Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX); Sen. James Lankford (R-OK); Gregg Roman (director, Middle East Forum); Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX); state rep. Rich Collins (R-DE); Star Parker; Eben Fowler (director of broadcast operations, Bott Radio Network); Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill; Christine MacMillan (secretary general for public engagement, World Evangelical Alliance); Jim Richards (executive director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention); Rev. Jamie Johnson (director of center of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, DHS); Joel Rosenberg (founder of the Joshua Fund); Owen Strachan (director, Center on Gospel & Culture, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary); Gordon Chang (author, Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World); Cassie Smedile (national press secretary, GOP); Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty); William Owens, Jr. (poet and author); Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA); Fox News pundit Todd Starnes; Commander (ret.) John Wells; Steve Karlan (director, North American campaigns, 40 Days For Life); Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH); Pastor Michael Youssef (Church of the Apostles); Terry Jeffrey (editor-in-chief, CNS News); Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX); Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA); Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC); Austin Ruse (director, C-Fam*); Steve Green (president, Hobby Lobby); Tim Young (Washington Examiner); Michael Farris (president, Alliance Defending Freedom*); Frank Gaffney (director, Center for Security Policy*); Ed Mullins (president, NYC Sergeants Benevolent Association); Tom Doyle (founder, Uncharted Ministries)

Ruth Institute*

Ruth Institute president Jennifer Roback Morse sent out an email Nov. 8 discussing a phrase the Institute allegedly invented called, “Refugees from the Gay Lifestyle,” to describe people “who  have in the past experienced same sex [sic] attraction or lived the gay life-style [sic].” 

Roback Morse calls this group of people “marginalized” and “underserved” as well as “brave,” and goes on to say that, “My friends who have walked away from a same sex [sic] lifestyle are among the holiest people I’ve ever known.” Roback Morse is a supporter of discredited and often harmful reparative therapy, whose goal is to make LGBT people heterosexual and cisgender or, barring that, to at least make them live a heterosexual life. If someone can’t do that, Roback Morse has argued in the past that such people should be chaste and non-sexual so as to avoid engaging in same-sex relationships.

The email includes Roback Morse’s positive thoughts about and a link to her defense of the anti-LGBT book The Health Hazards of Homosexuality, published by Mass Resistance*, which supports the criminalization of homosexuality and has linked it to pedophilia and violence.

The book itself is a litany of anti-LGBT pseudoscience not unlike that of the architect of modern anti-LGBT distortions and pseudoscience, psychologist Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute*, based in Colorado Springs. Cameron is known for such pamphlets as “Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do,” which has continued to play a role in the anti-LGBT arsenal. 

Several professional psychological and sociological organizations disassociated themselves from Cameron for his misrepresentations of legitimate research to demonize LGBT people and, at least in one instance, making up a sexual assault of a child to try to derail an LGBT rights ordinance. The American Psychological Association investigated him for ethics violations after several other psychologists complained that he had misrepresented their research. He was dropped from their membership for “lack of cooperation with the Committee on Scientific and Professional Ethics and Conduct.”

MassResistance appears to have taken on Cameron’s mantle, and like Cameron’s litany of anti-LGBT distortions about homosexuality, the MassResistance book includes similar techniques through lurid photographs, discussions of sexual practices, and distortions of legitimate research to paint LGBT people as spreaders of disease, predatory, promiscuous, violent and dangerous to public health.

One of Roback Morse’s articles supporting this book also appears under the “Reviews” section of the book’s website.

Texas Values

Texas Values is holding its Texas Faith, Family, and Freedom Gala benefit dinner Thursday Dec. 7 in Houston at the Post Oak Hotel. Individual tickets cost $150 while a so-called “Legacy Table,” which includes 10 VIP reception tickets, costs $25,000.

The keynote speaker is virulently anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim Fox News pundit Todd Starnes. Christian writer criticized Starnes in 2014, and pointed out several examples of his misrepresentation of stories, stating that “he consistently deceives and manipulates facts in order to exaggerate or fabricate incidences of Christian persecution.”

The anti-LGBT reverend Rafael Cruz (father of Senator Ted Cruz) will also be speaking. He has claimed that LGBT activists will try to legalize pedophilia, and decried former Houston mayor Annise Parker by saying that, “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor.” Parker identifies as lesbian.

Texas attorney general and former Texas legislator Ken Paxton is another listed speaker. Paxton has been a strong proponent of anti-LGBT legislation, and pushed an anti-trans bathroom bill. In 2015, Paxton was indicted by a grand jury on charges of securities fraud and failing to register with the state securities board. Paxton, who pleaded not guilty to all the allegations, was scheduled to go to trial over the least serious of the charges, but the trial has been delayed a third time. It had been scheduled for Dec. 11 but now may not take place until March.

Texas senator (R) Lois Kolkhorst is listed as a speaker. She is the sponsor of the now-notorious anti-trans bathroom initiative, the so-called “Texas Privacy Act,” which died in both the regular Texas legislative session and a special session called by Texas governor Greg Abbott.

Texas Values focuses on anti-LGBT and anti-choice policy issues in the state of Texas, and ran anti-trans ads during the 2015 campaign to repeal Houston’s anti-discrimination ordinance (which was repealed). One of Texas Values’ ads featured a cartoon trans woman depicted as a balding, muscled man wearing makeup and a sports bra in a women’s locker room.

Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, also addressed an anti-LGBT conference in Texas Nov. 17-18 sponsored by the Texas chapter of MassResistance*, a group that has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and violence. The Teens4Truth: Countering the LGBT Agenda conference included sessions directed by Jennifer Roback-Morse of the Ruth Institute* and Quentin Van Meter of the American College of Pediatricians*.

Judicial and Legislative updates

Masterpiece Cake case to be heard at SCOTUS Dec. 5 and anti-LGBT groups plan rallies and campaigns

As noted above, the Alliance Defending Freedom’s lawsuit against the state of Colorado in the matter of Masterpiece Cake Shop will be heard Dec. 5. Anti-LGBT groups are planning actions around it.

Hard right anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and anti-choice group Concerned Women for America sent out an email Nov. 20th alerting readers to a rally they’re holding at the Supreme Court building the day the case is heard:

I would like to invite you to join Concerned Women for America and other pro-religious freedom organizations at the Supreme Court for a religious freedom rally in support of Jack Phillips. Our friends at The Radiance Foundation are sponsoring this event, and people are flying in from across the United States to show their support. We do not want you to miss out on this opportunity!

The Radiance Foundation is an anti-LGBT and anti-choice group that recently co-sponsored a campaign by African-American pastors to support Jack Phillips, the baker in the lawsuit. The RF has accused Planned Parenthood of killing more black people than police and has cited anti-LGBT pseudoscience to claim that people can “leave” homosexuality and that “transgenderism” is a myth.

The anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage sent out an email Nov. 21 saying that

In six days, we will launch a major nationwide educational campaign concerning one of the most important cases ever involving the religious liberty rights of people of faith.

The email (which is also a fundraising plea), states that the group is working on a video to explain what’s at stake in this case for the Christian Right.

Anti-LGBT county clerk Kim Davis may face man she refused to grant marriage license to in upcoming election

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is up for re-election next year for a second term.

She may face David Ermold, a gay man she denied a marriage license to in 2015. Ermold told the Associated Press that he didn’t think Davis has learned anything from the experience. “I really, truly think that she feels that she is right. I really don’t think she cares at all about what civil rights are,” he said.

Davis’s lawyer Mathew “Mat” Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel*, told the AP that Davis “doesn’t have any major concerns” about her re-election.” There is, however, mounting support on Twitter for her possible opponent.

Ermold has not made an official announcement yet about whether he will run.

Helena, Montana City Commission tables a resolution to join lawsuit against anti-trans bathroom bill

The City Commission voted Nov. 20 to table a resolution for the city to join a lawsuit aimed at blocking an anti-trans ballot initiative.

The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act (I-183) is an anti-trans “bathroom bill” pushed by the anti-LGBT Montana Family Foundation that would prohibit people to use things like restrooms and locker rooms in state and local facilities in accordance with their gender identities. MFF has claimed that the bill will protect the safety of women and children, part of the debunked “bathroom predator” myth that the anti-LGBT right uses to promote anti-trans bathroom legislation.

The City Commission has expressed opposition to the measure in the past, claiming that it infringed on the city’s “independent constitutional status.” In the Nov. 20 meeting, the bill’s substance was not raised and instead the commission addressed how joining a lawsuit against the initiative could interfere with Helena’s non-discrimination ordinances.

The Commission did not comment on the bill’s substance and instead raised questions about how joining a lawsuit against it might interfere with Helena’s current non-discrimination ordinances. The ACLU is currently representing several transgender Montanans in a lawsuit against the bill and is seeking to block the proposed initiative from making it to the 2018 ballot. The city may weight whether to join the Montana League of Cities and Towns in opposition to the bill.

U.S. director of international anti-LGBT and anti-choice organization elected to city council

Republican Gregory Mertz was elected to the city council of Greensburg, Pennsylvania Nov. 7.

Mertz, who has Tea Party ties, is the U.S. director of Madrid-based CitizenGo, a right-wing virulently anti-LGBT online petition platform that is trying to expand offline with anti-LGBT and anti-choice actions. Brian Brown, president of World Congress of Families*, sits on the board of trustees.

Mertz was also on the program at the Teens4Truth: Countering the LGBT Agenda conference Nov. 17-18 sponsored by MassResistance Texas (see Texas Values above).

Mertz posted the following Tweet in 2016 when rumors circulated that Disney's Elsa character from the movie Frozen might end up with a girlfriend:

Some of the petitions CitizenGo has launched include one in opposition to the UN Postal Administration’s issuance of stamps in 2016 promoting LGBT equality and, that same year, in opposition to the UN Human Rights Council’s appointment of an independent expert to deal with protection of LGBT people from violence and discrimination.

“Stop the U.N. Enforcer of the Homosexual Agenda,” the petition is titled.

We are facing the worst international threat to the family and to the health and morals of our children in the history of the United Nations—one that will affect our nations directly, and which requires immediate action. A UN office of ombudsman for the homosexual agenda was created in June. It has already been filled by a radical homosexual rights activist. (emphasis in original)

According to the petition, the independent expert would carry out “intrusive requests and investigations” and would “lie about obligations of states under international law.”

CitizenGo started as a project of the anti-LGBT Spanish organization HazteOir, founded in 2001. Earlier this year, according to opendemocracy.net, a team of investigators in Spain traced alleged links between HazteOir and El Yunque, a mysterious secret society with alleged cells in Mexico and the U.S. mobilized to defend Catholicism and fight the forces of Satan through violence or murder.

HazteOir, helmed by Ignacio Arsuaga, garnered notoriety in February  and March with its anti-trans bus tour, which was banned in Madrid. According to BBC News, Arsuaga argued that his group has a right to protest “the laws of sexual indoctrination."