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Anti-LGBT roundup of events and activities 5/25/18

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*

Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel and director of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom, testified before a joint hearing May 22 held by the Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules and the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs. The hearing addressed “challenges to free speech on college campuses” and in the web posting at whitehouse.gov, claimed that

Overall, suppression of free speech on college campuses appears to be worsening. In some situations, states and public universities have responded to free speech violations by enacting policies to eliminate the counterintuitive free-speech zones, in addition to disciplining disruptive students.

ADF is heavily engaged in the “free speech” issue on college campuses, currently largely driven by the right in attempts to battle “political correctness” on campus and universities who are “discriminating” against conservative views. (Data shows, however, that overall public support for free speech is rising over time and that people whose views are on the political right are less supportive of free speech than those on the political left.)

ADF has filed numerous lawsuits against universities and colleges in challenges to “speech zones” on campuses and other alleged violations of free speech. The organization has represented individual students as well as organizations like anti-choice group Students for Life and Turning Point USA, which attempts to funnel money into campus elections to elect right-wing student governments. Turning Point has been linked to racism, the white nationalist alt-rightand allegations of illegal campaign activity. Turning Point first came to media attention when it posted a “Professor Watchlist” where students could report professors for promoting “anti-American values” and advancing “leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The website includes full names, locations, offenses and sometimes photographs of included professors.

Family Research Council*

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council(FRC), was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) May 14 by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Perkins said in a statement that, “I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure that our government is the single biggest defender of religious freedom internationally.”

FRC has trafficked in anti-LGBT pseudoscience for years, linking homosexuality to pedophilia and, more recently, promulgating anti-trans sentiment with its support of the banning of transgender soldiers from the military.

FRC’s executive vice president Lt. Gen. (ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin is known for his anti-Muslim and anti-Islam comments over the years, including claims that “Islam is evil” and his support of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood, which anti-Muslim propagandists insist has infiltrated the highest levels of government.

Frank Gaffney, president of the anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy*, is a frequent guest of Perkins on the latter’s “Washington Watch” radio show while Brigitte Gabriel, president of the anti-Muslim Act for America*, has addressed FRC’s Values Voters Summit at least three times in the past, most recently last year (she is also confirmed for 2018).

Another appointment to the USCIRF with Perkins who has anti-LGBT ties is Gary Bauer, a former FRC president who is now the president of American Values. Bauer has also made anti-Muslim statements.

FRC president Tony Perkins hosts a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests from May 3 through May 22 included Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); John Stemberger (Trail Life USA and Florida Family Policy Council); Kellyanne Conway (counselor to the President); John Hayward (Breitbart); state representative Susan Humphries (R-KS); Jennifer Hartline (columnist, The Stream); Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX); Scott Rasmussen (editor-at-large, Ballotpedia); Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ); Stuart Schwartz (Liberty University); Carrie Severino (Judicial Crisis Network); Winfield Myers (Campus Watch, Middle East Forum); Jon Ponder (Hope for Prisoners); Richard Beasley (FBI, ret.); Avi Melamed (former Israeli intelligence); Peter Pry (formerly EMP Commission and Task Force on National and Homeland Security); Kayleigh McEnany (RNC spokeswoman); Victoria Robinson (Save the Storks); Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK); Elizabeth Schultz (Fairfax County, VA school board); Sen. James Lankford (R-OK); Lt. Col. Oliver North (NRA); state senator Greg Treat (R-OK); Chris Mitchell (Christian Broadcasting Network); Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD); John Fund (National Review, Fox News); Frank Wolf (21stCentury Wilberforce Initiative); Luke Goodrich (Becket Fund); state senator Ed Emery (R-MO); Mercedes Schlapp (White House Director of Strategic Communication); Richard Mack (Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association); Patti Garibay (American Heritage Girls); Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA); Elizabeth Johnson (Activist Mommy); Adam Andrzejewski (Open the Books); Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA); Ken Paxton (attorney general, TX); Brad Wilcox (Institute for Family Studies/AEI).

Florida Family Policy Council

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), a partner of the “Patriot Academy,” is advertising one of the Academy’s annual events that the FFPC calls “an intensive 3-day leadership program for Florida students aged 16-25 held in Tallahassee” that is slated for June 11 through 13. Participants will learn “important leadership strategies” and also a “founding fathers’ philosophy of government from a biblical worldview.” They will also develop media relations and public speaking skills, practice campaign techniques, and “be immersed in the legislative process.”

The Patriot Academy was founded by former Texas state representative Rick Green (1999-2003). The Texas Observer reported in 2016 that Green may have violated state ethics regulations by lobbying while in office for the company Metabolife, which was ultimately banned by the FDA. Texas Monthlyincluded Green as one of the 10 worst lawmakers in the state during his legislative term. 

Major sponsors of the Patriot Academy are the American Family Association* and Wallbuilders, which is run by pseudohistorian David Barton, known for his miscontexualization and incorrect interpretations of American history (Green is a co-host on Barton’s show, “Wallbuilders Live!”). 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.

The Ruth Institute*

Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute (RI), will be in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico May 25, 26 and 27 at the Asociación LAR convention. According to the RI website, Roback Morse will be delivering three talks, "Understanding the Sexual Revolution," "The Divorce Ideology and what you can do about it," and "How to protect children from the Gender Ideology."

“Gender Ideology” is a conspiracy theory manufactured by hard-right religious activists who present it as a movement led by LGBT people and feminists who, the right claims, are trying to destroy the traditional family and, ultimately, the so-called natural order of society. It’s a catchall phrase being used to peddle a false narrative and justify discrimination against LGBT people and women.

The conspiracy theory has proven effective at drumming up fear in various locations around the world, and because “gender ideology” is so misunderstood and ill-defined, it can be packaged for use in any country and was used to derail the 2016 Colombia peace referendum, which would have put an end to over 50 years of civil war. Opponents of the referendum launched a campaign that framed efforts to address gender-based violence and efforts to ensure political participation by women and LGBT people as the work of gender ideologues trying to subvert the traditional family and the country’s Christian values.

World Congress of Families*

The World Congress of Families (WCF) just wrapped up a convening in Nairobi, Kenya, in conjunction with the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum. The Family-Life Symposium (considered a WCF regional event) met May 17 and WCF’s Director of Coalitions Don Feder (speaking on “The Sexual Revolution and Demographic Winter”) was in attendance as was long-time anti-LGBT activist Sharon Slater, of Family Watch International*.

In an International Organization for the Family* newsletter (IOF is WCF’s parent group) dated May 17, IOF/WCF president Brian Brown reported that he was in Eastern Europe working on the upcoming WCF congress, which is slated for September in Moldova.

Brown was also in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the 2018 Global Home Education Conference, held May 15 through 18. IOF was a sponsor, as was Alliance Defending Freedom*.

IOF also announced in its recent newsletter that it is now accepting cryptocurrencies for donations.

Judicial, legislative, federal

CDC will roll back the data collection on health of LGBT people

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law posted a press release May 17 that stated that an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed that the agency will roll back its support for the collection of data on the health and well-being of LGBT people through the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Keith Conron, research director at the Williams Institute was quoted in the press release as saying, “The BRFSS is one of the few federally-supported data collection activities that make the needs of LGBT people known to governmental agencies responsible for the safety, health, and welfare of the public.” Essentially, Conron said, the “federal government is shirking its responsibility to LGBT Americans.”

The press release noted that the CDC official revealed the information at the conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, held in May in Denver, Colorado. The official disclosed that the BRFSS module on sexual orientation and gender identity that the CDC provides to states will no longer be included among BRFSS optional modules, beginning in 2019.

Adam Romero, director of public policy at the Williams Institute, said in the release that the CDC’s announcement appears to be part of an “alarming trend” within the federal government that seeks to limit knowledge about LGBT people, “despite the fact that these data are vital to policy making and designing evidence-based interventions to improve health and well-being.”

The BRFSS provided the first representative snapshot of transgender adult health and socioeconomic status, according to Conron, demonstrating that transgender people are indeed at a higher risk of poverty, confirming smaller studies. The BRFSS also served as the basis for Williams Institute estimates on the number of youth and adults in the U.S. who identify as transgender.

Gay challenger to anti-LGBT Kentucky court clerk defeated in primary

David Ermold, an English teacher in Kentucky, was defeated in a Democratic primary for the office of county clerk, a position currently held by Kim Davis, who garnered international notoriety for denying same-sex couples marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs following the nationwide legalization of it in 2015.

Ermold was one of several people denied a marriage license by Davis. He raised over $200,000 for his campaign, but lost in a four-candidate primary held May 22.

In the legal battles that ensued over Davis’s refusals to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she was held in contempt of court and jailed for a week, making her a right-wing celebrity. Davis was represented by the virulently anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel*.

Democrat Elwood Caudill, a 20-year employee of Rown County’s property valuation office, got 54 percent of the vote to Ermold’s 25 percent.

Mathew “Mat” Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel, claimed Ermold’s run for office was motivated by revenge and that he was a “single-issue candidate.” In an email to the Courier-Journal, Staver continued, “The people of Rowan County wan someone who will serve them as clerk, not someone whose only reason for running is spite and vengeance. David Ermold never had local support and had no clue what the clerk does on a daily basis.”

Oklahoma governor signs anti-LGBT adoption bill into law

Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed SB 1140 into law May 12, described as the nation’s first anti-LGBT law of 2018, the measure states that no adoption or foster care agency can be required to place a child in any situations that “violate the agency’s written or moral convictions or policies.”

The law does not ban same-sex adoption or foster care in the state, it effectively allows agencies to discriminate against LGBT people, single parents, and non-Christians.

The Oklahoma law is one of 120 anti-LGBT laws pending before state legislatures this year, according to the Washington Blade.

Fallin, quoted in the Blade,claims the adoption law will help place children “in a broad array of loving families and basically maintain the status quo by setting forth in statute practices which have successfully worked for the best interest of Oklahoma children.”

Fallin has a history of anti-LGBT actions. When the Obama administration ordered the U.S. military to provide spousal benefits to service members in same-sex marriages, Fallin threatened to stop processing benefits for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. She only relented when the Obama administration threatened a loss of federal funds to states withholding the benefits.

Kansas governor signs anti-LGBT adoption bill into law

Kansas governor Jeff Colyer signed SB 284 into law May 18, which makes it legal for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies — even those that receive state funding — to turn away prospective parents who pose a conflict with the agencies’ religious beliefs. Agencies can thus discriminate against prospective parents based on a host of characteristics, “such as religion, marital status, and sexual orientation or gender identity — if they find the parent or parents’ lifestyle objectionable,” according to Metro Weekly.

The Kansas law is the second anti-LGBT bill passed this year (behind Oklahoma’s), and was opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America and the North American Counsel on Adoptable Children. A group of 50 Kansas-based faith leaders also signed a letter in opposition to the bill.

Kansas is the ninth state to enact a law that allows agencies to deny placement of children over religious objections. The others are Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Oregon school district settles after two students blow the whistle on anti-LGBT bullying

Days ahead of a closed-door hearing with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the North Bend, Oregon school district settled with two former students who accused their high school of systemic anti-LGBT harassment and bullying by school staff and students.

Hailey Smith, 19, who graduated from North Bend High School last year, and her then-partner Olivia Funk, filed a complaint in 2016 with the Oregon Department of Education. They filed in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Incidents included anti-LGBT comments made by teachers in classrooms, anti-LGBT slurs made by other students against them, and, in once instance, a student hit Smith with his skateboard after yelling a racial slur. In another, the principal’s son accelerated his car toward Smith and Funk in the school parking lot and yelled “faggots” out the window before driving away.

The ODE conducted an investigation and found that other students had been harassed, too, including a transgender student who was pelted with food in school common areas and an exchange student from Spain was given a “Best Mexican” award by the swim team.

The investigators discovered that staff not only failed to stop the behavior, but also added to it. Principal Bill Lucero had students read Bible verses as punishment and a school resources officer told Funk she was going to hell for being gay.

Lucero will be assigned to another school in the district and ODE is requesting a new school resources officer.

 

 

 

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