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Anti-LGBT roundup of events and activities: 07/03/18

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 (ADF) filed an appeal June 26 with the 11th Circuit of the U.S. District Court of Appeals in a 2016 lawsuit in which the group sued Georgia Gwinnett College over its campus speech guidelines. The lawsuit was originally filed because a student said a college official told him he couldn’t distribute pamphlets about his Christian faith where he was standing on the campus. ADF sued the school on free speech grounds on behalf of the student.

Last month, a U.S. district court judge ruled in favor of the college’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that the college had resolved the main issues in the case by revising its policy with regard to how and where groups and students can speak on the campus. ADF filed the appeal because it claims their client’s constitutional rights have not been vindicated, and that college officials “repeatedly censored” the student.

June 15, ADF legal counsel Travis Barnham addressed the Turning Point USA (TPUSA) Women’s Leadership Conference in Dallas and compared leftists to Nazis and communists, saying that in Winston Churchill’s day,

"He observed that they [Nazis and communists] are the same thing spelled in different ways. Today, we could add radical leftists to that list, as they share the same philosophies and authoritarian tendencies, though thankfully not the same murderous tactics. Again borrowing from Churchill, like the communists and Nazis, radical leftists tolerate no opinion but their own. Like the communists and Nazis, they feed on hatred. Like the communists and Nazis, they must seek from time to time and always at shorter intervals, a new target, a new prize, a new victim."

TPUSA officials have been linked to racist statements and white nationalists, and Juan Pablo Andrade, an attendee at a Florida TPUSA conference (who had served as a TPUSA field director in 2015) was caught on camera during that event saying, “the only thing the Nazis didn’t get right is they didn’t keep fucking going!” Andrade made the remarks to a white nationalist activist in a hotel room for which TPUSA paid.

American Family Association*

Michael F. Haverluck, a contributor at OneNewsNow, the American Family News Network website run by the American Family Association (AFA), wrote an article posted June 20 lamenting the change of an elementary school’s name from that of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart to Barack Obama.

In language reminiscent of early 20th-century pro-Confederate “Lost Cause” narratives, Haverluck speaks of the Confederacy as something being forever lost, much to the country’s detriment.

Under a subheading that read “Forgetting the past,” Haverluck stated, “J.E.B. Stuart…whose name will soon be all but forgotten at the elementary school, served in the Confederate Army as a general in Virginia and was close to one of the civil War’s most celebrated heroes.”

Further on, under the subheading “Tearing Down Richmond’s Past?”, Haverluck continues, “The significance of Richmond’s school board voting to replace the name of a Civil War cavalry general with Obama’s could be ushering in the floodgates to wash away the city’s Confederate past.”

Haverluck concludes:

"Conservative critics fear that schools adopting Obama's name to replace Confederate generals opens the door to indoctrination up to the former president's politically correct, anti-white social justice worldview, as well as ushering in his ultra-leftist agenda promoting abortion, LGBTQ 'rights,' immigration reform, climate change, gun control, pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli perspective, and anti-'Islamophobia' campaigns."

Haverluck has also been a contributor at the Illinois Family Institute* and conspiracy-ridden WND. Other articles he has written include one in which he attempts to link Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood (a popular anti-Muslim conspiracy theory) and another posted at the virulently anti-Muslim site SaveMySweden, about the refugee crisis in 2016 with regard to Switzerland.

In that piece, under the subheading “European Refugee Invasion,” Haverluck wrote, “Switzerland is not alone in its bombardment of Muslim refugees milking the system and infiltrating its neighborhoods.” He went on to write about Germany and claimed, “Many Muslim migrants have actively set out to exploit the liberal immigration policies set forth by the European Union.” The SaveMySweden site includes pages with such titles as “Muslims rape,” “Muslims terror,” and “Swedestan.”

AFA’s Bryan Fischer has made similar statements, claiming over the years that Muslims don’t have First Amendment rights and he has called for banning Muslims from the country because “Islam is the Ebola virus of culture.”

Family Research Council*

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hosts a daily radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests from June 12-June 27 have included Dennis Prager (founder, PragerU); Dan Gainor (Media Research Center); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA); Chris Wilson (CEO, WPA Intelligence); Jack Hibbs (Pastor, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills); Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ); Jack Graham (pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX); Jeremy Roberts (pastor, Brushy Creek Baptist Church, Taylors, SC); Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS); Ken Canfield (founder, National Center of Fathering); Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA); Robert Gagnon (former Pittsburgh Theological Seminary associate professor); Richard Mack (Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association); Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ); Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Lori Baker (professor of forensics, Baylor University); Frank Gaffney ( Center for Security Policy*); David and Jason Benham (the Benham brothers); Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); Ken Cuccinelli (president, Senate Conservatives Fund); Everett Piper (president, Oklahoma Wesleyan University); Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN); Ken Guinn (mayor, Ocala, FL); Albert Reyes (CEO, Buckner International); Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK); Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK); Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD); Ronnie Floyd (president, National Day of Prayer)

Liberty Counsel*

The Liberty Counsel (LC) has created a “ universal Opt-Out/Non-consent Form” for Indiana parents who don’t want their kids exposed to sex education in schools.

The form, which the Indiana affiliate of AFA (AFA-IN) discusses on its website, is a response to Indiana SB 65 (Public Law 154), “Instruction on human sexuality,” a Republican bill that was signed into law by the Indiana governor on March 21. The law requires each “school corporation” to “make available for inspection to a parent of a student instructional material used in connection with instruction on human sexuality.” The school must also provide a written request for consent.

The bill was pushed by right-wing groups, including AFA-IN. According to the AFA-IN website,

"AFA of Indiana and other pro-family groups worked to successfully pass legislation in the Indiana General Assembly giving parents better information about what is being taught to their child before it happens, in any class, if it involves certain subjects."

According to AFA-IN, Liberty Counsel sent a letter to every public school superintendent in Indiana informing them that if “parental desires are not respected,” LC will represent the parents in court to “protect their rights and their child.”

The letter includes lurid descriptions of alleged sex ed curricula, and includes a long list of things schools should alert parents about with regard to sex ed, including advertisements regarding groups, organizations or extracurricular clubs that addresses “sexual activity, sexual orientation, or gender identity whether under the guise of ‘bullying’ or other rationale.”

The letter is signed by attorney Mary E. McAlister, whose Twitter bio states that she is “Conservative Christian Wife Mother Lawyer Seeking to stop the satanic sexualization of our children and the destruction of the family.”

The opt-out form, like the form letter, targets specific organizations with regard to sex ed, all of which are groups that right-wing Christians vehemently disagree with, including Planned Parenthood, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and Advocates for Youth and National Sexuality Education Standards. The form lists the groups so that parents can opt out of having their children participate in sex ed curriculum that includes sourcing from the organizations.

The form also targets subjects parents can opt their children out of, including abortion, birth control, sexual orientation and “[t]ransgenderism or gender identity, including but not limited to gender as social construct; gender binary; gender spectrum; gender reassignment surgery, gender dysphoria, false gender pronouns, gender expression, or cross-sex hormones.”

The form finishes with LC offering “legal assistance at no charge” and to report a “violation of Indiana Public Law 154” to AFA-IN or fellow anti-LGBT Indiana group Advance America.

National Organization for Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage appears to have quietly cancelled its fifth annual anti-LGBT “March for Marriage,” which had been slated for June 23 in Washington, D.C.

In a June 27 post, the blog JoeMyGod noted that last year’s march drew about 47, including babies, and further pointed out that the march was supposed to have been four days earlier. According to the blog, NOM president Brian Brown hasn’t mentioned the 2018 March for Marriage in months, and the website for it has an expired security certificate.

However, NOM has launched a new campaign that they’re calling “&.” That is, the ampersand, with further explanation as “1ManAnd1Woman.”

In an email sent out June 26, Brown again decried the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage (June 26 is the anniversary), referring to it as “one of the most illegitimate, anti-constitutional decisions in history.” Today, however, Brown continued, “we are taking a symbolic action to continue our opposition to this illegitimate decision by launching the & campaign.”

The campaign’s logo—a big yellow ampersand on a blue background—can be downloaded to use as a profile picture on social media. ThinkProgress noted that NOM’s “&” campaign appears to be attempting to mimic the Human Rights Campaign’s iconic yellow equal sign on a blue background.

According to the NOM email,

"This campaign is a simple and straight-forward thing we can do to emphasize the core, immutable, universal nature of marriage—marriage is one man and one woman. Man AND woman. Period. Marriage brings the two halves of humanity together for their own benefit, and for the benefit of any children born of their union. Marriage cannot be redefined by any politician, judge, legislature or court."

Brown called for people to keep the ampersand up on social media, a “small but important step to show that NOM will never give up on our commitment to marriage and to restoring marriage to the law.”

Judicial, Legislative, federal

Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approves ban on conversion therapy for minors

Massachusetts H.4664, which passed the Massachusetts House June 26 by a vote of 137-14, would prohibit any state-licensed mental health professional from conducting conversion therapy on someone under the age of 18 who seeks to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Healthcare providers who advertise or perform such therapy would be subject to disciplinary action from their licensing boards, which could include losing their licenses. A therapist would still be allowed to help someone cope with issues surrounding their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Non-licensed religious counselors are not affected by the bill.

Conversion therapy (also known as ex-gay or reparative therapy) is a harmful and pseudoscientific practice that presumes LGBT people are somehow sick or abnormal and need to be “fixed.” It has been banned in 13 states.

The bill will now go to the Senate. If it passes there, it will go to the governor to sign.

Federal court denies another attempt to implement a ban on transgender troops in the military

A federal court in Seattle, Washington ruled June 15 against the Trump administration in its attempt to ban trans troops from serving openly in the U.S. military, according to Lambda Legal.

The ruling in the lawsuit, brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN and joined by the state of Washington, denied the Trump administration’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction the court had granted in December 2017, which blocked the ban’s implementation and allowed transgender people to enlist in the military beginning January 1, 2018.

The Trump administration had sought a stay ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in order to enable the Pentagon to implement the ban while it appealed the court’s April 13, 2018 ruling that affirmed the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The April 13 ruling rejected the administration’s claim that its plan to ban transgender people from serving openly passed muster. Rather, the court found that the plan was, as Lambda Legal noted, “a retread of the original ban, not a new policy, threatening the very same constitutional violations.” The court also found that the effort to ban trans people from the military “must meet the most demanding level of scrutiny because it so clearly targets transgender people,” Lambda Legal said.

The case is scheduled to go on trial April 2019.

Supreme Court sends Arlene’s Flowers case back to lower court for review

In a decision June 25, the Supreme Court sent the case of Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington back to the Washington State Supreme Court, vacating an earlier decision by that court against the florist, which was instructed to take another look at the case.

The case started in 2013, when florist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, refused to make an arrangement for a customer’s wedding. The customer, Robert Ingersoll, was marrying Curt Freed. Stutzman claimed her religious principles did not allow her to create arrangements for same-sex weddings, which had been legalized in Washington the year before.

The couple and the state both sued and won in state courts. Stutzman’s legal team — led by Alliance Defending Freedom* — appealed to the state supreme court, which unanimously ruled that Stutzman had violated a state anti-discrimination law by refusing to provide the flowers. ADF then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had put Arlene’s Flowers on hold while it decided the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which it ended up deciding on narrow grounds specific to the dispute, saying that the Colorado baker had faced religious hostility from members of the state civil rights commission that had ruled against him. That ruling was issued in early June.

Stutzman’s lawyers now have another opportunity to attempt to convince the Washington State Supreme Court to rule in her favor. If it does not, the case can again be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire

After 31 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced June 25 that he will step down. He was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Though presumed conservative, Kennedy “evolved into one of the court’s most unpredictable jurists,” according to the New York Times. He wrote some of the country’s most important decisions regarding LGBT rights that helped shift the country’s treatment of LGBT people, including the historic 2015 Obergefell decision, which granted same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. Kennedy also served as a crucial jurist in abortion rights cases, siding with more liberal justices in turning back conservative challenges to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

But Kennedy has also helped cement conservative principles in some of the most controversial rulings in American politics. He wrote the opinion in Citizens United, which gave corporations the right to make unlimited campaign contributions, and sided with conservative justices on gun rights. In 2000, Kennedy sided with the conservative justices in Bush v. Gore, which handed the presidency to George W. Bush.

With Kennedy’s retirement, anti-LGBT and anti-choice groups now have an opportunity to undermine the permanence of the liberal cases that he shaped, and roll back LGBT and reproductive rights. Kennedy’s retirement has far greater impact than the selection of conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was simply replacing another conservative, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump will most likely pick a justice from a list of 25 names posted at whitehouse.gov that was shaped by the White House counsel Donald McGahn, the conservative Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

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