Roundup of Anti-LGBT events and activities 8/23/2018

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) has filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Denver against the state of Colorado on the behalf of baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakes. The suit claims again that the state is targeting him with anti-religious bias, following directly on the heels of the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case brought by Phillips and ADF.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled narrowly in June that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) discriminated against Phillips and his Christian beliefs when it investigated a claim of anti-LGBT bias in which Phillips refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration in 2012. 

In the latest lawsuit, filed August 14, Phillips and ADF allege that the state discriminated against him when Phillips declined to make a blue and pink cake for a trans woman. The suit involves customer Autumn Scardina, who asked Phillips’s shop to make a cake with a blue exterior and pink interior that would mark her birthday and the seventh anniversary of her gender transition.

Phillips refused because the celebration was contrary to his belief that gender is “given by God,” according to his attorneys, and “not determined by perceptions or feelings,”TheNew York Times reported.

According to a complaint filed with the CCRC in July 2017, Scardina claims that a Masterpiece cake shop employee requested details about the cake and when she explained what she wanted the cake to look like and celebrate, the employee told her that they will not make the cake based on their religious beliefs. Scardina, who is an attorney, allegedly requested the employee’s name and the phone call was disconnected. She called back, got the employee’s name, and the call was disconnected again.

On June 28, the CCRC ruled that there was probable cause that Phillips had discriminated against Scardina on the basis of gender identity, which is protected under Colorado law.

The ADF lawsuit also appears to allege that Scardina deliberately targeted Phillips:

...some Colorado citizens, emboldened by the state’s prosecution of Phillips, have targeted him. On the same day that the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’s case, a Colorado lawyer called his shop and requested a cake designed with a blue exterior and pink interior, which the caller said would visually depict and celebrate a transition.

Coloradopolitics.com noted that Colorado attorney Christopher Jackson Tweeted about the lawsuit August 15, noting that the lawsuit is also asking the federal court to strike down portions of the state’s public accommodations law. He also Tweeted that the new lawsuit “is almost certainly a considered strategy to tee up the issue so that a newly minted Justice Kavanaugh can provide the 5thvote” that would ostensibly overturn the law.

Catholic Medical Association

The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) released a “study” July 28 in support of harmful ex-gay therapy in its official journal, the Linacre Quarterly.

The study, titled “Effects of Therapy on Religious Men Who Have Same-Sex Attraction,” is being promoted by groups like Liberty Counsel*. Mathew “Mat” Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, claimed on its website in an August 16 post that the study “confirms that people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity benefit significantly from professional counseling.”

The study’s title is similar to that of one of the study’s author’s 2011 Ph.D. dissertation. Paul Santero completed his dissertation, The Effects of Therapy on U.S. Men with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction, through Southern California Seminary.

Hemant Mehta at the Friendly Atheist blog notes that the study’s author biographies list Santero as a therapist at Thomas Aquinas Clinic in Encino, California, but the biographies don’t mention that the clinic was founded by the late Joseph Nicolosi, one of the foremost pushers of ex-gay therapy until his death in 2017.

The other two authors of the 2018 study include Neil Whitehead, listed in the paper, according to Mehta, as a semi-retired earth scientist based in New Zealand. Whitehead is also a longtime anti-LGBT pseudoscience promulgator who in the past was active with the editorial board of the Journal of Human Sexuality, put out by the ex-gay group National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH; now the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, or ATCSI). In a 2016 article posted at New Zealand news site stuff.co.nz, Whitehead was looking for anecdotal evidence of strange animal behavior before earthquakes and reports of so-called “earthquake light” — e.g. a strange blue glow before an earthquake.

The third author is Dolores Ballesteros, who the study lists as “a retired educational academic at Southern California Seminary.” Ballesteros appears not to have any other publications and is not listed as faculty or staff at SCS, retired or otherwise.

The Catholic Medical Association mission, according to its website, is “steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church.” In a 2010 pamphlet(still listed on its website under “position papers”), the CMA provided an FAQ on homosexuality, in which it appeared to compare being gay to having a condition or disease by posing questions like, “What are the warning signs that a child is at risk for developing SSA [same-sex attraction]?” and “Can SSA be prevented?” and “If an adolescent or adult is manifesting same-sex attractions or behaviors, what can be done?” The pamphlet also claims that “well-designed research studies have shown several psychiatric disorders to be far more prevalent in teenagers and adults with SSA.” It did not provide any information about these studies.

Family Research Council*

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hosts a weekday radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests from Aug. 1-20 included: 

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Charles McVety (president, Canada Christian College)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Diane Foley (HHS deputy assistant secretary)
  • Alveda King (director, Civil Rights for the Unborn) 
  • Linda Mintle (chair, Division of Behavioral Health, Liberty University) 
  • Kayleigh McEnany (RNC national spokesperson)
  • Eric Wallace (director, Freedom’s Journal Institute)
  • Ken Williams (pastor, Bethel Church, Redding, CA)
  • Conor Maguire (WPA senior strategist)
  • Dinesh D’Souza (author, filmmaker)
  • Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL)
  • Terry Jeffrey (editor-in-chief, CNS News)
  • Sue Trombino (president, Women Impacting the Nation)
  • Frank Gaffney (president, Center for Security Policy*)
  • Hiram Sasser (general counsel, First Liberty)
  • Kimberly Fletcher (president, HomeMakers for America, Inc.)
  • Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
  • Jason Yates (CEO, My Faith Votes)
  • Greg Laurie (pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, CA)
  • David Phillips (director, Peace-Building and Human Rights Program, Institute for Study of Human Rights, Columbia University)
  • Jack Hibbs (pastor, Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills, CA)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
  • Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback
  • Barry Clardy (pastor, Princeton Pike Church of God, Liberty Township, OH)
  • Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)
  • Carrie Severino (chief counsel and policy director, Judicial Crisis Network)
  • Ronnie Floyd (president, National Day of Prayer)
  • Ryan Mauro (director, Clarion Intelligence Network, part ofClarion Project*)
  • Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND-at-large)
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
  • Gregory Wrightstone (former president, Pennsylvania Coalition for Responsible Government)
  • Brandon Tatum (director, Urban Engagement, Turning Point USA)
  • House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • Michael Farris (president, Alliance Defending Freedom*)

Liberty Counsel*

A three-judge appeals panel denied an appeal litigated by Liberty Counsel (LC), stating that the court had no jurisdiction to remove language from a ruling in a previously dismissed federal lawsuit. The appeals court also refused to prevent a Ugandan LGBT rights group from pursuing claims against LC’s client in state court and ruled that LC’s client has to pay the LGBT rights group the cost of appeal.

Despite the loss, LC posted a statement on its website August 18 that claimed victory in the August 10 decision, stating that “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vindicated the name of Pastor Scott Lively, in an appeal Liberty Counsel filed in June 2017.”

LC and its client, virulently anti-LGBT pastor Scott Lively (leader of Abiding Truth Ministries*), had filed an appeal with regard to the 2017 dismissal of a human rights lawsuit brought against him in 2012 by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a Ugandan LGBT rights group, which alleged that Lively’s anti-LGBT work in that country had led to the persecution of LGBT people. The lawsuit was the first known Alien Tort Statute case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the organization that filed the lawsuit in federal court.

The judge in that case dismissed the lawsuit in 2017 on narrow jurisdictional ground, but suggested in the ruling that Lively had aided and abetted anti-LGBT persecution and had violated international law. In the 25-page ruling, the judge stated that Lively’s “position on LGBTI people range from the ludicrous to the abhorrent,” and that “he has tried to make gay people scapegoats for practically all of humanity’s ills.” The judge continued, “This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause.” Furthermore, the ruling allowed SMUG to pursue a lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against Lively “without prejudice.”

Despite the 2012 lawsuit’s dismissal, Lively and LC were unhappy with the ruling’s comments regarding Lively’s anti-LGBT views and appealed it in an attempt to get the language removed, claiming that the judge’s statements were “illegal and unbecoming.” Their appeal also sought to stop the ability of SMUG to pursue a claim against Lively in state court.

The three-judge appeals panel concluded August 10 that “We lack jurisdiction to entertain Lively’s importunings that we purge certain unflattering comments from the district court’s opinion” and also rejected another demand Lively made, that the appeals panel prevent SMUG from pursuing a state law claim in Massachusetts state court, should it decide to do so. 

The panel seemed irritated about having to deal with an appeal of a lawsuit that had already been dismissed. “Lively’s embarrassment in the face of the district court’s unflattering comments, without more, cannot suffice to manufacture appellate jurisdiction where none exists.”

In his most loudly bruited claim of error, Lively beseeches us to purge certain unflattering statements from the district court’s dispositive opinion…None of these statements, though, have any bearing on the analytical foundations of the dispositive order or impact the result. The statements are, therefore, dicta and, as such, they lack any binding or preclusive effect. Because they are not ‘in any sense necessary to the district court’s judgment,’ we lack jurisdiction to entertain Lively’s request that we excise them.

Furthermore, the panel’s decision continued, “It follows that a party—like Lively—who has obtained a favorable final judgment may not ‘seek review of uncongenial findings not essential to the judgment and not binding upon [him] in future litigation.”

The ruling concluded with instruction for Lively to pay SMUG for the appeal.

MassResistance*

MassResistance (MR) is commemorating 25 years in activism, according to an August 11 post on its website. As part of its anniversary, it has a new website design which “will allow us flexibility for presenting information.”

The post then provided some of its background, noting its beginnings in 1993 in Newton, Massachusetts, when MR president Brian Camenker took exception to a school sex-ed program that he describes as “graphic” and “homosexuality-laced.” Then, Camenker’s group was known as Newton Citizens for Public Education and it worked to put its own candidates on school committees.

Camenker claims credit for the Massachusetts 1996 sex ed law, when as the Parents’ Rights Coalition he and fellow activists pushed for legislation that required parental/guardian notification regarding sex ed, and allowed parents or guardians to exempt their children from it without penalty for the child. In 2005, they started a blog titled “MassResistance” which caught people’s attention, he claims, and “They realized that the culture war is really a battle againstthe dark, aggressive forces targeting our children, families, and society.” The name of the group then changed to MassResistance in 2006.

More recently, MR notes

In 2014 our first state chapter in Virginia was formed. It was followed by chapters in Maine, California, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, and several other states. Then Australia became our first international chapter, followed by Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. We’re currently talking with activists in Chile, Canada, and South Africa, as well as in other states across the U.S.

(MR’s California chapter recently acquired a white nationalist member.)

There’s also a plug for the 2017 anti-LGBT tome MR published, The Health Risks of Homosexuality, which is a litany of harmful pseudoscientific claims attempting to paint LGBT people as diseased, violent, mentally ill, promiscuous and dangerous to children.

In conclusion, the post says, “Our goal is NOT to be here 25 years from now – because the battle will be won!”

Ruth Institute*

In the wake of an August grand jury report that revealed leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute (RI), touted an RI publication in an August 16 press release that attempts to blame homosexuality for the decades of childhood sex abuse that the report revealed.

The RI publication, titled “Questions and Answers on the Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal,” is actually a Q&A with anti-LGBT priest and pseudoscience purveyor Paul Sullins, now with the RI.

The Q&A, posted on the RI website, includes Sullins’ contentions that the sex scandal is because of an “active homosexual subculture” in the church and not about abuse of children. Rather, he claims, the situation is related to homosexuality because “the current scandal involves mostly revelations about male on male sexual abuse of seminarians, where the victims are adults,” a statement that is in direct contradiction to what the grand jury report actually says and does.

The grand jury report states clearly that “Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records. …Most of the victims were boys; but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were pre-pubescent.” (emphasis in bold added)

The report also focused its attention only on children who had been abused, stating, “we do not include files involving sex between priests and adults, substance abuse, or financial wrongdoing, unless these relate directly to abuse of children,” thus further contradicting Sullins’ claim that the scandal is because of gay men in the church engaging in same-sex relationships with other adult men.

Sullins then alleged that the so-called “homosexual subculture” contributed to patterns of abuse and claimed that “same-sex abuse has victimized children, seminarians, and innocent clergy,” discounting the female victims of child sex abuse in the church and also seemingly contradicting his contention that the majority of victims were “adults.”

Events

Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity

ATCSI will be holding a “training institute” October 5-6 in Orlando, Florida. The organization operated under the name NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality until 2014, when it rebranded amidst increasing pushback to ex-gay therapy.

The keynote speaker is anti-LGBT Catholic priest and anti-LGBT pseudoscience purveyor Paul Sullins, who recently joined the Ruth Institute* (see above).

ATSCI includes an FAQ on its website that claims there are increased psychological and health risks associated with homosexual behavior, and cites the discredited Regnerus study to claim that children of “homosexual parents may be significantly more vulnerable to a number of problems than children of opposite-sex parents.”

Courage, International

Ex-gay Catholic organization Courage, International (CI) is holding its Truth & Love conference October 22-24 in Bloomfield, Connecticut. According to the conference website, Truth & Love “is an initiative of Courage and EnCourage International, an apostolate which offers support for those who experience same-sex attractions and their loved ones.”

CI works to convince “men and women who experience same-sex attraction” to “live chaste lives and to embrace their identity as sons and daughters of God.” Resources on the Truth & Love website under the heading “Health and Wellbeing” include a link to a book titled The Addictive Personality, thus apparently linking homosexuality to addiction. Another resource is by American College of Pediatricians*, which has linked homosexuality to pedophilia. Under the heading “Made for Families,” one of the resources is a book titled Made for Love, whose synopsis claims that it explains the “flawed nature of same-sex relationships.”

The CI website states that “Courage is a group of Catholics who experience same-sex attractions and who are committed to helping one another to live chaste lives marked by prayer, fellowship and mutual support.” The spirit of fellowship, the site continues, allows people to share thoughts and experiences, to “ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone.”

Texas Values

Austin, Texas-based anti-LGBT and anti-choice group Texas Values is holding its Texas Faith, Family & Freedom Forum September 7-8 in Austin. Confirmed speakers include many Texas elected officials such as Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick and state senators Lois Kolkhorst and Kelly Hancock and state representatives Matt Krause and Matt Sheehan as well as Texas Supreme Court justices Jimmy Blacklock and Eva Guzman. Other speakers include Kellie Fiedorek and Dana Hodges (ADF), Quena Gonzalez (FRC), Jonathan Keller (California Family Policy Council), Ann Hettinger (Concerned Women for America, Texas) and Kevin Roberts (Texas Public Policy Foundation).

Texas Values has run anti-trans ads in the past, and has been vocal in its support for a state “bathroom bill” that seeks to ban trans people from using public restrooms and facilities that correspond to the gender with which they identify. Like other anti-LGBT groups, Texas Values relies on harmful “bathroom predator” myths, suggesting that allowing trans people to use restrooms and facilities that correspond with their gender identities will increase sexual predation on cisgender women and girls.

The scheduled forum includes sessions titled “Why are Men in Women’s Bathrooms?” (includes ADF’s Fiedorek) and “ ‘Sexual Orientation’ and ‘Gender Identity’ in Depth.” The latter features DeAnn Stuart of the Austin Institute, which has ties to the Christian Right. Anti-LGBT sociologist Mark Regnerus is a fellow there; he is the author of a discredited study (the so-called Regnerus study) that purported to demonstrate that same-sex parents are dangerous to children.

Judicial, legislative, federal

Judge grants preliminary injunction to allow Indiana trans student to use men’s room

A U.S. district judge in Indianapolis issued a preliminary injunction August 4 that requires Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) to allow a transgender high school student who identifies as male to use male restrooms.

The 17-year-old student filed a lawsuit through the American Civil Liberties Union in February, arguing that his rights were violated under the 14thAmendment and Title IX. School officials allegedly told him to use women’s restrooms or a private bathroom connected to the nurse’s office or he would face discipline.

The injunction is in effect until there is a final ruling and an attorney for EVSC said that he will appeal the injunction.

Another court rules against Trump administration’s ban on trans troops

A U.S. court ruled August 6 that the Trump administration could not enforce an updated policy that bars certain transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. This is the second court in the country to rule against the government since the administration revealed the updated policy in March.

President Trump announced March 23 an updated policy that would restrict military service by transgender people with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria. This policy replaced an earlier ban on all trans troops.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kelley denied a request by the administration to lift an injunction she had issued against Trump’s original ban, following a ruling issued by a federal judge in April who also refused to allow the new policy to go into effect. The administration has appealed that judge’s ruling to the 9thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The administration had argued that the new policy was no longer a categorical ban, though it bars anyone who requires or has undergone gender transition. Kollar-Kotelly disagreed, and wrote in Monday’s ruling that the new policy effectively implements the original ban “by targeting proxies of transgender status, such as ‘gender dysphoria’ and ‘gender transition’ and by requiring all service members to serve ‘in their biological sex.’”

 Labor Department issues directives to protect religious exemptions

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued an enforcement directive August 10 that calls for investigators to consider recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and recent executive orders that relate to issues of religious freedom.

The directive would not directly affect a 2014 executive order issued during the Obama administration that stated government contractors couldn’t discriminate against LGBT applicants or employees, but it allows auditors with granting companies (including those with no formal religious affiliation) a religious exemption from anti-LGBT discrimination charges.

Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer at Lambda Legal, told Bloomberg Law via email that “The directives coming out of the Department of Labor today [August 10] represent the latest move by the Trump-Pence administration to turn the notion of religious liberty into a weapon of discrimination.”

ThinkProgress notes that the directive is part of a “string of agency decisions this year to focus on religious freedom,” including the August appointment of ADF-affiliated Steven Begakis as Wage and Hour Division policy advisor. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced July 30 that the Justice Department had formed a task force to implement religious liberty guidance it introduced last year while in January, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.

 

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