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Roundup of anti-LGBT activities 12/13/18

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.

News Roundup

The Albany Times Union reported Nov. 12 that Albany Episcopal diocese Bishop Rev. William H. Love issued an edict Nov. 10 that bans same-sex couples from marrying in the diocese’s church.

Love wrote in a statement that “the Episcopal Church and Western Society have been hijacked by the ‘Gay Rights Agenda’” and that “Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church and is trying to use the Church to hurt and destroy the very ones we love and care about by deceiving the leadership of the Church into creating ways for our gay and lesbians [sic] brothers and sister [sic] to embrace their sexual desires rather than to repent and seek God’s love and healing grace.”

The Bishop’s directive comes three weeks before a new resolution in the Church, Resolution B012, goes into effect Dec. 2 allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in Episcopal churches nationwide.

Some parishioners gathered on the church steps of St. Andrew’s in Albany while the letter was being read and ceremonially burned it, the Times Union reported.

According to the Rev. Susan Russell, an activist for a more inclusive church based in the Los Angeles diocese, Love is the only U.S. bishop refusing to comply with the resolution.

NewNowNext.com reported Nov. 10 that a New York man was arrested after he allegedly stole six LGBTQ Pride flags from a Long Island church on six separate occasions, with the last theft occurring Nov. 6.

Ronald Tyler Witt, 21, was charged with six counts of petit larceny as a hate crime. The first flag was stolen July 29 from the front lawn of the Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ. Pastor Ray Banguolo posted a sign in August that pleaded with the perpetrator to talk with the congregation, and noted that the person was welcome in the congregation, too.

Following the fourth theft, the Suffolk County police Hate Crime Unit set up surveillance cameras at the scene.

Witt’s defense attorney argued that the thefts were pranks, but prosecutors say Witt reportedly told police that he “didn’t want to see a gay flag on a church.” Witt will have supervised release and must wear a GPS monitoring device because of a probationary issue on a separate case.

Newsweek reported Nov. 11 that Kim Davis, former clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, may be considering pursuing Christian ministry after losing her bid for re-election. According to Newsweek, Mathew “Mat” Staver, head of Liberty Counsel*, said in a radio interview on the Christian show “Crosstalk” that “I think what she’s going to do and where she’s been wanting to go, is into some form of ministry.”

Davis garnered national media attention when she refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples following legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015 through a Supreme Court ruling. She stopped issuing all marriage licenses and was sued in July 2015 because of her religious objections to that ruling. She was represented by Liberty Counsel.

Davis spent five days in jail for contempt of court in 2015. As a condition of her release, she was ordered not to interfere with same-sex marriage licenses. In October 2017, a judge ruled that the state of Kentucky owes about $225,000 in legal fees to couples who sued her.

Newsweek also reported Nov. 27 that Houston’s “Pride Wall” had been defaced with anti-LGBT statements and is thus being taken down.

The popular “Be Visible” Pride Wall outside a Houston noodle shop was defaced with a black “X” and the words “Stop your gay agenda please!” Surveillance video captured by a neighbor’s camera showed one lone vandal defacing the wall.

The owner of the noodle shop posted a statement to the restaurant’s Facebook page that the Pride Wall will be painted over, saying that, “I have now been limited to what I am allowed to put up because I do not own the building.” The owner continued, “My support for the LGBTQIA+ community has not changed and is stronger than ever. With the hate speech that was spread over the affirming and uplighting [sic] mural it is a reminder to continue to be visible.” The owner vowed to continue working with another organization to bring visibility, representation and humanization of the LGBTQIA+ community forward.

Houston police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Tech.co reported Nov. 9 on how American-based social media companies have helped provide a platform for Tanzania’s anti-LGBT vigilantes.

Earlier that week, Paul Makonda, regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, said in an interview posted to YouTube (which is owned by Google), “These homosexuals boast on social networks” and called on the Tanzanian people to “Give me their names. … My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.” He claimed the surveillance team would consist of 17 members and include “state officials from the Tanzania Communications Authority, the police and media practitioners.”

The Guardian reported that vigilante groups are “raiding houses” and that it is effectively “open season on gay people” as hundreds went into hiding.

Tech.co stated that “so far, there has been no comment from Google” or any statement from Facebook or Instagram, both sites previously mentioned by Makonda for facilitating homosexuality in the country. According to Tech.co, Facebook controls nearly 64 percent of the Tanzanian social media market.

Makonda and his statements have received strong condemnation from governments — including that of Tanzania — NGOs and the press, but his response, according to Tech.co, is, “I prefer to anger those countries than God.”

The Seattle Times reported Nov. 15 that the Washington state supreme court is taking another look at a case that the justices ruled unanimously against two years ago.

The case concerns a flower shop whose owner, Barronelle Stutzman, refused to design arrangements for a same-sex wedding. The state supreme court ruled unanimously in 2016 that she had violated the law.

The Washington supreme court is taking another look at the case in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, in which it found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had discriminated against a baker’s religious beliefs when it investigated a complaint against him after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The U.S. Supreme Court had refused to hear the flower shop case in June, and instead returned it to the state just after its ruling in the Colorado case, and ordered the state courts to take a new look at the florist’s case. In the Masterpiece ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court did not decide whether businesses have a right to deny service to LGBT people on the basis of religious beliefs.

The Washington supreme court could hear arguments as early as its winter term, which is January–March 2019.

Stutzman is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom* (ADF).

ABC News reported Nov. 25 that a 16-year-old was arrested for phoning in threats to gay bars in Boston.

The teen allegedly threatened dbar and Alley Bar. The owner of dbar told police that someone called the bar the evening of Nov. 23 and threatened to “shoot the place up.” The Alley Bar got a similar call that night, in which the caller asked for directions to the bar then, during the course of the conversation, made a threat.

According to ABC News, the call came from a landline in Peabody, a community about 30 minutes away from Boston, and the alleged caller was “easily identified.” The teen who was arrested is from New Hampshire and was arrested there Friday night.

He has several outstanding warrants in juvenile court in Suffolk County, Massachusetts for threats with serious public alarm and civil rights violations as well as additional warrants stemming from other charges in other counties.

The Arizona Republic reported Nov. 20 that the Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case filed by Christian wedding-invitation designers who are challenging a Phoenix antidiscrimination law that includes LGBT people. The women behind Brush & Nib Studio believe that designing invitations or other custom artwork for LGBT couples would be equivalent to endorsing their marriages.

ADF is representing the two women, who sued Phoenix in 2016, even though they have had no complaints filed against them for violating the antidiscrimination law. In June, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision upholding the Phoenix law, which requires businesses to serve LGBT individuals.

The newspaper noted that the high court’s agreement to hear the case is significant, because it doesn’t have to take every appeal. Oral arguments will likely be held sometime next year.

The Washington Post reported Nov. 23 that the Department of Justice has petitioned the Supreme Court to bypass the usual legal procedures and to take on President Trump’s decision to ban trans people from serving in the military.

Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco asked the justices to consolidate the challenges to the ban and rule on the issue in its current term. Challenges to the ban have so far been successful in lower courts, including federal courts. “The decisions imposing those injunctions are wrong, and they warrant this Court’s immediate review,” Francisco wrote in the petition.

The U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear an appeal of a district judge’s ruling about the ban in a case filed in Washington, D.C. In that ruling, as The Washington Post reported, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote, “There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all.”

Bloomberg Law noted that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request takes an unusual route of asking the high court to review a district court ruling before obtaining a decision on it from the appeals court, which is slated to hear arguments Dec. 10.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider during its Nov. 30 conference whether to grant review in a separate case that asks whether transgender discrimination violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on sex discrimination in employment.

That case, which deals with a funeral home that fired one of its employees who announced her transition from male to female — is being supported by DOJ. ADF is representing the funeral home.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco also has ties to ADF. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Francisco was a private attorney with the firm Jones Day, where he provided pro bono legal services to ADF, according to Rewire.News, which noted that ADF had listed Francisco as an “allied attorney,” a designation ADF claimed was “a mistake,” according to Democracy Forward. ADF has listed Francisco as co-counsel in 2016 in a case dealing with the display of the Ten Commandments in a Maryland courthouse.

In April, Democracy Forward filed suit against the Trump administration after it failed to disclose records relating to Francisco’s potential ties to ADF.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a report Nov. 20 —Transgender Day of Remembrance — to call attention to the epidemic of violence against trans people. The report, “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018,” is available for download on the HRC website.

The report notes that since 2013, at least 128 transgender people have been killed in the U.S. Across the United States, “anti-transgender stigma and systemic discrimination heighten the vulnerability of transgender people from an early age” and for “transgender women of color, who comprise the vast majority of the victims, these challenges are further exacerbated by and intertwined with racism and sexism.”

Headline Roundup

Right Wing Watch: Anti-LGBTQ Pastor Heads to Congress

PinkNews.uk.com: Far-right video game encourages homophobic mass shootings

PinkNews.uk.com: Imagine Dragons singer trolled by anti-LGBT parents for ‘making kids gay’”

Friendly Atheist: Anti-Gay Canadian Lawyer Compares Rainbow Flag to Nazi Symbol”

Politico.com: House conservatives protest LGBT protection in Mexico-Canada trade deal

The Advocate: Times Square ‘No Gays Allowed’ Billboard Takes Aim at Anti-LGBTQ Group

Washington Post: 2018 Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal brings new energy — and anti-gay activists — into the survivors’ movement”

Media Matters: Fox News marks Transgender Day of Remembrance by airing two anti-trans segments

From the Groups

Alliance Defending Freedom*

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is suing an Ohio college on behalf of a professor who refuses to use a transgender student’s preferred pronouns and accompanying title.

Philosophy professor Nichols Meriwether, who is also an evangelical Christian, filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 5 against officials at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. Meriwether contends that officials violated his constitutional rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his religious convictions, according to NBCnews.com.

The lawsuit alleges that in January 2018 a “male student demanded that Dr. Meriwether address him as a woman because he identified as such and threatened to have Dr. Meriwether fired if he declined.” Acceding to the demands, the lawsuit continued, “would have required Dr. Meriwether to communicate views regarding gender identity that he does not hold, that he does not wish to communicate, and that would contradict (and force him to violate) his sincerely held Christian beliefs.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the student asked Meriwether after a class in January to use female gender terminology to refer to her. Meriwether, who says he always refers to students using “sir,” “ma’am,” “mister” or “miss” to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and seriousness, refused. The lawsuit claims that the student “circled him threateningly” and compared his refusal to calling someone a “cunt”. After the conversation, Meriwether said he would refer to the student by her last name but reported the incident to the university.

The student filed a complaint with the university and Meriwether was informally warned about using the student’s preferred gender terminology. He asked for clarification about the university’s antidiscrimination policy, which includes gender identity. The student complained again, claiming that Meriwether addressed her by her last name, but used “mister.” Meriwether claimed it was accidental.

Meriwether has claimed that throughout the grievance process, his constitutional rights were being violated in numerous communications with school officials. He was quoted as writing,

I am a Christian. As such, it is my sincerely held religious belief, based on the Bible’s teachings, that God created human beings as either male or female, that this gender is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed.

In the lawsuit, ADF consistently misgenders the trans student, referring to her as male, and to the university as “self-appointed grammar police.”

Misgendering can have negative consequences for a trans person’s self-confidence and overall mental health. It can also put someone in danger through outing. Deliberately misgendering someone can be a tactic for harassment and bullying.

ADF, which deliberately misgenders trans and gender-nonconforming people, has a long history of working to further marginalize LGBT peoplefrom public life, including schools, and to encourage the right to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of so-called “religious liberty.”

Americans for Truth about Homosexuality*

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), posted Nov. 20 on the AFTAH website that Facebook had unpublished the AFTAH page over the weekend, claiming AFTAH had used hate speech in violation of its community standards.

LaBarbera stated that “leftist social media censorship is accelerating” and then claimed that its posts triggered “these progressive-leftie snowflakes.” He used the opportunity to drum up money for AFTAH, by posting a link to its donation page to “Fight Leftist Censorship; donate securely to AFTAH online”.

In September, LaBarbera claimed on the AFTAH website that Facebook had “punished” AFTAH by preventing its posts for 30 days because, he claimed, he had criticized the “Chicago homosexual perversion-fest International Mr. Leather” event.

This second suspension came as a result, LaBarbera claims, of a 2016 post criticizing surgery for trans people, referring to it as “ ‘transgender’ insanity” (square quotes around transgender are LaBarbera’s).

LaBarbera claimed in a Nov. 26 update to a Nov. 25 post on the AFTAH site that his appeal with regard to the latest suspension was denied and the AFTAH Facebook page remains suspended for 30 days.

LaBarbera has a long history of denigrating LGBT people. He’s informally known in some LGBT circles as “Porno Pete” for his penchant for attending fetish fairs and Pride events to “document” the worst things he sees there in order to further smear LGBT people and buttress his arguments that they’re dangerous to children and society.

He has repeatedly linked homosexuality to pedophilia and pederasty (see here, here, here and here, for example) and, in 2013, went to Jamaica to an anti-LGBT conference where he urged attendees to keep the country’s “anti-buggery” laws, which criminalize homosexuality.

Family Research Council*

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC) announced Nov. 9 via email the organization’s first ever “D.C. Christian Heritage Tour and Summit,” scheduled for March 28–31, 2019.

According to the email, Perkins will be joined by FRC’s executive vice president, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jerry Boykin and former congresswoman Michele Bachmann, “as well as other national leaders.” Pending approval, the email goes on, “we’ll also have a White House briefing.”

The tour will include visits to and a dinner at the Museum of the Bible; a “private spiritual heritage tour of the Capitol”; dinner on Capitol Hill and a monuments tour, “rediscovering the biblical foundations on which this nation was built.”

Accommodations, the email notes, will be “the beautiful five-star Trump International Hotel.”

FRC has partnered with Inspiration Cruises for the tour.

FRC also hosts panels and discussions. On Jan. 22, Ruth Institute* (RI) president Jennifer Roback Morse will be joining the FRC Speaker Series in Washington, D.C. to talk about her latest book, The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives.

The FRC website claims, “With courage, compassion, and an unswerving dedication to the truth, Roback Morse shows why we must fight the three interlocking ideologies that make up the Sexual Revolution.” Those include, according to the site, “Contraceptive ideology,” which separates sex from childbearing; “Divorce ideology,” which separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and “Gender ideology,” which, according to FRC and Morse, eliminates “all distinctions between men and women except those that individuals explicitly embrace.”

“Gender ideology” is a right-wing conspiracy theory with roots in the Vatican in the 1990s that is presented as an LGBT- and feminist-led movement working to upend the so-called “traditional family” and the “natural order” of society. It’s a catchall phrase to sell false narratives and justify discrimination against women and LGBT people. Currently, it is being used in anti-trans narratives and campaigns.

Under Morse, the RI has claimed that children whose parents had a same-sex relationship are at elevated risk for emotional problems, learning disabilities, difficulty trusting others and identifying as something other than exclusively heterosexual. Roback Morse has also supported an anti-LGBT book produced by MassResistance*, which links homosexuality to violence, promiscuity and disease.

The RI has brought on anti-LGBT pseudoscience promulgator Paul Sullins, who, using the RI platform, has released a report and is claiming that the high rate of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church is a result of homosexual priests.

Tony Perkins hosts a weekday radio show, “Washington Watch.” Guests from Oct 30–Dec. 5 included:

  • Frank Gaffney (president, Center for Security Policy)
  • Brandon Tatum (director of urban engagement, Turning Point USA)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)
  • John McLaughlin (GOP strategist and pollster)
  • David Curry (president and CEO, Open Doors USA)
  • Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.; Brat was later unseated in the Nov. 6 elections)
  • Tom Fitton (president, Judicial Watch)
  • Derrick Hollie (president, Reaching America)
  • Deroy Murdock (Fox News contributor)
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)
  • Scott Rasmussen (editor-at-large, Ballotpedia)
  • Terry Jeffrey (editor-in-chief, CNS News)
  • Travis Barnham (senior counsel, ADF*)
  • Rep.-elect Mark Harris (R-N.C.)
  • Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)
  • Michele Bachmann (former congresswoman, R-Minn.)
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.)
  • John Stemberger (president, Florida Family Policy Council)
  • Brian Kilmeade (Fox and Friends co-anchor)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.)
  • Mike Berry (director of military affairs, First Liberty Institute)
  • Texas attorney general Ken Paxton
  • Kansas state rep. Susan Humphries (R, district 99)
  • Tim Graham (NewsBusters and Media Research Center)
  • Eugene Volokh (law professor, UCLA School of Law)
  • Carter Conlon (senior pastor, Times Square Church, New York)
  • Elizabeth Johnston (“Activist Mommy”)
  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas)
  • Art Del Cuenco (vice president, National Border Patrol Council)
  • Keisha Russell (associate counsel, First Liberty)
  • Sophia Witt (director, Israel Outreach, Turning Point USA)
  • Chuck Holton (NRATV war correspondent and author)
  • Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin (American Bible Society)
  • Pat Fagan (Love and Fidelity Network)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)
  • Carol Swain (professor emerita, Vanderbilt)
  • Alveda King (director, Civil Rights for the Unborn; outreach, Priest for Life)
  • Bill Federer (president, Amerisearch)
  • Tim Haas (manager of US Disaster Response, Samaritan’s Purse)
  • Allison Maxon (COO, National Center on Adoption and Pregnancy
  • Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.)
  • Ken Klukowski (senior counsel, First Liberty Institute)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
  • AR state senator Jason Rapert (R-35)
  • Dan Gainor (vice president, business and culture, Media Research Center)
  • Corey Lewandowski (former campaign manager, President Trump)
  • David Bossie (author)
  • Sam Brownback (Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
  • Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)
  • Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)
  • Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.)
  • Todd Starnes (Fox News)
  • Bill Bennett (author and former Secretary of Education)

Mission: America*

Linda Harvey, president of Mission: America, took to right-wing anti-LGBT and conspiracy-mongering WND and the virulently anti-LGBT and anti-choice Lifesite News Nov. 22 to decry the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which, for the first time ever, had a same-sex kiss during one of the numerous showcased acts.

The kiss occurred during the celebration of the new Broadway comedy musical, “The Prom.” Actresses Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla shared a kiss during the parade.

Harvey (one of several anti-LGBT reactions to the kiss), claimed in her column:

On Thanksgiving morning at 9:00 am, we turned on the TV, eager to see the Ohio State marching band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The famous all-brass stars of Big 10 football games were scheduled to be the leading band in the heartwarming procession down Central Park West to 34th Street. But of course, we weren’t allowed to enjoy this moment before the incessant homosexual agenda was thrust into America’s face.

She went on to claim that the Parade was being “co-opted by whitewashed depravity” and further claimed that the “[homosexual] agenda is like an airborne infection that’s suddenly everywhere.”

From “LGBT” affirming youth groups, to “gay”-affirming anti-bullying school lessons, to rainbow “pride” apparel sold at Target and Walmart during the spring and summer, to the obligatory pro-homosexual article in the daily newspaper, to disturbed transvestites reading to preschoolers in libraries. It seems to be critically important to stick it to our children, all in the name of phony “tolerance” and “acceptance,” embracing sins leading to personal disaster, societal destruction and spiritual death.

Further on, she claims she is “grieved for America and all the lost people, especially the young” and she mourns for the “simple sweetness of mom/dad families and uncomplicated friendships, of holidays that cultivated wholesome childhood unmarred by the shadow of hateful, sexual fascism.”

She then exhorts people to contact NBC and Macy’s, and to not shop at Macy’s this Christmas season.

Harvey, for her part, has been demonizing LGBT people for years. She has claimed that “the gay agenda” has led to suicides of LGBT youth; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and referred to it as “unnatural” and claimed that LGBT soldiers are “effeminate,” asking, “Does anyone really believe that a prancing drill sergeant won’t detract from readiness?”

World Congress of Families*/International Organization for the Family*

The World Congress of Families (WCF) has announced registration is now open for its upcoming gathering in Verona, Italy, which is slated for March 29–31, 2019, just over six months since its twelfth annual gathering in Moldova.

The Verona gathering’s theme is “The Wind of Change: Europe and the Global Pro-Family Movement” and is occurring, according to the website of the International Organization for the Family’s (IOF; WCF’s parent) website that Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and “other national and local Italian officials,” invited them.

Salvini, of Lega (formerly Lega Norde), is also Italy’s interior minister, which is responsible for policing and national security and immigration policies. Known for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and racist statements — including a threat to bulldoze a Roma camp — he is also focused on further extending nationalism across Europe and has adopted slogans from the neo-fascist CasaPound movement, like “Italy First” and “Italy for the Italians.”

WCF’s courting of the hard-right nationalist Salvini follows its trajectory of the past few years, in which it has made increasing overtures to other right-wing nationalist leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Moldova’s Igor Dodon. WCF also maintains close ties to Russia.

Under Brian Brown, WCF has also begun mimicking nationalists around the world by using anti-Soros rhetoric, as in a Sept. 27 post on the IOF website, titled “Soros-funded forces are losing the fight!” Brown went on in the post to claim that:

At IOF, we have a small fraction of the budget that Soros’ NGO cronies have at their disposal. But we have the truth on our side: and with the funding we receive from ordinary men and women like you, we do great work opposing this radical leftist agenda across the globe. I’ve formed relationships with key government leaders in Europe – in Hungary, IN Moldova, in Poland, in Italy, and elsewhere – and we are working through these relationship to ensure pernicious forces from outside Europe lose in their bid to make traditional, faith-filled societies into outposts of the radical liberal ideology espoused by coastal elites here in the united States.

The post featured an image of liberal Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros superimposed on a map of Romania in the colors of the Romanian flag. Soros and the conspiracy theories against him are often used as antisemitic dog whistles among right-wing nationalists, linking him to a “Jewish cabal” or “plot” working to undermine others.

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