Anti-gay rights groups win millions as states debate anti-LGBTQ laws

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In a culture war that has intensified today, the tide of anti-gay sentiment is flowing. Based on its annual public appearances, 11 volunteer organizations identified as LGBTQ hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center received more than $ 110 million in contributions during the year money to end in 2020.

The value of the dollar represents the most recent trend for organizations, whose donations, donations and other non-financial contributions have increased steadily since 2016, when 11 organizations reported more than $ 87 million in in such a contribution.

In just four years, their gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by more than 25 percent, with some predicting that the trend will continue until 2021. The war chest of millions of dollars has strengthened the efforts of the last few decades. appears to have lost ground in American culture for decades. fight against lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and queer rights. Far from retreating, the unions have won major battles at every level of U.S. government and community – from elementary schools to federal courts.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, based in Montgomery, Alabama, has been following the LGBTQ movement for over a decade. In 2011, the SPLC published its first series of 13 “hate groups” that propagate popular lies and science fiction to the detriment of gender and sexual minorities. Since 2020, the organization has been pursuing more than 40 organizations, many of which are involved in many issues beyond LGBTQ rights, such as abortion and Covid-related obligations. Many organizations are also churches, which are not excluded from the entry back year so they do not disclose their expenses.

Many of these groups affirm that LGBTQ people are a threat to society itself. “

Scott McCoy, Southern Poverty Law Center

Then, as at present, the loose affiliations of extremist churches, conservative legal institutions and advocacy groups include the LGBTQ movement.

“Many of those, while not confined to the church, originated in the conservative Christian world, the biblical definition of human sexuality,” said Scott McCoy, vice president. interim legal director of LGBTQ rights and special additions to the SPLC and the SPLC Labor Fund. , the organization’s political affairs committee.

But simply holding a religious ideology that views homosexuality or homophobia as a sinner does not reach the church or any organization directly in the SPLC’s hate list.

“Many of these groups say that LGBTQ people are a threat to society itself. Such bigotry and belief is part of what goes into the decision-making process,” McCoy said. He also points to organizations that condone the abuse of LGBTQ people, such as Westboro Baptist Church.

‘The hard core of the anti-gay movement’ 

'The hard core of the anti-gay movement' 

When the SPLC began tracking LGBTQ hatred in the early 2010s, the group noted that “minority groups now contain a large number of anti-gay movements.” Similar groups – many now moving in with financial resources – continue to develop anti-LGBTQ policies.

“As of today, there are probably five or six small players, shedding light on the Family Council, the liberal and the college of freedom and the college of freedom as a children’s grave.

From 2011 to 2021, the total revenue of the Family Research Council – an advocacy group based in Washington, DC, which, according to its website, believes “homosexual abuse is harmful to people who engage in it” and “it is harmful to society as a whole” – jumping from over $ 12 million to more than $ 23 million.

At the same time, contributions to the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, more than doubled, from over $ 34.5 million in 2011 to more than $ 76 million in 2021. According to its website, the organization it aims to ensure “planned-planning”. success “to ensure” the law respects God’s natural order for marriage, family, and sexuality. “

In a statement, Jeremy Tedesco, senior consultant and senior vice president of corporate affairs at Alliance Defending Freedom, reviewed the legal history and alleged that the SPLC had “damaged its credibility for partisan purposes.” “

“Alliance Defending Freedom is one of the largest and most effective advocacy groups dedicated to protecting American religious freedom and freedom of expression. Our record since 2011 includes 13 Supreme Court victories, including two victories last year and the next trial in the next term, ”Tedesco said. “Our commitment to our success lies with those who contribute to our work, and our increased contributions reflect a growing commitment to the protection of First American rights.”

Mat Staver, founder and president of Liberty Counsel, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, said the organization was “neither anti-LGBTQ nor anti-hate group” and “the list of hate groups appointed by the SPLC itself is false and They are not named. “

“We do not hate anyone and we oppose violence and language or moral abuse,” Staver said in a statement. “We believe that every human being is created in the image of God and has dignity and worth. Liberty Counsel believes that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and expression.”

The American Family Research Council and the American College of Pediatrics did not respond to requests for comment. They have previously dismissed allegations that they are hate groups.

‘Outliers’ who ‘wield a pretty big hammer’

'Outliers' who 'wield a pretty big hammer'

Significant contributions to organizations, however, do not reflect a strong hatred of the LGBTQ community in American society.

Post-poll research confirms that Americans of different political and religious backgrounds have been supportive of LGBTQ freedom for the past decade. By 2021 American Values ​​Atlas, more than two-thirds (68%) of Americans supported same-sex marriage last year, up from 47 percent a decade ago. This includes many conservative religious groups, such as Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and almost half of all Republicans.

The same study found additional public support for protection against discrimination in the workplace and accommodation for LGBTQ people. In 2021, American Values ​​Atlas reported that 79 percent of respondents supported such protection.

One group in the U.S. Atlas continues to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to LGBTQ equality: First evangelical Protestants, right-wing, right-wing elements of the real LGBTQ movement in the United States today .

“As a social science writer, I cannot tell you my own sentences that begin with the words’ with the sole Protestant evangelist,” said Robert P. Jones, President and Founder of the Center for the Study of Religious Studies. The Institute, or PRRI, the organization behind the American Atlas Value. “Either on immigration, LGBTQ issues, abortion – white evangelical Christians are increasingly moving to the center of the country, not just to the left.”

Jones, a white Christian scholar in the United States, has spent years exploring the cultural and political power of white Protestants.

“I think the biggest sign of change among evangelicals in the last decade is the domestic changes they have made,” Jones said. “They have dropped by almost three percent in the last decade. Today, they make up 14.5 percent of the population. And as they shrink, they continue to shed blood for young people. I think that is one of the reasons why they are moving away from this difficult position. “

Despite the bloodshed of the clergy, white evangelicals have managed to maintain their grip on electoral power by strengthening their Republican base. Between 2016 and 2020, the Pew Research Center found that voter support for President Trump rose from 77 percent to 84 percent. population by 2020, but 34 percent of all Trump voters.

“When you’re a third party based on a single party, you use a big hammer,” Jones said.

Without the full support of white evangelicals, the Pew Research Center notes, Trump lost to Joe Biden by more than 20 points in the last presidential election.

From the beginning of his campaign in the national arena, Trump has sought to see this as a major region. In 2016, during his first Oval Office campaign, Trump set up a so-called evangelical advisory body to help shape his political system. Among the members of the advisory group were attackers in the Christian evangelical churches, as well as the anti-LGBTQ group, including James Dobson, co-founder of the Alliance Defending Freedom co-founder and founder and former president of the radical Christian organization Focus on the Family. .

“We’ve seen this change throughout the Trump administration – and probably beyond it – that the word ‘evangelist’ has become more political than religious, that it almost certainly belongs to the white man, to the Christian faith,” he said. heard Maggie Siddiqi, executive director of religion and belief at the American Center for Development, a think tank.

It is not only Trump who has welcomed evangelical leaders at major political and political levels. In 2018, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Appointed Tony Perkins, Chairman of the Family Investigation Council, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, independent body enacted by the Religious Freedom Act. The 1998 World Cup created what it called a “sacrifice. to protect the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.” At the time, Heidi Beirich, then director of the SPLC Intelligence Service, called Perkins’ appointment “extremely disturbing.” His term in office expires in May.

Siddiqi notes that among evangelicals, there are some well-known resistance to the marriage of faith with modern American politics. For example, in 2019, the Baptist Coalition Committee for Religious Freedom launched the Christian Against Christian Nationalism campaign, which, among other principles, assumed that “combining religious power with political power is idolatrous and often leads to the oppression of minorities and other well-known groups. ”

Once again, conservative evangelicals have found themselves among the modern Republican candidates for a policy that goes beyond LGBTQ rights. On the subject of abortion, religious freedom and, more recently, the Covid prevention policy, the GOP of today has aligned itself with the interests of many evangelicals, allowing the group to dominate the political system of the two parties. United States.

With so many evangelicals flocking to one side of the political arena, Jones said, “they have made a negative impact on society, by allowing political parties.”

A strategic ‘pivot’

A strategic 'pivot'

At the same time, the political arena where conservatives and progressive activists are fighting for LGBTQ rights and other social issues continues to grow.

McCoy of the SPLC said “The focus is on local areas such as school screens, health screens, the body of this environment,” McCoy of the SPLC said. “They are now taking on a new dimension in the cultural battle, either the necessity of a mask, the policy of the LGBTQ school or even ethnic law.”

There has also been a “significant increase” in attacks on the transgender community, said Sharita Gruberg, vice president of the LGBTQI + Research and Communication Center at the American Center for Development.

“Opposition groups against LGBTQ equality have tested their message and found that attacks on homosexuals are not the most common cultural warfare they used in the 90s,” Gruberg said. “From bathroom bills in 2015 and 2016 to the ban on school games, it is easy for these groups to plan attacks to focus on children associated with policies that they say restore parental rights. the Trojan horse is small. “

The Bill of Rights for Education – which critics have dubbed “Do not say gay” – on the table of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is a matter of fact. If signed into law, it would prohibit “class discussions about sex or gender” in state primary schools. Opponents say the law would hurt LGBTQ youth by creating a climate of stigma. But Republican Rep. Joe Harding, who introduced the bill in Congress in January, said the measure involves “encouraging parents.”

Last month, Harding defended his account in a blog post for the Family Research Council, an LGBTQ hate group that the SPLC has declared since 2011.

Gruberg claims that the protection of LGBTQ rights across the country requires federal intervention. Congress is considering the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Bill of Rights to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. But the law has not yet been enacted: All Democrat senators and 10 Republicans in the Senate will need to vote in favor of the measure to overturn it.

Even then, the law could still face its consequences in the courts. While the Supreme Court has a history of asserting LGBTQ rights, conservatives are now giving a stronger mandate.

A recent addition to the court was Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as well as members of the anti-LGBTQ group. From 2011 to 2016, Barrett gave lectures on five separate occasions for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, Alliance Defending Freedom’s flagship summer program for Christian law students. During a hearing she confirmed in 2020, Barrett described her experience with the Blackstone Legal Fellowship as “surprising” but also said that “there is nothing wrong with any na deal that discriminates against anything. . “

For Jones, the speed with which LGBTQ equality has been achieved has created a “final impression” among white Christian conservatives, who have worked hard over the past decade to increase their power on the federal bench.

“It’s a really strong one that leads to fundraising,” he said. “There is a kind of final despair, the feeling that if we do not do something now, we will lose the country. And if we do not do something to win, there will be no chance again. not.”

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