Brian Brown

Anti-LGBT Groups Unite To Prevent UN Recognition Of Same-Sex Families

A group of anti-LGBT organizations, including leading American groups, have banded together to sign a joint platform meant to “push back against UN entities attempting to redefine the family to include same-sex relations.”

C-Fam, a U.S. group that pushes social conservative policies at the UN, says in a press release that it was joined in organizing the platform by the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council and Human Life International. Also among the organizing groups is CitizenGo, an international petition platform that counts NOM president Brian Brown as a member of it board and HazteOir and Derecho a Vivir, two Spanish organizations led by CitizenGo’s president, Ignacio Arsuaga.

The platform states that any reference to the family in UN documents should be interpreted only as “a man and a woman united in marriage, and relations that are equivalent or analogous, including single parent families and multigenerational families.”

It makes clear that this specifically excludes families headed by same-sex couples: “Relations between individuals of the same sex and other social and legal arrangements that are neither equivalent nor analogous to the family are not entitled to the protections singularly reserved for the family in international law and policy.”

The platform concludes that any language that “implicitly or explicitly attempts to dilute, erode, or undermine” this definition of the family is “incompatible with international human rights law.”

Brown, as marriage equality has become entrenched in the U.S., has increasingly worked to form global alliances to prevent the advance of LGBT rights.

Did NOM Lower Standards For 'Marriage Champion' Cruz?

Before the 2012 election, the National Organization for Marriage released a marriage pledge and badgered Republican presidential candidates to sign it. NOM has done the same thing this time around, but there are telling differences between the two pledges.

In fact, NOM’s favored 2016 candidate, Ted Cruz, could not have signed the pledge from four years ago. As we’ve reported, Cruz signed NOM’s current marriage pledge and won the group’s endorsement. He was able to sign the new version thanks to a slight change in wording that seems designed to make the pledge palatable to Cruz while not calling attention to NOM’s retreat from a key demand made of 2012 candidates.

The first element of that pledge, which was released in 2011, was: “Support an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” NOM’s key demand was very clear: a constitutional amendment that would override state marriage equality laws as well as any court rulings in favor of marriage equality, much like the Federal Marriage Amendment proposed by President Bush.

But the equivalent first plank of this election’s marriage pledge, which NOM released last summer, is a vow to “support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Defines became protects. That word change apparently gave Cruz enough wiggle room to sign the pledge even though the constitutional amendment he favors would not enshrine a federal definition of marriage as a man and a woman, but would allow each state to make its own laws about marriage, overturning the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

NOM praises Cruz for sponsoring what it now says is “one of our key objectives” — “an amendment to the U.S. Constitution restoring the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” In a December 9 press release announcing its endorsement, the group called Cruz “someone we can absolutely count on to fight to restore marriage to our nation’s laws and defend the religious liberty of the tens of millions of Americans who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.” NOM pledged to do “everything in their power to support his election.”

Cruz seemingly tries to downplay the intensity of his opposition to LGBT equality when campaigning in places like New York and California. The newly nebulous language of NOM’s pledge allows him to continue telling anti-LGBT activists that their issues are a priority for him while insisting to less socially conservative audiences that his marriage equality opposition is grounded in a belief in states’ rights.

Along with the demand for a constitutional definition of marriage, the most recent pledge drops a couple of other planks: that a candidate defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court — moot after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA’s key provision; and a pledge to “support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage” — which reflected Religious Right outrage at the time that district officials and courts rejected a referendum on D.C.’s marriage equality law as a violation of its Human Rights Act. 

The two pledges include some similar provisions, including a promise to appoint judges and an attorney general who will uphold the “original meaning” of the Constitution and to support investigations of harassment of traditional marriage supporters. The pledge Cruz signed this time around also commits him to working to review “regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage” and “working to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

It is worth noting that the pledge Cruz signed calls for support of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, the federal version of the “religious liberty” laws being promoted at the state level to give legal protections to people and organizations that discriminate against same-sex couples. And it would be interesting to hear a reporter ask Cruz what he means by pledging to “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.”

 

NOM's Brian Brown Rallies Support For Mississippi's 'Horrific' Anti-LGBT Legislation

The Religious Right’s ongoing effort to create special legal protections for anti-LGBT discrimination continues in Mississippi, where a “breathtaking” and “horrific” anti-LGBT bill — even worse that North Carolina’s recent law — is waiting final passage in the House. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown is urging NOM supporters to contact Gov. Phil Bryant and Republicans in the state house in support of legislation that passed the state senate last week.

In an email alert sent today, Brown asks activists to stand up for “the rights of Christians and people of faith to be free from recrimination and harassment from extremists who believe that religious liberty must be eliminated when it comes to the gay agenda.” Brown apparently has no sense of irony or shame, arguing for pro-discrimination legislation while complaining, “It is outrageous that gay and lesbian extremists have been allowed to discriminate against, harass and punish Christians and others when it comes to marriage.”

More from Brown’s urgent email:

All across America, LGBT extremists are working overtime to force devout Christians and other people of faith to personally participate in celebrating a same-sex 'marriage' even when doing so violates their deeply held religious beliefs. Those who have refused to abandon God's commands when it comes to marriage have been hit with lawsuits and huge fines, lost their jobs and even been put in jail. This must stop, and at least in Mississippi it will stop if you act today…

For years, LGBT activists lied to Americans about gay 'marriage,' claiming that redefining marriage to suit their demands would not hurt anyone. Instead, people's lives have been ruined and the sexual extremists are intent on forcing every person in America to genuflect at the altar of gay "rights."

…House Bill 1523 protects pastors, churches and individuals from having to solemnize a gay 'wedding' and protects individuals and small businesses like florists, bakers and photographers from being forced to perform services at a gay 'wedding' ceremony that violates their deeply held religious beliefs. The legislation also prevents LGBT extremists from forcing their gender ideology on Mississippi which would allow men to force their way into intimate facilities reserved for girls and women, including showers and restrooms, simply by claiming they "identify" as women. Biology determines gender, not "feelings!"

…Just as they have done in other states, LGBT extremists have orchestrated a campaign of "manufactured outrage" utilizing Hollywood celebrities, corporate giants and billionaire sports owners who wish to curry favor with gay activists. Their well-orchestrated play book threatens boycotts, companies threatening to leave the state and sports leagues hinting a state may be denied high-profile events like a Super Bowl or college bowl game. They are making identical threats and false claims of "discrimination" in Mississippi and we need people of faith and marriage supporters all across the nation to let the leaders of Mississippi know that we want them to lead by example and stand strong for people of faith.

 

NOM's Brian Brown Asks For Money to Make Kasich 'Toxic'

Religious Right leaders who back Ted Cruz for president are beginning to turn their fire on Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose continued presence in the race they believe is preventing Cruz from defeating Donald Trump. Last week Glenn Beck slammed Kasich as a delusional “son of a bitch” who might go down in history as the guy who “possibly destroyed the republic.”

Today the National Organization for Marriage, which endorsed Cruz in December, sent out a plea for money to go after Kasich, who NOM’s president, Brian Brown, describes as “a liberal Republican who has abandoned the fight for marriage, is extremely weak on religious liberty and who cannot be trusted to appoint strong, conservative constitutionalist judges to the US Supreme Court who would reverse the Court's illegitimate marriage ruling.”

Brown suggests that Kasich, who cannot mathematically win a majority of delegates prior to the Republican convention, is hoping either that “the GOP power brokers” will hand him the nomination or that he can at least build enough bargaining power to cut a deal for himself at the expense of the country.

“If you liked John Boehner, you’ll like John Kasich – lot’s [sic] of talk but no guts to actually fight for conservative principles like preserving marriage,” writes Brown, who complains that Kasich would “do nothing” to help business owners who run into trouble for refusing to provide services to same-sex couples. “That is why NOM is committed to ensuring that the American people learn the truth about Kasich and make him toxic as a potential vice presidential pick.”

More from Brown:

I'm asking for your immediate financial help so that we can get the truth about John Kasich out to voters and the media and stop any consideration of him as the GOP nominee, or even the vice presidential selection. Your membership contribution of at least $35 will go a long way toward helping us shine the light of truth on the Kasich record.

NOM is one of the few groups willing to take on the politically-correct yet powerfully wrong elite in America, which is what John Kasich represents. But to be effective, we need to increase our membership dues from grassroots supporters like you. Please act today to make a membership contribution of at least $35 which will allow us to take the fight to Kasich and others who disrespect the importance of marriage and refuse to protect the rights of average Americans to live out their beliefs about marriage in their daily lives.

Please make your membership contribution of at least $35 today so that we can ramp up our efforts to derail Kasich, the last remaining establishment Republican who has abandoned us when we needed him most. If you can afford to give more than the minimum $35, please do so.

Thank you for standing strong for God's design for marriage, and for helping us fight the PC crowd that refuses to stand with us for the truth of marriage and religious liberty.

More than 50 Conservative Catholics Back Ted Cruz

The latest announcement in the Ted Cruz presidential campaign’s ongoing rollout of endorsements from right-wing leaders is a group of more than 50 “Catholic influencers” led by Robert George, the intellectual muscle for the Religious Right, and Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia and failed gubernatorial candidate. The campaign announced the endorsement of Robert George yesterday; some others on the list have also been announced previously.

Not surprisingly, the list of Catholics for Cruz is heavy on culture warriors who have been fighting to criminalize abortion and resist legal equality for LGBT people and same-sex couples. Although Cruz is not Catholic, he made a reference to the Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis, saying “we have an opportunity to protect the most vulnerable and safeguard the truth revealed through Scripture and the tradition of millennia.”

One eyebrow-raising name on the list is Anne Schlafly Cori, president of Missouri Eagle Forum and daughter of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, who endorsed Donald Trump last week

Also on the list:

NOM: Leave An Empty Seat At SOTU To Represent The '50 Million Voters Whose Votes Were Stolen' By SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

Tonight, President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address and among his guests will be Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court's gay marriage case last year.

That, obviously, it not sitting well with the National Organization for Marriage, which fired off an angry press release today demanding that Republicans respond by leaving "an empty chair in the front of the chamber to represent the more than fifty million Americans whose votes in support of traditional marriage were stolen by the US Supreme Court":

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today sharply condemned President Obama for inviting Jim Obergefell, one of the plaintiffs whose case was used by the US Supreme Court to impose same-sex 'marriage' on the nation, to attend the State of the Union speech and called for the Republican leadership to set aside a vacant seat in the front of the chamber in honor of the missing 50 million voters whose votes were stolen by the Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell v Hodges case.

"It's an outrage that President Obama is honoring the extermination of true marriage in our nation's laws as a result of an anti-constitutional, illegitimate ruling of the US Supreme Court," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "President Obama is trying to honor something that is completely dishonorable because it strips from the law the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and substitutes a fiction from the left that marriage can be anything you want it to be."

NOM reminded the nation that voters in thirty-one states cast over 50 million ballots defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Supreme Court ruling obliterated those votes.

"The Republican leadership ought to set aside an empty chair in the front of the chamber to represent the more than fifty million Americans whose votes in support of traditional marriage were stolen by the US Supreme Court," Brown said. "It's a national insult that President Obama would celebrate such an affront to democracy."

Brown also pointed out that since the Obergefell ruling imposing gay 'marriage', countless Christian small business owners have been subjected to extreme punishment by the government for refusing to abandon the truth of marriage.

"If the President wanted to do justice concerning this ruling, he would have invited all the people of faith who have been victimized by it — bakers, florists, photographers, nonprofit groups, etc. — and apologized to them and the American people for the supreme lie that is same-sex 'marriage.' The Obergefell ruling has exposed the falsehood that there would never be consequences for redefining marriage, our most fundamental and important social institution."

NOM Pads Its Résumé

The National Organization for Marriage has been facing some fundraising difficulties since its goal of stopping marriage equality in the U.S. has become increasingly futile. So perhaps that’s why NOM’s president, Brian Brown, had to struggle a bit to find accomplishments to boast of in a year-end fundraising message he sent to supporters today.

In the video message, Brown boasts that his group turned out “tens of thousands of people” to attend this year’s March for Marriage in Washington. At the time, the group estimated that it had attracted a crowd of 10,000; authorities declined to confirm the number and other observers placed it at closer to 6,000.

Brown also inexplicably asserts that one of NOM’s greatest triumphs in 2015 was “helping to free Kim Davis,” the Kentucky clerk who was briefly jailed after defying court orders to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. NOM did circulate a petition on Davis’ behalf and raise money for her, but her legal representation came from the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel and she was only released from detention after her deputies agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In any case, Brown said that NOM has big plans for the future, repeating his goals to elect a president (preferably Ted Cruz) who will nominate Supreme Court justices to “reverse the same-sex marriage ruling,” pressure the GOP to continue standing against marriage equality, “stop the persecution of people who refuse to be involved in the lie of same-sex marriage” and work toward a constitutional amendment reversing Obergefell.

Ted Cruz Endorsed By Anti-LGBT National Organization For Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage, a group that was founded to stop marriage equality but has since embraced other anti-LGBT causes, announced today that it has endorsed Ted Cruz for president, asking conservatives to coalesce around the Texas senator’s candidacy.

Cruz, who has actively courted even the most radical of anti-gay activists, including those who believe that the government should execute gay people, was one of several GOP presidential candidates who signed NOM’s pledge to back a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, order the Justice Department to help gay marriage opponents and “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.”

It comes as no surprise that Cruz earned the right-wing group’s support, as he has accused the gay community of waging a “jihad” against religious liberty, likened the Obergefell ruling on marriage equality to “Nazi decrees” and vowed not to enforce the court’s ruling if elected president.

Even before running for president, Cruz was an outspoken critic of LGBT equality who introduced legislation and a constitutional amendment to undermine same-sex marriage, predicted that gay marriage would destroy the freedom of speech and issued pleas for civil disobedience to thwart gay rights efforts.

"Sen. Ted Cruz is a proven champion for marriage and religious freedom and someone we can absolutely count on to fight to restore marriage to our nation's laws and defend the religious liberty of the tens of millions of Americans who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "Sen. Cruz has not only signed NOM's presidential marriage pledge committing to take specific actions as president, but he has personally authored the pending federal marriage amendment to restore the right of states to define marriage as one man/one woman. Moreover, he has spoken out consistently and forcefully on the campaign trail as an advocate of true marriage. We are pleased to endorse him and will do everything in our power to support his election."



"The decision to endorse in the Republican primary race was a very difficult one," Brown said. "There are many tremendous candidates remaining who have made support for marriage a pillar of their careers in public service, including Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio. We realize that our endorsement of Sen. Cruz will be very disappointing to them. Should any of these candidates emerge as the Republican nominee we would enthusiastically support them. However, there is a real danger that conservatives will split the vote allowing someone like Donald Trump to emerge from the crowded field, which would be disastrous. Sen. Cruz has run the best campaign thus far, racking up endorsements and financial resources and climbing in the polls. We believe he has the best chance of uniting conservatives and going on to win the nomination."



"Beginning in Iowa, and going on from there, we will do everything in our power to support Sen. Cruz and urge all our supporters to coalesce around his candidacy," Brown said. "It is imperative that a proven marriage champion emerge from Iowa and go on to capture the Republican nomination. Too much is on the line for supporters of marriage to sit on the sidelines and take the risk that the Republican nominee is someone who will not fight to restore marriage to the law in our nation. We are at a historic moment, and we urge all conservatives to unite behind Sen. Ted Cruz, a man of principle we can all count on to give his all to the cause of marriage and religious freedom."

Marriage & 'Natural Family' Day At World Congress of Families

The sun had barely risen in Salt Lake City yesterday when the first panel of “natural family” day at the World Congress of Families got started with a discussion about life after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Pastor Greg Johnson, an evangelical who was raised as a Mormon and now sponsors “convicted civility” dialogues between evangelicals and Mormons, recounted an experience with his daughter at the Creation Museum. Looking at the diorama of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, he was struck by the sacred nature of marriage. Johnson declared that the church needs to revive its commitment to the sacred and holy nature of marriage.

Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council began her remarks with a declaration that, as a Catholic, there is nothing that could change her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Like many speakers, Ruse focused on the complementarity of men and women. “No man can be a mother,” she said. “As a mother, I know two fathers is not the same as a mother and a father.”

The fact that “men and women make babies, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident,” is the only reason government is involved in marriage, Ruse said. Government has to encourage men and women who become mothers and fathers to raise their children. The government has no interest in a person’s feelings, she said. “Who you love is not the government’s business, until now.” Of course, that claim ignores the historical fact that the U.S. government did, until quite recently, punish gay people for who they loved, denying them a livelihood and even taking away their children. And the fact is that many governments around the world, including in some countries represented at the World Congress, continue to do that and worse.

Ruse recounted all the states where voters banned marriage for same-sex couples, neglecting to mention the four more recent victories marriage equality advocates had at the ballot box in 2012. Ignoring those, and dismissing the huge and well-documented shifts in public opinion, Ruse portrayed marriage equality as something “a handful of liberal judges” forced “on the rest of us” and she called for continued resistance:

Above all, we must fight for the right to live and work according to our beliefs. Our enemy in this fight is not our neighbor, not even the 1.6 percent of our neighbors who identify themselves as gay. No. Our enemy are those who would be our masters — the judge who jails a clerk for failing to give her signature, the magistrate who takes the house of a baker for want of a cake. These are our enemies in the fight ahead. No government official can force us to bend the knee at the altar of a foreign god. If we cannot secure this freedom in law, then we must live it in civil disobedience of the law.

Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage followed Ruse and matched her tone of defiance against “our unelected masters.” The Supreme Court didn’t change the definition of marriage, he said, it “put a lie into the law” — just like slavery and the Dred Scott decision. Brown said that there’s no time for activists to be depressed. Citing the history of Christian martyrs, abolitionists and civil rights activists, he mocked people who don’t want to take a stand because some of their Facebook friends might say mean things about them. 

“Instead of being depressed, we should savor the fact that we live at a point in history, like those times before, in which we can stand for the truth, make a difference, and God has put us here for some reason. This fight is not over. It has just begun.”

Brown proposed four goals for the anti-marriage-equality movement:

  1. Affirm continually and publicly that marriage is by nature a union of a man and a woman
  2. Reject the Supreme Court’s decision as illegitimate
  3. Overturn the decision, perhaps through decades of struggle or perhaps with new Supreme Court justices appointed by a Republican president elected in 2016
  4. Contain the damage in the meanwhile by passing laws that allow public officials and businesspeople to refuse to have anything to do with gay couples’ marriages

Rafael Cruz, speaking in the second morning session, picked up the baton with the kind of David Barton-inspired speech he gives on the campaign trail for his son Ted Cruz. America was founded on the word of God, he said, but its foundations have been undermined by communists, humanists and Supreme Court decisions on organized prayer, Bible reading in the public schools, abortion and marriage equality.

Cruz railed against the church for having been silent in the face of “abominable” Supreme Court decisions on church-state separation and abortion. The church he said has been “duped” into believing in the separation of church and state, and too many preachers are hiding behind their pulpits, scared to death of losing their tax exemptions. “God is going to judge us for our silence,” he said.

Cruz declared, “What we see in America right now is an outright attack on Christianity.” The court’s marriage equality decision declared homosexuality a civil right, he said, asserting (falsely) that “under that basis, it will be possible for some homosexual to come to your church demanding to be hired, whether as pastor or janitor is immaterial.” Cruz told a BuzzFeed reporter that the next item on the LGBT agenda will be pushing to legalize pedophilia.

Utah Event Revives The Strange Case Of The Moscow World Congress Of Families

This is one in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families gathering in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

Social conservatives from around the world will gather next week in Salt Lake City at the World Congress of Families, an event being held in the U.S. for the first time this year. In the background of the event will be the specter of last year’s World Congress in Moscow, which sort of did and sort of didn’t happen.

In 2013, when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law prohibiting “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors, human rights groups were aghast but many in the Religious Right cheered. While Putin’s crackdown on LGBT people and free speech was widely regarded as a cynical effort to stir up nationalist sentiment at the expense of sexual minorities, his allies in the U.S. Religious Right did not see it that way.

Among the strongest supporters was the World Congress of Families. WCF, along with several other American groups participating in the Utah conference, signed a statement of support . WCF’s Larry Jacobs called the Russian law a “great idea” and said that the “Russians might be the Christian saviors to the world” for their leadership in “standing up for these traditional values of family and faith.” WCF’s representatives in Russia likewise hailed the law and worked with American activists including the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown to advocate for a law tightening the country’s ban on adoptions by foreign nationals who live in countries where gay marriage is legal.

The World Congress of Families was taken with Putin’s enthusiastic embrace of social conservatism that it planned to hold its 2014 congress at the Kremlin in Moscow, with the financial support of top Putin allies. The planning got off to a rocky start after we reported on WCF’s support of Putin’s anti-LGBT policies, and things got even rockier when Alexey Komov, the WCF’s Russian point-man waded into 9/11 trutherism at a press conference promoting the event.

Those plans began to fall apart when Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting U.S. sanctions against at least two of WCF’s key Russian allies. WCF formally “suspended” the event, but the Russian organizers went ahead and held the conference anyway. A number of the U.S. activists who were planning to go to the original conference, including the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown, went to the replacement. WCF’s Don Feder and Larry Jacobs, officially attending in their personal capacities, spoke at an opening press conference. At the end, conference-goers passed a resolution advocating the passage of “gay propaganda” bans modeled on Russia’s throughout the world.

Underlining the fact that the Moscow conference was never really cancelled, WCF’s point-man in Russia, Alexey Komov, was until recently scheduled to host a training session at the Utah event on “Hosting a WCF Conference”:

The training has since been removed from the event’s schedule.

Also speaking at the conference will be Vladimir Mischenko, a top official in a foundation run by Vladimir Yakunin, the Putin ally who helped to fund the Moscow conference. (Putin has since kicked Yakunin to the curb .) The World Congress of Families will also be presenting its “International Pro-Life Award” to Father Maxim Obukhov, who helped to bring the event to Moscow last year.

The World Congress of Families’ executive director, Janice Shaw Crouse, has gushed about the Moscow conference , calling it “a tremendous success, inspiring and excellent in every regard,” saying she “regretted the necessary decision to cancel our partnership with our Russian friends.”

She added:

We have many dear colleagues in Russia, and many of them are leading members of the Russian Orthodox Church. They saw their country devastated by Communism. After the fall of Communism, they recognized that if their nation was ever to rise to greatness again, it would be because of a strong family structure. These Russian friends have fought to re-establish the family as the foundation of Russia. We support their efforts, we encourage them, and we are proud of their efforts.

The Moscow event was supposed to be something of a homecoming for the World Congress of Families, which grew out of an alliance between the Howard Center on Family, Religion and Society's Allan Carlson and Russian activists concerned about a “demographic winter” of low birthrates in their country. Those ties have remained strong, especially since President Vladimir Putin has cozied up to the Orthodox Church and put new stock in social issues as part of his efforts to consolidate control in Russia and expand his power throughout the region.

World Congress of Families Culture Warriors Battle Repro, LGBT Rights In Europe With Help From US Friends

This is one in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families gathering in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

Americans have long viewed Europe as a stronghold of progressive social policies. But as BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder reported last year, there is a resurgent Religious Right political movement in Europe whose advocates draw moral, strategic, and financial support from their allies in the United States, including the American Center for Law and Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom and Personhood USA.

In Europe the culture war is taking the form of attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights — even sex education — or what conservative Catholics and their allies collectively deride as “gender ideology.” Right-wing groups are active at the European Union, Council of Europe, European Parliament and other international institutions. The ACLJ’s European branch led the signature drive for the “One of Us” campaign — an anti-abortion effort that used a new European Citizens Initiative process. The initiative was rejected but the organizing that went into it has energized anti-choice activists — the Knights of Columbus called it “the revitalization of Europe.”The World Congress of Families facilitates this reactionary cross-fertilization with conservative groups from around the world.

Earlier this year, the Croatia-based Center for Education, Counseling and Research (CESI) released a report on the growing threats to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the European Union which also documented global connections among conservative groups and activists.  Also this year, voters in Slovakia passed a referendum to put a ban on marriage by same-sex couples in the country’s constitution, an effort supported by American groups including the WCF, Alliance Defending Freedom, CitizenGo, Personhood USA, and the World Congress of Families. Several years ago, many of the same people signed a petition supporting Romania’s constitutional amendment on marriage, which stated that “equating same-sex couples with families can only weaken the natural family — which does society’s vital work of procreation and childrearing.”

The World Congress of Families meeting in Salt Lake City next week features a number of speakers who are intimately involved in this push to restrict access to abortion and prevent advances in LGBT equality.

As we noted in an earlier post, WCF will honor Luca Giuseppe Volonté of Italy’s Novae Terrae Foundation and Andrea Williams of UK’s Christian Concern. Williams, who allies with Alliance Defending Freedom, has encouraged Jamaica to continue criminalizing same-sex intimacy. Volonté, who is affiliated with a variety of right-wing groups, says conservatives in Europe are resisting marriage equality because they experience it as a “totalitarian” ideology.

Another speaker is Ignacio Arsuaga, the founder of CitizenGo and HazteOír, groups designed to bring online organizing techniques to European culture-war conservatives.  HazteOír made a name for itself mobilizing protesters against liberalized abortion legislation in Spain in 2010, and hosted the 2012 World Congress of Families in Madrid. In 2013 his group bused supporters into France to support anti-marriage-equality protests there.

Arsuaga’s CitizenGo is affiliated with ActRight, created by Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. Brown joined CitizenGo’s board in 2013.  Brown has backed anti-gay efforts in France and Russia and participated in events designed to strengthen ties between Europe’s right-wing and Putin’s Russia. As BuzzFeed’s Feder reported last year,

Arsuaga, Volontè, and La Manif Pour Tous President Ludovine de La Rochère were all in Washington on June 19 to support the National Organization for Marriage’s March for Marriage. Their more important business, however, might have been in a closed-door summit the next day, where representatives of around 70 countries met to discuss creation of an International Organization for Marriage, according to Volontè and another participant. 

Also participating in the Salt Lake City WCF will be Lech and Ewa Kowalewski, anti-abortion activists affiliated with Human Life International and the Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements. They denounce the “contraceptive mentality” — for them even “natural contraception” is a contradiction because “contraception is never natural.” In 2014 they toured the U.S. as part of a worldwide “pro-life pilgrimage.”  They were on the International Planning Committee for World Congress of Families VI in Madrid.

Another participant is Maria Hildingsson, Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe, which the Catholic News Agency said last year is “the only independent organization clearly registered in the EU as Catholic.” It rejects “an individualistic conception” of human rights that is says are supported by “hegemonic powers which tend to impose their partial views on developing countries within the international economic and political arena.”

Hildingsson opposes promotion of “gender ideology” and opposed the marriage equality referendum in Ireland. Her group worked with a global coalition of conservative groups to oppose an inclusive definition of family in the United Nations during deliberations on sustainable development goals. This summer, she met with Orthodox Church leaders from Europe and Russia to strategize against efforts by the European Union that aim, in the words of a report on the meeting, “to destroy the traditional notions of marriage and family and to legalize surrogate motherhood and abortion.”

Another speaker, Silvio Dalla Valle, works with the Association for the Defense of Christian Values, which is “inspired by the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church” and works in Italy and Eastern Europe.  He was on the planning committee for Moscow meeting that took place last year without the formal sponsorship of WCF but with participation by WCF staff and allies,and spoke last year at a WCF regional event in Bolivia. Dalla Valle is a co-founder of and legal adviser to the Osservatorio della Cristianofobia (Observatory on “Christianphobia”) a project to lobby the United Nations and European institutions to take a strong stance against persecution and discrimination against Christians. He received a “Global Leadership Award” from the Howard Center, the World Congress of Families’ parent organization, in 2010.

Lola Volarde, director for UN affairs at the Institute for Family Policy, is also participating. Volarde’s group promotes “natural family” policies in Latin America in addition to its work at the European Union level, and it opened its delegation to the UN in 2013. You can see Velarde speaking in Mexico last year.

Arsuaga, Velarde and Brian Brown are all on board of the Political Network for Values, a group launched last year that brings together advocates and elected officials from around the world to work for legal protection for life “from its moment of conception” and advocate for policies the promote marriage as “an institution between a man and a woman.” The group also declares its opposition to “the tyranny of relativism” and euthanasia.

Last month, the Political Network for Values held a summit in Washington, D.C. which was sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Institute for Family Policy, CitizenGo and others. The network says the regional summit “brought together in Washington DC more than 70 policy makers from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Spain, Hungary, Kenya and the United States.” The group was addressed by three members of the U.S. Congress, Jeff Fortenberry, Chris Smith and Vicky Hartzler, who talked about the “fight for religious freedom in the U.S.”

 

World Congress of Families In Denial Over Promoting Homophobia Globally

This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

The World Congress of Families has been stung by intense criticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true.

WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean disrespect for anyone else.” Crouse says, “We do not and will not engage in ‘gay-bashing’ or ‘hate’ language." In its 2014 “Call for Civic Dialogue” WCF said:

In its history, the WCF has never taken a position for or against anti-sodomy laws, nor has it attempted to roll back the rights gained by these individuals and organizations…. The WCF never has and never will advocate for any policy that brings harm to innocent individuals….

These assertions are grossly disingenuous and deceptive. WCF depends on, and celebrates, its association with what it calls “exemplary” anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many others who aggressively resist the advance of LGBT equality in the U.S. and overseas -- and promote policies that most definitely bring harm to innocent individuals. For example, WCF and its allies played a significant role in organizing the stridently anti-gay “pro-family” movement in Russia. And not taking a position on laws that subject LGBT people to long jail terms and worse is hardly something to brag about.  

WCF’s “civil dialogue” claim is laughable on its face, especially given that the group is providing a speaking platform to Rafael Cruz, who has no policy expertise to share but has gained folk-hero status on the Religious Right with outlandishly inflammatory attacks on LGBT people and other political opponents. Cruz, father to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called it “appalling” that a gay woman could win elected office, said that Satan controls the U.S. government and that the devil was responsible for the with Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. He has repeatedly lied about religious freedom, claiming that the government will force churches to hire homosexual pastors and perform homosexual marriages. Cruz has suggested that President Obama is intent on seizing Americans’ guns because, like Stalin and Mao, Obama is pursuing a totalitarian government – and that the American left is out to do away with the entire Bill of Rights.

Sadly, Cruz is not an outlier. WCF and the speakers it provides with a platform have a long record of resisting protections for the rights of LGBT people. Last year WCF initiated a letter signed by 120 Religious Right figures from around the world in “vigorous protest” of the U.S. Embassy’s participation in a gay pride celebration in the Czech Republic. It refers to marriage equality as a “pseudo-right” that debases human freedom and dignity. The letter concludes, “We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the ‘gay’ agenda on societies with traditional values.”

More to the point, WCF’s own Africa regional director, Theresa Okafor, who is being honored at the event, supported a harsh anti-gay law in Nigeria that not only provides for long jail sentences for gay sex, but also bans gay people from meeting in groups. Okafor has suggested that pro-equality groups from the west are allied with the violent Islamist Boko Haram in a conspiracy to silence Christians.

WCF Executive Director Crouse has her own track record. She has said children being raised by gay couples are being “used as guinea pigs.” She has praised Russia’s anti-gay right, saying approvingly, “I wouldn’t bet on the Russians capitulating to western LGBTIQ fascists without a fight.” At a 2013 Howard Center press conference, Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” She praised anti-gay activists in France, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. And while Crouse portrays American gays as enemies of free speech, she enthusiastically backed the prosecution and jailing of Pussy Riot activists over their anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Among other anti-gay speakers who will be given a platform at WCF:

  • Peter Sprigg represents the stridently anti-gay Family Research Council, whose leader Tony Perkins once defended Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill as an effort to uphold morality. Sprigg, who once said he would like to “export” homosexuals from the U.S., complained this year about Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, for traveling to Uganda and Jamaica. Sprigg criticized the Obama administration for trying to “force this American-style homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries” like Uganda, “which is one of the countries that has been most bitterly attacked by homosexual activists around the world.”
  • Robert Knight, a Religious Right pundit and former FRC staffer, has argued that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached.
  • Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage has not only pushed for anti-equality legislation in the U.S., he has supported anti-gay efforts globally and encouraged legislators in Russia to pass legislation banning adoption by gay couples.
  • Errol Naidoo received training from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C before founding the Family Policy Institute in South Africa in response to the legalization of marriage equality, which he had lobbied against. He blames abortion and “the homosexual agenda” for creating a “culture of death” that is “slowly killing off the human family in Western civilization.”
  • Glenn Stanton, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, has called marriage equality a “pernicious lie of Satan” and said that “quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”
  • Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, says the “sexual revolution” is a “totalitarian” movement” and “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with. She says “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
  • Mark Regnerus: His New Family Structures Study, funded by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, has been widely discredited, but continues to be cited by right-wing as if it provided scientific evidence for harm caused by gay parenting. It was used extensively as justification for passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.
  • Frank Schubert is a political communications strategist notorious as the mastermind of the strategy to ground the campaign for California’s Prop 8 in fear-mongering about gay people and couples being a threat to children. Schubert was paid handsomely to take that destructive strategy to other states.

 

Utah Gov To Speak At Anti-Gay, Anti-Contraception Group's Event

The World Congress of Families sent out a press release today announcing that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes will both address the group’s upcoming convention in Salt Lake City.

The presence of two of Utah’s top elected officials lends legitimacy to the gathering of opponents of reproductive rights and LGBT equality from around the world. Among the speakers are the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, Peter Sprigg and Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council, Sharon Slater of Family Watch International and Mark Regnerus, whose faulty research on gay parents has been used to justify anti-LGBT discrimination around the world.

Also speaking will be Ignacio Arsuaga of Spain and Luca Volante of Italy, activists who have been working with Brown to build global opposition to advances in LGBT rights.

But most troubling is the World Congress of Families itself, which is a project of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society. The Howard Center and the World Congress of Families were founded by Allan Carlson, an adherent of the anti-contraception, anti-women’s-rights “Quiverfull” ideology.

The World Congress of Families exists to promote what Carlson calls the “natural family” — something that does not include LGBT people, reproductive rights or, often, women working outside the home.

In their “Natural Family: A Manifesto,” Carlson and Paul Mero, then the president of the Sutherland Institute, which is hosting next month’s event in Utah, laid out their vision of a world full of homes “open to a quiver of children,” with “young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers” and “young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” They call for “more babies and larger families” to counter the “war on human fertility”; gay marriage bans and tight divorce restrictions to “end the war of the sexual hedonists on marriage”; and the abolition of “state programs that indoctrinate children … youth, and adults into the contraceptive mentality.”

“We will craft schooling that gives positive images of chastity, marriage, fidelity, motherhood, fatherhood, husbandry, and housewifery. We will end the corruption of children through state ‘sex education’ programs,” they add.

The World Congress of Families exists to unite activists who are pushing this “natural family” ideology throughout the world. Notably, the group has served as a cheerleader for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on LGBT people, with one WCF official calling Russia “ the Christian saviors of the world.” The group planned to hold its last World Congress at the Kremlin, funded by top Putin allies. It formally cancelled the event after Russia invaded Ukraine, but the Congress went ahead with WCF leaders in attendance. The main organizer of the conference, WCF’s Russian representative Alexey Komov, will be offering a workshop on “Hosting a WCF Conference” at the Salt Lake City event.

Despite the debacle in Russia, WCF has hardly turned down its activism. At a recent event in Belgrade, World Congress of Families official Don Feder, who will also be speaking at the Salt Lake City conference, explains that contraception leads to “death” by “preventing life from happening" and will ultimately cause to the "extinction" of humanity:

Brian Brown: Gay Marriage Is 'The Supreme Lie Of The Land'

The National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown was among the speakers at this week's rally in support of Kim Davis, where he likened her stand to the fight against slavery and compared her to Rosa Parks while declaring that gay marriage is "the supreme lie of the land."

Christians have always refused to "bow down to pagan idols," Brown declared, and Davis refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because "we know in our hearts, we know in our minds, that same-sex marriage is not the supreme law of the land, it is the supreme lie of the land."

"When one person stand up and says, 'I will not be bullied, I will not comply,'" Brown continued, "that person is Kim Davis and I hope she is a hero and a message for all of us. Stand for truth, regardless of what happens. Do not comply with unjust authority!"

Religious Right Hails Kim Davis As 'Modern Day Christian Martyr'

As Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis continues to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the Supreme Court, the Religious Right is attempting to turn her into the latest martyr in the supposed persecution of Christians in America.

Davis’ attorneys at the far-right legal organization Liberty Counsel have urged her to break the law, insisting that any court ruling in favor of gay marriage is inherently illegitimate because it violates religious precepts. Another Kentucky clerk who is also refusing to issue marriage licenses boasted that he is willing to lose his life over the matter.

While violating court orders is a bridge too far for some Religious Right activists like Maggie Gallagher and Ryan T. Anderson, other conservative pundits see Davis as a hero for taking on the “gaystapo” and Satan himself.

Franklin Graham took to Facebook today to congratulate Davis for “standing up against the evil being forced on us,” warning that if others don’t emulate Davis, “we won’t even recognize the America that our children and our grandchildren will be left with.”

In a fundraising letter yesterday, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown called Davis “the latest victim of gay intolerance and government discrimination and persecution of marriage supporters,” defending her defiance by explaining that the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage was “illegitimate” since “two men cannot be married to each other, nor two women — regardless of what any court states.”

The Foundation for Moral Law, the group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who led his own battle in defying the federal court system on marriage, issued a statement from its president —  Moore’s wife Kayla Moore —  commending Davis as an example for all Americans and arguing that the Supreme Court’s ruling can be flouted since it defies divine law.

Anti-gay pundit Bill Muehlenberg similarly hailed Davis as a “supersaint” for refusing to “submit fully to the homosexual jackboot” and “the gaystapo,” claiming that she is among the “modern day Christian martyrs.”

When the militant homosexual lobby and its supporters tell you no one will be adversely impacted when homosexual marriage goes through, they are lying. They knew full well that everything changes – for the worse. Everyone must bow the knee and submit fully to the homosexual jackboot. … Try telling these folks that homosexual marriage will not impact them. And while you are at it, try telling Kim Davis this. She is a committed Christian and a Kentucky county clerk who will not allow her faith to be violated by the militants.

She has been another supersaint, standing strong for her faith in the face of severe persecution.



Yet again we see the intolerant activists, coupled with the heavy arm of the rainbow state, seeking to break the will and the resolve of ordinary men and women who choose to put the Lord Jesus Christ over and above the tide of filth and perversion sweeping the land.

These are modern day Christian martyrs, standing steadfast for biblical truth despite everything the gaystapo can throw at them. I and others have been warning about this for many years now. We said this is exactly where we would get to when we start granting special rights to this militant sexual lifestyle group.

Not to be outdone, BarbWire content editor Gina Miller said that the embattled clerk is waging a spiritual war against Satan’s gay army.

Those of us who have been closely watching the advance of this dark movement see exactly where it’s headed: the criminalization of Christianity. We have been warning of this for years, and it’s becoming clearer by the day that we’re right. While the aggressive, God-hating homosexual activists hurl their vicious lies and senseless insults at us, we are being proven right, inch by inch, day by day, as the homosexual/“transgender” behemoth claims more ground of our freedoms. Just ask the Kleins of Sweet Cakes bakery, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Bakery and numerous others who came before Kim Davis in their resistance to the hijacked-rainbow brigade’s evil schemes.

I have repeated myself over and over again for years now. The homosexual movement, including its related perversions like “transgenderism,” has nothing to do with “equality” or marriage (other than to destroy it). It’s about the destruction of freedom, and specifically, the destruction of Christian freedom. Truth does not change, and the truth about homosexuality does not change. Homosexual behavior is sin. It’s destructive and dangerous. It’s unnatural. It’s immoral. It’s a gross perversion of God’s design for human sexuality. It’s naturally repulsive to those who retain a functioning moral compass. The same goes for “transgenderism.” People who imagine or pretend that they are members of the opposite sex are in open, degenerate rebellion against God, reality and nature. Whether this is due to mental illness or not, it’s still dead wrong.

The God-haters in this movement and their fellow travelers in positions of power will not stop until Christianity is criminalized. At its heart, this is a manifestation of the battle Satan has waged against God and His people. It is demonic influence that drives these homosexuals to target Christians, in order to crush their freedoms. This county clerk in Kentucky is a target because she is a Christian. These Godless degenerates now have the force of bad law on their side. Bad law—immoral law—is tyranny. Tyranny is what Satan desires over humanity, and he will get it, as the Bible has forewarned us.

The radical homosexual movement is one of the foremost tools the devil is using to topple our freedom, and if we had a thousand county clerks like Kim Davis stand up to this lawless edict from the federal courts, we might stand a chance of beating it back. But there are not many Christians of such courage today.

Dark times are falling on this nation, and there are numerous fronts of evil that are working in concert to destroy the Godly foundation of freedom upon which the United States was founded. Barack Obama (or whatever his name is) is an enemy of all that is right and true, and he is certainly a treasonous enemy of our country. He is a strong supporter and pusher of the militant homosexual agenda. He is part of God’s judgment on this wayward nation that has forcefully expelled God from the public square. Whether it’s the communistic “global warming” agenda, the homosexualist agenda or even the lunatic “black lives matter” racist agenda, all these are heads of the same tyrannical hydra. They all seek to bring tyranny down on the American people. (emphasis added)

Cruz, Carson And Jindal Pledge To End The 'Promotion' Of Gay Marriage In Public Schools

GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Bobby Jindal have joined Rick Santorum in signing the National Organization for Marriage’s presidential candidate pledge.

As we’ve reported, NOM’s pledge goes well beyond just banning same-sex marriage nationwide through a constitutional amendment. It also requires the candidate to vow to “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities” and direct the Justice Department to investigate the supposed harassment of gay marriage opponents.

Curiously, Carson told Rebecca Berg of RealClearPolitics that he is not in favor of a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, even though that is the very first clause in the NOM pledge that he has apparently signed.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today identified four Republican presidential candidates they have dubbed "Marriage Champions" for having pledged to the American people that they will take several specific actions as president to restore marriage to the law and protect people of faith from discrimination because of their support for traditional marriage. NOM said that Sen. Ted, Cruz, Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Dr. Ben Carson have emerged as the top candidates for marriage supporters.



1. Support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

2. Work to overturn the US Supreme Court's Obergefell decision that illegitimately imposed same-sex 'marriage' on every state in the nation, including nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

3. Conduct a review of actions taken by the Obama Administration that have undermined marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

4. Support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

5. Direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

"NOM has invited every candidate for president to sign our pledge, and we encourage those who have not yet signed to do so as soon as possible," Brown said. "We will not support a candidate for president who has not pledged to the American people to take specific actions in support of restoring marriage to our law and protecting people from government discrimination over their beliefs that marriage is the union of one man and one woman."

Brown said that several candidates have issued strong statements in support of marriage but have decided not to sign any pledges as a candidate. Governor Mike Huckabee covered marriage in his own pledge to the American people and Gov. Scott Walker has promised to support a constitutional amendment restoring true marriage.

Target's New Toy Policy Will 'Promote Transgenderism Among Children,' Warns Brian Brown Group

CitizenGo, the international citizen activism group for which the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown serves as a trustee, is joining the Right’s pile-on of Target for phasing out gender-specific signage in some of its kids’ departments, warning that the new policy will “promote transgenderism among children.”

In a petition circulated by CitizenGo’s US campaigns director, Josh Craddock, the group warns that Target, by removing signs like those distinguishing between “building sets” and “girls’ building sets,” has caved to pressure by “radical gender theorists” and “sexual radicals” who “want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children”:

But now, under pressure from radical gender theorists, Target decided to go "gender neutral" by removing "gender and signs and using gender indicators, especially as it relates to kids" from its stores. The sexual radicals who encouraged Target to reverse its policy ultimately want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children.

Faith2Action’s Janet Porter made a similar connection in promoting a boycott of the retail chain, claiming that the new policy is the result of “Bruce Jenner’s surgery… where he now pretends to be a woman full time.”

Franklin Graham led the Religious Right charge against Target earlier this week when he posted on Facebook that it is “not the gender-neutral people out there” who “made their stores strong”:

I think Target may be forgetting who has made their stores strong. It’s not gender-neutral people out there—it’s working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love. What’s next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else—God created two different genders. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4). You can’t get any clearer than that. If you agree, share in the comments below—and let Target know what you think. Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated.

In an appearance on Fox News, Graham declared that “this whole gender-neutral business has gone too far,” accusing Target of “ignoring the millions of customers you have that are just hard-working families with children, and they’re not gender-neutral children, these are boys and girls, the way God made us.”

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, for his part, worried that the new Target policy would promote confusing among shoppers: “If you go to buy a gift for a boy who's nine or six or a girl who's nine or six, you want to be able to go to that section and pick out a toy they might want. Now you have to sit there and look at a blended area and wonder is this for a boy or is this for a girl?”

NOM’s Brian Brown: Ending Anti-Gay Discrimination Means Giving 'Believers' the Shaft

Religious Right leaders have long argued that legal equality for LGBT people cannot coexist with religious freedom. Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, and the LGBT movementis seeking protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, these claims are getting more shrill.

The Right is worked up about the introduction in Congress last month of the Equality Act, which would provide legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. The Equality Act, says Lambda Legal, “does not change the religious exemptions already in federal law.”

Miranda reported last week that Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage said the Equality Act should be called “The Persecution of Americans Act.” Now, in a new fundraising email, NOM calls the “Beyond Marriage Equality” agenda “an outrageous attempt to persecute Americans who believe in God” and suggests that extending civil rights protections to protect LGBT people would be “catastrophic.”

The agenda being advanced by the left will have a catastrophic impact on every single American as it covers housing, employment, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. Gays and lesbians get special legal rights and can beckon the government to target people of faith for investigations and punishment, while Americans who believe in God get the shaft.

But Brown doesn’t speak for “Americans who believe in God.” Most Americans, including religious Americans, support nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people. A Public Religion Research Institute survey from June found that 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination laws.  As PRRI’s Robert Jones recently wrote in the Atlantic:

Today, nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT individuals against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing, compared to 25 percent who oppose such policies. And there is majority support for these protections across partisan and religious lines. In fact, most Americans actually already believe that workplace nondiscrimination is the law of the land: Three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans incorrectly believe it is currently illegal under federal law to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

A poll conducted for HRC earlier this year found overwhelming public support for a nondiscrimination law.

NOM: Equality Act Should Be Called 'The Persecution Of Americans Act'

The National Organization for Marriage takes the persecution complex to a new level today, claiming in a fundraising email that a proposed federal law preventing discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations “puts in the crosshairs anyone who believes God created people male and female.”

NOM’s president, Brian Brown, writes that The Equality Act should instead be called “The Persecution of Americans Act” because it will extend the supposed “persecution” of bakers, florists and other wedding vendors who refuse service to gay and lesbian couples to “impact Americans in virtually every area of life":

The legislation puts in the crosshairs anyone who believes God created people male and female. It would declare that a traditional view of human sexuality is hateful and bigoted and treat Christians, Jews and other people of faith just as the law treats racists. HR 3185 specifically denies someone who has been targeted the ability to rely on the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense against the complaint of discrimination.

Americans across the land are witnessing the persecution of wedding professionals who are being forced by homosexual activists to participate in same-sex ceremonies even though doing so violates their deeply held religious beliefs concerning marriage. Bakers, photographers, florists, inn keepers and others have been persecuted, sued and fined simply because they do not wish to personally participate in a gay 'wedding.' HR 3185 will extend this persecution far beyond the wedding industry and will impact Americans in virtually every area of life.

Under HR 3185, all that a gay, lesbian or transgendered person needs to do is allege that an individual or business has somehow discriminated based on sexual orientation or gender identity and the full force of the federal government can be brought down on the person accused.

Just imagine how this proposed law would be used. Virtually any time a LGBT person feels they have been discriminated against they would be able to pursue a special legal claim using the force of the federal government as a powerful stick to punish people.

What lies "beyond marriage equality" is persecution. And that's what HR 3185 should be called — The Persecution of Americans Act.

Religious Right Hero Vladimir Putin Okays Polygamy, Sharia Law

Vladimir Putin has become a bona fide hero to American Religious Right activists, who see him as a conservative Christian counterweight to President Obama and his support for LGBT equality. Anti-gay activists, for instance, rallied around the Russian leader after the Kremlin approved a ban on speech dealing with “homosexual propaganda” to minors.

Evangelist Franklin Graham hailed Putin as a hero for taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue”; Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called upon U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions; Matt Barber marveled that Putin was able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”; Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world”; Scott Lively lavished praise on Putin for “championing traditional marriage and Christian values”; and Rush Limbaugh applauded Putin for stopping “a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”

Officials with the World Congress of Families have lauded Putin as a savior of the entire world. The group  organized a meeting for conservative activists at the Kremlin, which also played host to Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who traveled to Russia to defend the country’s anti-LGBT crackdown in face of a Western “attempts to silence those of us who stand for the truth of marriage.”

Much of Putin’s anti-LGBT stance is part of a broader campaign to discredit the European Union, antagonizing nationalists to rise up against the EU and its support of progressive values like LGBT rights, and empower the Russian Orthodox Church.

U.S. Religious Right activists have prioritized their absolute contempt for the LGBT community above solidarity with Protestants in Russia, who have come under attack by the state and its allies in the Orthodox Church, which views evangelicals as heretics. Protestants in the occupied area of eastern Ukraine have faced violent attacks from Putin-backed forces.

Seeing that American conservatives are more than happy to ignore Putin’s campaign against Protestantism since he is, after all, the defender of traditional marriage against gay rights, it is more than likely that they will look the other way now that he is “potentially allowing — or at the very least turning a blind eye to — polygamy among Russia’s estimated 16 million Muslims.” 

Julia Ioffe explained in Foreign Policy last week that the Russian government allowed for a friend of Chechnya’s leader to take a second wife in a case that received widespread attention in the country.

As Ioffe writes, “Christian warrior Vladimir Putin” has allowed for the Chechen government to enforce Islamic religious law within its boundaries. Putin’s decision to allow Chechnya to become “a small Islamic state within the borders of the Russian Federation” has paved the way for the legalization of polygamy.

Ioffe points to a case where a teenage girl was married to a 57-year-old police chief who was already married at the time in an arrangement that had all the appearances of a forced marriage. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who, like Putin, has a notorious human rights record, made sure that the wedding took place and even appeared at the reception.

One of polygamy’s noted defenders ended up being the country’s foremost supporter of the “homosexual propaganda” law: Yelena Mizulina. Ioffe writes:

[W]hen a lone member of the parliament proposed a law criminalizing polygamy, the initiative was duly shot down by Yelena Mizulina, the parliamentarian who was among the most vocal supporters of Russia’s anti-gay laws and other “traditional values” initiatives. Criminalizing polygamy, Mizulina said, was “absurd.” The reason for polygamy, she argued was that “there are not enough men, the kind with whom women would want to start a family and have children.” Last week, Mizulina was promoted to the upper chamber of parliament.

Mizulina authored the ban on “homosexual propaganda” and pushed through a law “banning the adoption of Russian orphans by gay couples, unmarried couples and single people in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.”

Putin’s “ombudsman for children’s rights — who was behind Russia’s ban on American adoptions,” Ioffe adds, justified the wedding by claiming that “in the North Caucasus, puberty hits earlier, so 16 was a great age for marrying. ‘There are places where women shrivel up by 27,’ he said.”

The Religious Right’s support for Putin, an authoritarian leader who has infringed on basic liberties and the democratic process, undermined the freedom of religion, particularly for Protestants, and allowed for the creation of a Sharia law enclave where polygamy is legal, once again proves that for a certain segment of American conservatives, everything comes down to opposing homosexuality.

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