What the World Congress of Families Tells Us About the Global ‘Pro-Family’ Movement

The World Congress of Families — an organization that hosts an annual global gathering of “pro-family” advocates —  brought together more than 3,300 people in Salt Lake City last week. The summit included authors and counselors focused on strengthening marriages as well as academics talking about the social and economic consequences of later marriages, declining birthrates and widespread divorce. It also included and anti-reproductive-choice activists from around the globe, as well as hundreds of “emerging leaders” expected to lead the movement into the future.

We’ve reported on individual speakers and will continue to do so as we dig through a week’s worth of notes and recordings — and a shopping bag full of books and other swag. But what’s the big picture? What does the WCF tell us about the state of the global Religious Right?

There were differences in priorities and approaches among the participants, but among the themes that emerged:

They See Themselves at War with the Enemies of God

Warfare imagery was common at WCF and the preceding gay-focused Stand4Truth event organized by people who needed just a little more anti-gay intensity than the WCF schedule promised. The “natural family” and “complementary” male-female gender roles were ordained by God, and therefore proponents of feminist or gender ideologies or notions of LGBT equality are not only political opponents but spiritual ones, out to destroy both the natural family and religious freedom.

Francisco Tatad, a former senate majority leader in the Philippines, said the threat to the family and human society is not simply those who deny God, but those who actually hate God:

The global attack on human dignity, on the integrity of the human person, and the family, is ultimately an attack on God. The war of religions is over, but the war on religion has hardly begun. And the target is no longer any individual religion in particular, but God himself. He has become the arch-enemy.

American Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez:

So I can share with you the fact that there is a spiritual battle, a spiritual battle, to annihilate the idea, the construct, God’s ordained institution of la familia. It is a battle. It even, before it’s a political battle or a legislative battle, it is, above all things, a spiritual battle.

And, engaging biblical allusions, it’s the spirit of Pharaoh, once again attempting to force and prompt families to make bricks without straw and to maintain families in the Egypt of bondage and fear. It is the spirit of Goliath, of intimidation. It is the spirit of Jezebel, an attempt to destroy the family via the conduit of sexual perversion and manipulation. It is the spirit of Herod, killing families through abortion, killing families through sex trafficking and violence against our children, disconnecting the child from mom and dad. These spirits are alive and well today, not only in America but across the world.

Rafael Cruz, father of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, declared, “What we see in America right now is an outright attack on Christianity.” Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, decreed that “a few rogue lawyers claiming to be the Supreme Court of the United States of America has no right to act in such a way as to restrict our freedom of religion.” Patterson told the story of a missionary doctor killed by Chinese communists in the 1950s, and declared about religious freedom, “Today the blood of thousands of martyrs calls out to all of us, ‘Do not squander the greatest and most costly gift bequeathed to you by the founders of this nation.’”

They’re Intensely Committed to Enforcing Traditional Gender Roles

The catch-all term used by the global Religious Right for just about everything it doesn’t like is “gender ideology” — something that can encompass opposition to sex education, contraception, abortion, cohabitation, marriage equality and legal recognition for LGBT people.

At WCF, speaker after speaker talked about the “complementarity” between men and women as something that was divinely ordained — grounded biblically in the Genesis creation story in which God made humankind male and female. God’s creation of two genders was cited as a sacred rationale for opposing gay couples being allowed to marry or be parents — and for denying the very existence of transgender people, who were portrayed as sick and pathetic. One of the most reliable ways to try to get a laugh at WCF was to make a joke about Caitlyn Jenner. Rafael Cruz even pulled out the old chestnut that God had created “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Glenn Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, said new findings on gender differences support his basic premise: “that men and women are different, and that men and women need each other in those differences.” As a scientist, he said, he believes there is evidence across cultures of a universal male and female nature. And as a Christian, he said, the issue is a theological one, grounded in the creation story declares humans male and female, who together “uniquely, mysteriously image the nature of God in the world.” He displayed a William Blake painting, “Satan Gazing Upon the Caresses of Adam and Eve” and said:

Satan came to attack humanity, not just by approaching Eve or Adam but what William Blake is telling us here is to attack a couple. He sees that man, he sees that woman, he sees them loving one another, and he says, ‘I know who loved one another, the Trinity, God, and I hate them, so I must break this up.’ The original attack was not on two human beings, it was on a man and a woman. And that attack continues today, because Satan knows what male and female represent.

Theresa Okafor, a WCF representative from Nigeria who was honored at the conference, said the complementarity of the sexes “comes from God.” She complained that Western feminist ideas threaten the family by demonizing patriarchy, blurring lines of gender and making women feel that they are autonomous from men. (In contrast, she cited as one positive example of strong cultural support for the family in Africa the fact that a woman who went to the police to report being beaten by her husband would be told to go home and settle with him.)

Every WCF participant received a copy of the Mormon Church’s 1995 Proclamation of the Family, which portrays men’s roles as providers and women’s as nurturers to be essential to God’s plan. It declares, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

Miriam Grossman is a psychiatrist whose blog identifies her as “One Hundred Percent MD. Zero Percent PC.” She insisted, “A man cannot be transformed into a woman, or a woman into a man. It is simply impossible” and decried that popular culture’s focus on transgender issues was perpetuating a “lie” and a “delusion.”

They Don’t Want To Be Called Anti-Gay While Being Anti-Gay

Well, at least some of them, anyway. Before the conference started, WCF responded to its critics by claiming that being pro-family was not the same as being anti-gay, and declared that it would never support policies that harm individual people. But in fact the program was full of people who have a record of demonizing LGBT people, including those who have actively supported laws that not only criminalize gay sexual activity but even make it a crime for gays to meet with each other or advocate for their rights.

Portraying LGBT people as a threat to children has a decades-long pedigree, including the activism of Anita Bryant, California’s Prop 8 and succeeding state constitutional amendment campaigns, and this week’s vote in Houston, where an anti-discrimination ordinance was rejected after an ugly, dishonest campaign portraying it as an open door to child molesters. Gwen Landolt, a Canadian who has been active in WCF, called it intolerable that innocent children are being “used as tools of social engineering” by being fostered or adopted by gay couples. And she said that children’s character is being deformed because schools are teaching that homosexual relationships are the equal of heterosexual ones.

As BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder pointed out, there’s division within the movement about the usefulness of strident rhetoric that, for example, equates gays with pedophilia. That division was clear at WCF. The opening keynote address was given by Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Ballard explained that Mormon theology of the family is integral to the church’s defense of “traditional marriage,” but he also touted the church’s willingness to back the Utah compromise, an agreement reached earlier this year in which the church supported legal protections against housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in return for the inclusion of broad religious exemptions. Said Ballard,

We demonstrate our best humanity when we show love and kindness to all of God’s children. We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.

Ballard’s standard was violated frequently at WCF, including during its closing keynote from Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma University, whose address was an angry rant against liberal “ideological fascism.” Piper angrily asserted that “the rainbow banner of tolerance has become the dark flag of tyranny almost overnight.” Some conference participants objected to the Utah compromise; Austin Ruse of C-Fam has called it “lunacy” for the Mormon Church to engage in a nonaggression pact with the LGBT movement.

Another voice heard on the opening day of the conference was that of Gov. Gary Herbert, who welcomed participants to Utah, declaring “We are a great state with wonderful people and wonderful families of different varieties in this state.” That was a nod toward the kind of inclusive definition of family that is being ferociously fought by WCF partner groups at the United Nations and other international bodies.  Activists like C-Fam’s Ruse and Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater bragged at WCF about their work to eliminate references to “various forms of the family” from international human rights documents.

They’re Not Going Anywhere: They’re Organized and Organizing and God is on their Side

There was some difference of opinion among WCF speakers, based on where they are from and whether they are more focused on abortion or LGBT issues, about the extent to which they are currently losing or winning the global culture war. But there was virtual unanimity that with God on their side and a commitment to collaborative organizing, they will ultimately be victorious in defeating the LGBT movement, resisting the advance of “gender ideology,” and resurrecting as a cultural norm, protected and promoted in law, the “natural family” — a mom and a dad and a whole lot of children.

Allan Carlson, retiring after years at the head of WCF’s sponsoring organization, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, talked about his forthcoming book, which portrays the weakening and strengthening of family systems in America since 1630 as following 50 year swings.  According to Carlson, we could be “on the cusp of a great wave of new family morality,” poised for a generational upswing— a return to early marriage, appreciation for the complementarity between men and women, and higher fertility. Carlson said the sexual revolution “regime” is “crumbling even at the point where it seems to be winning.”

Warren Cole Smith, a vice president of the Colson Center and co-author of “Restoring All Things,” recounted the story of a friend who received a call from someone nearly in despair after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, saying “it’s over.” Smith recalled his response:

What is over? What exactly is over? Has God left his throne? He has not. Is He not still sovereign? He is. When the Obergefell decision came down from the Supreme Court, did God say, ‘Wow, I sure didn’t see that coming.’? Friends, He did not say that….

The story of the universe God is still writing, the arc of history is still unfolding. Unlike what our friend said, it is not over. And I’ve read the last chapter of the book, and guess what? God wins.

That’s not to say that between now and then we won’t have lots of battles to fight and lots of problems so solve. But I want to be clear, I think we should be happy warriors in this process, knowing that God is indeed building the house. God is indeed on our side. And we have the great joy of participating in what God is doing in the world, if only we will.

The World Congress of Families, with its dozens of partner organizations and more than 3,300 participants from 65 countries, is a dramatic demonstration of the institutional cultural, legal, and political infrastructure that has been built by conservative religious organizations not only in the U.S. but around the globe, with financial and strategic support flowing in all directions. 

Seasoned activists and the hundreds of “emerging leaders” had the opportunity to get training in starting a new organization and raising money online from Ignacio Arsuaga, whose HazteOir and CitizenGo platforms have put social-media organizing techniques developed in the U.S. into the hands of conservatives in Europe and elsewhere with campaigns in an expanding number of languages. Conference attendees could take a workshop on messaging from Frank Schubert, the mastermind of fearmongering strategies used by campaigns against marriage equality in the U.S. They could study networking and coalition building with Alexey Komov, the Russian activist who says that Russia and Eastern Europe, having been helped by Western countries to throw off communism, can now return the favor by helping the West defeat the new totalitarianism of the sexual revolution.


Bradlee Dean Warns America That The 'Gay Agenda' Will 'Pervert All Comprehension'

Anti-gay activist Bradlee Dean claimed that LGBT people “are not ruled by law” on Monday’s episode of his “Sons of Liberty” radio program. Dean criticized the media for spreading the “gay agenda,” and attempting to “pervert all comprehension” and “confuse the younger generations.”

Dean briefly touched on the recent Supreme Court marriage decision, advising listeners that “nothing is good enough” for the LGBT community. “You’re gonna be destroyed by those you tolerate,” Dean warned, before urging his followers to “hold these people responsible because they are sick in the mind.”

His rant also included his theory that society is “using the Bruce Jenners of the world” to distract Americans from God’s teaching. “We’re telling you to wake up!” Dean shouted, before continuing into a tirade against the LGBT community.

Though not a politician himself, Dean has regularly worked with fellow Minnesotan  Michele Bachmann. Dean publicly advocates against LGBT rights, and has previously suggested that gay marriage would usher in another Holocaust.

Gun Lobbyist Ties Charleston Shooting To Transgender Rights

In a radio interview on Monday, Gun Owners of America official Erich Pratt tied the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston to the transgender rights movement, saying both are products of a school system that teaches that “there is no absolute right or wrong.”

“Sadly, I think for a lot of the education that takes place in our country, the kids are being taught, ‘You decide, you decide your own morality.’” he said. “We’re being told that you decide everything from your gender to your own morality.”

This, he said, was the root of the thinking of the Charleston shooter and of Hitler: “Well, if you are in that position where you are autonomous and you decide what’s right and wrong, in this guy’s mind, as sick as it is, he might have thought he was actually doing society a favor. Certainly Hitler did, with his mass murders, he really thought he was doing society a favor. And that’s the problem, if there is no absolute right or wrong. And as we know, that’s not being taught.”

Just one day after the attack in Charleston, Pratt, publicly condemned the church’s slain pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, for his “anti-gun” activism as a state senator. Erich’s father, GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt also blamed Pinckney for leaving his congregation “defenseless” against an attacker.

Paul Kengor Hails Effort To Boycott Elton John Music

Conservative author Paul Kengor appeared on Jan Mickelson’s radio program this week to discuss the public’s response to Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition. Kengor, believing his opinions are representative of Americans writ large, asserted: “I think a lot of people are getting really fed up with a lot of the saturation on marriage, on transgenderism, and all these other things. And the Bruce Jenner situation just strikes a lot of people as weird; they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to deal with it. They’re kind of fed up with it.”

Mickelson, similarly “fed up” with the media “trying to play with our brains over this,” responded that “there’s two different elements to it, Dr. Kengor, and I bet you would agree with this. One is, as I said, the freak show part of it. But the other side is the sense that there are people who are making up and serving this stuff up in order to legitimize or mainstream, or to rewrite the social script.”

Bravely resisting such LGBT indoctrination, Kengor wondered if Jenner’s transition will eventually be revealed as “sort of a farce.” Even if Caitlyn Jenner is not lying about her transgender identity, Kengor says, he still upset about the “juggernaut that’s going on in the culture to redefine literally everything from marriage, to family, to sexuality itself,” especially because we are “dealing with a very tiny minority of people, and they represent a maximum three percent of the population are homosexual, and an even tinier percentage of those actually want to get married, and then a much tinier number still want sex change operations.”

Concerned for the minds of our youth, Mickelson argued they “totally get worked over by a disproportionate amount of content that deals with this statistically insignificant group of people, and you get they’re just playing us. It’s programming.”

“People really are sheep,” Kengor continued, pointing to a Wells Fargo ad about a lesbian couple adopting a deaf child as “a carefully crafted piece of propaganda.”

Mickelson, questioning whether Franklin Graham’s boycott of Wells Fargo over the ad is the right response, asked for Kengor’s sage advice. While Kengor claimed he did not know whether Graham took the right approach or not, he did share the “really interesting thing that happened a few months ago” when “Elton John called out two Italian designers, Dolce and Gabbana, who are gay men – they’re gay designers, fashion designers. And they criticized his adopting of children.”

In response, “Elton John led a bunch of gay marriage brigades  to a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana products. And Dolce and Gabbana just responded by saying ‘listen, ah, we simply believe that every child should have a mother and a father and be brought into a family. We’re gay too,’ they were saying to Elton John.”  Kengor praised the response of the Italian parliament, who supposedly said “‘well let’s boycott all Elton John music.’ And Elton John got his back up about that.” “But,” concluded Kengor, “if you’re gonna do it to one side, then maybe the other side oughta do it to you!”

Peter LaBarbera: Caitlyn Jenner 'Promoting Evil Worldwide'

In an interview with VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program last week, Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality attacked ESPN’s decision to give their Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, saying that rather than displaying bravery, Jenner is “promoting evil worldwide.”

“You know, it’s not bravery to embrace gender confusion and gender rebellion,” LaBarbera told host Jim Schneider. “And let’s, let’s be clear here Jim. First of all, I pity Bruce Jenner, and I need to pray for him, and you need to pray for him, and all the listeners should pray that he finds the Lord and he overcomes this confusion. But once he enters that realm of now saying, which he is, that he wants to be a role model to people all over the world, then he becomes a transgender activist and he’s promoting evil worldwide.”

Kevin Swanson On Caitlyn Jenner: 'This Is The Bondage Of Satan, This Is A Pagan Culture'

Kevin Swanson, an anti-gay pastor and host of Generations Radio, is angry at his conservative brothers and sisters for “sporting this cover of Bruce Jenner” on conservative news sites, a reference to Caitlyn Jenner’s recent Vanity Fair cover. Swanson described to his listeners how “Bruce Jenner in drag is showing up on Vanity Fair, front cover, and I’m sure there are grocery stores all over America sporting Bruce in drag. And let’s just say it, Bruce Jenner looking like a prostitute on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.”

“It’s sickening, sickening,” lamented Swanson, “to be on a website checking the news, your favorite conservative website,” and they “seem to be supporting him by putting his shameful, shameful picture on the front page of their news magazines online. And friends, I’m telling ya, this is shameful. ”

“I am not using the new first name,” Swanson declared. “He’s got a new first name where he’s trying to sport himself as a female. But, of course, this itself is an abomination.” What Swanson recommends to “those who are in a workplace working with those who are trying to transgender is to refer to them by their last name. Do not refer to them by their female name. Don’t play the game.” Swanson warned his listeners that this “is going to subject you to some persecution.” However, Christians have apparently “been persecuted for a very long time, so, for 2,000 years,” and this is just part of preaching God’s word.

Swanson also had advice for how to teach your children about gender identity: “Just say well, now, if your child is standing there next to you, ‘There is Bruce Jenner in drag. That’s a man, in drag.’ Now, I hate to have to bring that up to a seven-year-old, and for that reason I would encourage Christians out there to own grocery stores and do not sport magazines like Vanity Fair, this soft porn stuff, in your grocery stores.” Swanson also “would encourage you to not take your kids into the grocery store if they're sporting pictures of men in drag dressed as prostitutes on the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine right there at the checkout counter. ”

Swanson remarked that “Jenner has set a new Twitter record, at 1 million followers in just the last week or so, so Americans very excited about the latest abomination.” He continued by arguing that “a 64-year-old burned out athlete dressed up like a whore on the front page of Vanity Fair magazine is a rather shameful, embarrassing thing, and seems to me that from the most rational, sane perspective here we’re looking at chaos. We’re looking at God giving them up to a depraved mind here.”

Swanson described how Jenner’s transition “is the corruption of a cadaver, this is the bondage of Satan, this is a pagan culture.” Caitlyn, as Swanson refused to call her, is “dressing up a cadaver. He’s putting lipstick on a cadaver.”

In case you were wondering why Jenner is doing this, Swanson explained that this is due to “the spiritual death that is reflected in the soul of a man who is not regenerated by the spirit of God. And it eventually, all that inside cadaverness, expresses itself externally. And that’s what we’re seeing friends. That’s what we’re seeing in the destruction of sexuality, this sexual nihilism, of the modern world, of this modern, homosexual and transgender movement.”

Swanson’s guest, Adam McManus, elaborated that “when you reject God and you reject everything he’s about…the only thing you are left with are evil and death.” Swanson offered a solution to evil and death, calling on Christians to “take the gospel to this world, remind them they’re dead. Remind them they’re putting lipstick on a cadaver, then bring them to Jesus.” He urged that “we ought to treat our children, or train our children, as the missionaries did when they took their kids to the pagan lands in the 19th century.” There “they homeschooled their kids and they would put the big fences around the compounds in order that their kids would not have regular contact with some of the more edgy elements of pagan culture, so to speak.” According to Swanson, the problem is “we don’t consider ourselves missionaries to a pagan land anymore.” We have to join together to “bring the gospel to these people and teach them to observe whatsoever Jesus has commanded.”

Sandy Rios: Caitlyn Jenner's Transition Is A 'Tragedy,' The 'Saddest Story'

Sandy Rios, the far-right host of American Family Radio’s “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” is unhappy with people expressing their happiness for Caitlyn Jenner. In fact, Rios laments that Jenner’s gender transition is “a human tragedy” and “probably one of the saddest stories on the news sites this week.”

Rios warned her listeners this morning that they would “see today, if you haven’t already, that the cover of Vanity Fair is the new Bruce Jenner, calling himself Caitlyn Jenner. It’s, uh, a photo spread done by Annie Leibovitz, who’s a very famous photographer.”

This sentiment, as well as the inability to use the correct pronouns, was echoed by evangelist Franklin Graham, who took to Facebook today to critique Vanity Fair’s coverage of Jenner, claiming that “the author talks as if Bruce and his newly chosen identity of ‘Caitlyn’ are two separate people. Bruce’s son Burt said, ‘I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce.’ The article also says Jenner openly acknowledges mistakes made with his children as Bruce, ‘and expresses genuine regret.’”

But Graham has “news for them,” insisting that “changing the outside doesn’t change the inside. No man-made modification can fix what’s wrong with the heart. Only God can fix the human heart. If we ask for His forgiveness and accept by faith His Son, Jesus Christ, He will wipe the slate clean. The Bible says, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).”


In Vanity Fair’s cover story about Bruce Jenner’s gender change, the author talks as if Bruce and his newly chosen...

Posted by Franklin Graham on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Conservative Sports Group Warns Bruce Jenner Will 'Embolden' Athletes To 'Defy Biblical Standards'

Steve McConkey of the 4 Winds sports ministry, a group that resists moves toward LGBT rights in sports, issued a press release this weekend criticizing Bruce Jenner for “promoting sin” and sending a “very bad message to the kids of America.”

McConkey said that the Olympian-turned-reality-TV-star’s reported transition to a woman “is another indication of where sports is headed” after the International Olympic Committee allowed some transgender people to compete in the games, which he lamented “has directly or indirectly emboldened former and current athletes to proudly defy biblical standards.”

"Kids will have another sports hero who is confused and the saga will be broadcast throughout the world,” McConkey said. “Pray for Bruce Jenner and against television networks for promoting sin."

4 WINDS sports minister Steve McConkey believes this is another indication of where sports is headed after the International Olympic Committee allowed transgenders in the Olympics in 2003. The IOC decision has directly or indirectly emboldened former and current athletes to proudly defy biblical standards.

Thirty-three state high school organizations have already approved transgenders on sports teams. A boy now can compete as a girl and a girl as a boy. Jenner's decision will only increase the confusion as kids look up to athletes as examples. Steve believes Christians will face discrimination if they believe homosexuality is a sin.

Jenner won his decathlon gold medal at the 1976 Olympics with a world-record 8,616 points. He received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.

"An athlete of Bruce Jenner's stature becoming a transgender will send a very bad message to the kids of America," says Steve McConkey. "Kids will have another sports hero who is confused and the saga will be broadcast throughout the world. Pray for Bruce Jenner and against television networks for promoting sin."

Fischer: People Recoil At Transgenderism Because God Does

Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio broadcast today with a discussion of Deuteronomy 22, in particular the prohibition against women wearing men's clothes or men wearing women's clothes, asserting that this is God's way of saying that He does not approve of transgenderism, which is why people recoil upon seeing transgender individuals.

Deuteronomy 22: 5 states:

A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

Fischer assured his audience that this does not apply to people who are just "fooling around" by dressing up as the opposite sex or prohibit unisex styles of clothing, but rather it is a prohibition on people presenting themselves as members of the opposite sex, because doing so in "an abomination."

"What the word 'abomination' refers to is this just internal kind of glitch that we get when we see that," Fischer said. "That comes from God because God reacts to that the same way that we do. We see transgenderism on display and there's something inside us that recoils against that. There's something inside us that says that is not normal. There's something inside us that says that is not right. And God feels exactly the same way about that as we do. That inner recoil that we experience when we see that on display, we got that capacity from God because we are made in his image":

Just last week, Fischer made a very similar argument for why people supposedly recoil at the thought of "homosexual behavior."

Phil Burress: Nondiscrimination Laws Let 'A Mentally Disturbed Person' 'Be Around Women And Girls'

Phil Burress, head Citizens for Community Values, the Ohio affiliate of the Family Research Council, told Religious Right activist Molly Smith this week that a proposal to expand Cleveland’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections for transgender people would allow “mentally disturbed” people to “be around women and girls in a women’s restroom.”

“A transgender person is a mental disorder,” Burress insisted, adding “it would take someone who has a mental disorder that would want to walk into a women’s bathroom in the first place.”

“This is directly tied to the same-sex unions, the same-sex marriage debates,” he concluded. “This is exactly what they want, they want to force you to comply.”

Burress also falsely claims that the new regulations would apply to churches.

Speaker Boehner's Secret Vault

Six months later, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is still locked away by House GOP leadership. Take action with People For the American Way.

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The final Senate votes on ENDA will take place tomorrow, starting at 11:45 am EST. Now is your last chance to call your senators. There are more instructions here and here, and you can always reach both of them by dialing 202-224-3121. Don’t forget to sign our petition. The time is now – say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists – pass ENDA!

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Today's speeches have already begun, and amendment votes are also in progress. Please keep calling the Senate. There are more instructions here and here, and you can always reach both of your senators by dialing 202-224-3121. Don’t forget to sign our petition. The time is now – say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists – pass ENDA!

Scenes from the floor on the first day of ENDA debate

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