The number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups grew 43% in 2019 – White House says that’s a “far-left smear”

The White House said that it’s “disgusting” to call them out for associating with and promoting anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

 

By Alex Bollinger

 

LGBTQ Nation (02.04.2020) – https://bit.ly/2xXKY8v – Anti-LGBTQ hate groups are on the rise in the U.S., according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), but the Trump administration is calling it a “far-left smear.”

 

The SPLC released its 2019 “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, which says that the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups rose by 43% since 2018. It is now following 70 anti-LGBTQ hate groups in the U.S.

 

“The Trump administration has demonstrated a clear willingness to embrace their leaders and their policy agenda,” the SPLC report states, referring to how Trump administration officials have filed legal briefs on behalf of hate groups, spoken at events organized by hate groups, nominated judges connected to hate groups, and even hiring former hate group employees to work in key civil rights positions.

 

“According to a report by Lambda Legal, a third of the more than 50 U.S. circuit court judges nominated by Trump have a ‘demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ bias,’” the SPLC report says. “Lambda argues that the justice system is ‘now indisputably in a state of crisis.’”

 

The report says that much of the growth in anti-LGBTQ hate groups has taken place “at the grassroots level” and cites Steven Anderson and his Faithful Word Baptist Church as an example. Anderson has been banned from 33 countries due to his hate speech – which includes calling the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting “disgusting homosexuals… worthy of death” – and his organization was just added to the SPLC’s list of hate groups.

 

Out White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere – who is on-board when it comes to Trump’s anti-LGBTQ equality agenda – called the report “disgusting.”

 

“While the radical left has pushed false accusations that LGBTQ Americans are threatened, the president has hired and promoted LGBTQ Americans to the highest levels of government, including positions at the White House, Cabinet agencies, and ambassadorships,” Deere told NBC News.

 

Deere also cites Trump’s “global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality” – an initiative that the White House announced but took few discernible steps to advance and that has had no successes – and his “bold declaration” to end HIV transmissions in the next 10 years, a promise experts are skeptical Trump’s policies will achieve.

 

One anti-LGBTQ hate group tracked by the SPLC, the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that it was “appalling” to release the report during the coronavirus pandemic and said that the SPLC should “retract the report.”

 

“Stop sowing division and join the rest of America against our common foe: COVID-19,” said a spokesperson for ADF, a group that is currently fighting a legal battle to ban transgender girls from competing in school sports.

 

A group that merely opposes LGBTQ legislation will not appear on the SPLC’s list of hate groups. It has to “attack or malign” LGBTQ people in its actions or official communications, often by associating homosexuality with pedophilia, calling for death to LGBTQ people, and saying that LGBTQ people are a threat to children. Hate speech, the SPLC argues, is often a precursor to violence.

 

“We are not against Christian groups,” said the SPLC’s Lecia Brooks. “For us, it’s more about the way they go out of their way to demonize LGBTQ folks.”

 

“Sadly, there is not enough public outcry against anti-LGBTQ groups because we have just let it go saying, ‘That’s just their religion.’”




Swiss vote to approve legislation to protect LGBTQ+ rights

Referendum approves law that was passed in 2018 but was opposed by rightwing parties.

By Philip Oltermann

 

The Guardian (09.02.2020) – https://bit.ly/3bpkhcc – Swis voters have given their backing in a referendum to extending anti-racism legislation to cover sexual orientation, defying critics who had claimed such a move would be an infringement of free speech.

 

Unlike many of its western European neighbours, Switzerland has no law in force that specifically protects LGBTQ+ people from discrimination or hate speech.

 

A law passed by the country’s government in December 2018 was designed to close this loophole. However, an alliance of rightwing parties including the conservative Christian Federal Democratic Union (EDU) and the nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) opposed the law change and sought a referendum to prevent it from coming into effect.

 

On flyers and on posters, opponents framed the law as a “gagging clause” that would restrict freedom of speech and demote gay and bisexual members of society to a “weak minority in need of protection”.

 

Switzerland has a long tradition of holding plebiscites on issues that can range from major foreign policy decisions to the building of a new school. Votes are usually held on three to four dates spread across the year.

 

In Sunday’s vote, 63.1% of the public voted in favour of expanding the anti-discrimination law, though the results revealed splits across the linguistically and cultural heterogenous state. In the German-speaking cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Appenzell-Innerrhoden, there were majorities in favour of blocking the law. In French-speaking Vaud, by contrast, the law was endorsed by an emphatic 80% of the voting public.

 

Under the new law, those who “publicly degrade or discriminate” others on the basis of their sexual orientation, for example by denying same-sex couples entry to a nightclub, could face a jail sentence of up to three years. The law does not affect private conversations such as among friends or family.

 

Several European countries such as Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland and the UK already have similar legislation in place.

 

LOS, an advocacy group representing Swiss lesbian, bisexual and queer women, welcomed the referendum result. “We have won, and how! Next stop: same-sex marriage,” it said.

 

Switzerland and Italy are the last two countries in western Europe where gay marriage is not legal. Both countries offer same-sex couples the option of civil unions but not full marriage.

 

In a separate referendum, Swiss voters on Sunday rejected an initiative calling for at least 10% of new housing to be built by not-for-profit cooperatives in an attempt to reduce the cost of living. The proposal was rejected by 57.1% of the voting public.