Sunday, December 30, 2012

Anti-gay non-profits

Now with no gays over 18.
This is a summary of some of the best know anti-gay non-profits in the United States. I have written previously about anti-gay companies and business (

Anti-gay non-profits come in several varieties. There are several well-known, widely supported organizations that for the most part either hide or play down their hatred and discriminatory policies toward the LGBT community. Then there are smaller, lesser-known, organizations that embrace their anti-gay policies and mission.

The best-known anti-gay non-profit is the Boy Scouts of America.  BSA was founded in the US in 1910. It was based on the British youth organization founded by Robert Baden-Powell. Ironically, there has been much speculation that Baden-Powell was a closeted gay man. See NY Times story:

In 2000, the US Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that the Boy Scouts as a private organizations has the right to set discriminatory membership standards. In 2004, the BSA adopted a new policy statement that including the following as part of their "Youth Leadership" policy:
"Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting's values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position."

Meanwhile, other organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and even the U.S. Armed Forces, have put an end to such discrimination. Even Scouting in other parts of the world don’t have these discrimination issues. Canada, Australia and most of the European associations do not have restricts on membership or leadership.

Because of BSA’s discriminatory policies they are continually losing public and private support. Some of the long-term corporate and charitable donors they have lost include: Chase Manhattan Bank, Levi Strauss, Fleet Bank, CVS/pharmacy, Pew Charitable Trusts, Intel, UPS Foundation, Merck & Co., and about 50 United Ways.

It is unlike that the leadership of the national BSA will change its policies any time soon. It is heavily under the influence and control of leaders from the Mormon and Catholic churches.
UPDATE: In 2013, BSA's national governing body voted to rescind the long-standing ban on homosexual youth in the program. Beginning January 2014, "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." Leaders are still excluded. In response, a new scouting group was formed in September 2013 that is separate from BSA and will exclude both gay youth and adults. It is called Trail Life USA.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. It was founded in 1882 and named in honor of Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to low-income immigrant Catholics, it developed into a fraternal service organization dedicated to providing charitable services, promoting Catholic education and actively defending Catholicism in various nations.

Recently however, it has been spending millions of dollars on anti gay causes.  In California’s 2008 election the Knights of Columbus attracted media attention when they donated more than $1.4 million to Proposition 8, becoming the largest financial supporter of Proposition 8 which succeeded in banning marriages between same-sex couples in the state.

Between 2005 and 2012, the Knights of Columbus has provided more than $15.8 million dollars towards anti-gay initiatives providing $6.25 million directly to anti-marriage equality efforts and $9.6 million to organizations to build a conservative religious and political culture to oppose efforts for marriage equality.

The Salvation Army is technically not a charity but a large church and, as such, operates under less financial scrutiny. This “non-profit” religious organization is anti-gay and actively lobbies against pro-gay legislation in the US and abroad. The money they raise from their red kettles is going to anti-gay evangelical Christian lobbyists. They believe that since they're a "church" they have the right to not hire gay people because they are sinners. Salvation Army reserves the right to discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing gay people, and in the benefits they provide their employees. And they come right out and admit that "practicing homosexuals" are not welcome in the "church."

A fairly new charity is Invisible Children. The organization was founded in 2004 to bring awareness to the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa, and its leader, Joseph Kony. Specifically, the group seeks to put an end to the practices of child abductions and abuse, and forcing children to serve as soldiers. On appearances this is an honorable and worthwhile endeavor. This charity is behind the film about the Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony called “Kony 2012.”

However it doesn’t take long for red flags to be raised about this charity. The leadership and primary funders of the organization are rabidly anti-gay Christians. Public IRS tax forms and yearly reports document funding and support from far-right groups that staunchly oppose gay rights. There are also numerous ties to Ugandan groups and individuals that promote the "Anti Homosexual Bill" also known as the “kill the gays” bill, which would make homosexuality punishable by death.

Mercy Ministries is an international, Christian and charitable organization that was founded in Tennessee in 1983. It offers a six month residential treatment program for young women aged between 13 and 28 who struggle with various “life controlling” issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, and a number of psychological issues, including “lesbianism.” Mercy Ministries operates their residential pseudo-psychological program without the benefit of oversight or regulation.

Mercy Ministries take a pro-life and anti-gay stance in their faith-based approach. They practice gay conversion therapies for treating women who identify as lesbian or who have sexual identity issues. Clients must follow lengthy and bizarre rules. Some of those rules stem from Mercy Ministries’ obsession with homosexuality: No physical contact, no supportive hugging, no shoulder to cry on. The residential program housed three women to a bedroom, but they were not allowed to change clothes if another person was in the room. Like many fundamentalist Christian groups Mercy has a very hateful message to lesbian young women who attend the program: Being gay is a sin and could be a “root cause” of your mental disorder.

Both the Salvation Army, Mercy Ministries, and Invisible Children have sent spokespeople out into the media to whitewash their true anti-gay stances. Their position basically comes down to the slogan “love the sinner, hate the sin” nonsense. This is a coded response to put down LGBT people.

There are a lot of non-profit groups and fundraising organizations that are not shy in expressing their hatred and homophobia. This is a list from Southern Poverty Law Center:

  • Abiding Truth Ministries of Springfield, MA
  • American Family Association
  • Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
  • American Vision of Powder Springs, GA
  • Bethesda Christian Institute of San Antonio, TX
  • Chalcedon Foundation of Vallecito, CA
  • Christian Anti-Defamation Commission of Vista, CA
  • Concerned Women for America of Washington, DC
  • Dove World Outreach Center, Gainesville, FL
  • Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, AZ
  • Family Research Council of Washington, DC
  • Family Research Institute of Colorado Springs, CO
  • Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment of Downers Grove, IL
  • Illinois Family Institute of Carol Stream, IL
  • Jewish Political Action Committee of Brooklyn, NY
  • Liberty Counsel of Orlando FL
  • MassResistance of Waltham, MA
  • Mission: America of Columbus, OH
  • National Organization for Marriage
  • Parents Action League of Champlin, MN
  • Public Advocate of the United States of Falls Church, VA
  • Tom Brown Ministries of El Paso, TX
  • Traditional Values Coalition of Anaheim, CA
  • True Light Pentecost Church of Spartanburg, SC
  • Truth in Action Ministries (formally Coral Ridge Ministries) of Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Save California of Sacramento, CA
  • Sons of Thundr (Faith Baptist Chruch) of Luthersville, GA
  • United Families International of Gilbert, AZ
  • Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS
  • Windsor Hills Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, OK
  • You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide of Annandale, MN

For more information about these hate groups see:

So, where do you find pro-gay non-profits? Here is a recent list of outstanding groups evaluated by Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar. GuideStar is a central source of information on US non-profits.

  • Lambda Legal
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLESEN)
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
  • Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
  • Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders (SAGE)
  • Williams Institute 
  • Human Rights Campaign Foundation
  • Transgender Law Center
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Freedom to Marry
  • The Trevor Project
  • Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
  • Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP)
  • CenterLink

For more information about these groups and others, see:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Same-sex marriage pioneer

Richard Adams (left) with Anthony Sullivan in 1984. 
I just saw this obituary about the fascinating life of Richard Adams. I don’t usually just repost news stories but this is too interesting. On December 17, 2012, Richard Adams passed away at the age of 65. He is survived by his partner of over 40 years, Tony Sullivan.

What makes this story truly fascinating is that this couple was dealing with marriage and immigration equality back in the mid-1970s.

The NY Times obituary shares his and his partners amazing story:
In April 1975, Mr. Adams and his partner, Tony Sullivan, wed in Colorado, one of a half-dozen gay couples granted marriage licenses there by the Boulder County clerk’s office. Though Boulder County stopped issuing such licenses almost immediately, the couple’s marriage, which lasted until Mr. Adams’s death, was never legally voided. 
Their case, in which a marriage between same-sex partners is recognized on the state level but not the federal, prefigured the current national debate over gay marriage by almost 40 years.  
The two men had leapt at the chance to marry in the hope of securing permanent resident status for Mr. Sullivan, an Australian citizen.
But when, after the wedding, they submitted an application to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, as the agency was then known, they received this official reply:
“You have failed to establish,” the letter read, “that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”

To learn more about Immigration Equality visit

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cocks, Roosters and Hens of Key West

Key West has a symbiotic relationship with these free-range fowl. According to histories, these gypsy chickens first appeared in the late 1800’s when Cubans immigrated to the island to work in cigar factories. The chickens were first raised for food, eggs, and cockfighting.  Many were set free from their pens when market-bought commodities became cheap and easy. Today they roam the business districts and residential neighborhoods of Key West. They are also quite the artistic inspiration and souvenir keepsakes of the island. There isn’t a gay man on the island of Key West that doesn’t host or honor one of these cocks in his home.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Island House, Key West, FL

Island House in Key West, FL.
We have been reading and hearing about Island House ( in Key West for years. We’ve seen the ads in the gay travel press, read Joe.My.God’s blog about his visits there and even listened to the great recommendation given by the staff at our favorite gay resort, Pineapple Point in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We just finished a 5-day stay at Island House and had a great time. It was my first time to Key West. Eddie had spent a day in Key West years ago as part of a cruise ship excursion.

Island House is a nearly an all-inclusive, clothing optional, gay resort. The complex has a full service bar (with generous 'happy hour' drinks) and excellent restaurant around the pool. Facilities include whirlpools, steam and dry sauna, sun deck, gym, an adult video room, and nicely appointed rooms with comfortable beds.

The staff was helpful, friendly and cheerful. The other guests were a fun, eclectic mix of men.  Ages range from early twenties to eighties. Despite marketing materials that imply only gorgeous male models stay there, the true body types ranged from waifish thin to hunky muscular to bearish big.

Gay blogger Joe Jervis of “” was there the same time as us. We enjoyed meeting and talking to him. He published a conversation he heard poolside in his blog ( ):
“Yesterday, as an older couple situated themselves poolside at the Island House in Key West, I overheard a young, muscular handsome boy say something quite disparaging regarding their arrival.  Those ugly words had hardly left his lips when the apparent leader of his coterie of five equally beautiful men chastised him angrily, poking a finger in the subject's chest: "Darling, if you are very, very lucky, you can only hope that one day, maybe, you and I and all of us will be around to enjoy a place like this when we are their age. Don't throw shade, honey. See yourself in them." The speaker's friends nodded vigorously and first boy cast his eyes downward in embarrassment.”

An afternoon around the pool

A view from the breakfast table


Enjoying the sun deck

Resort is located at the corner of Fleming and White Streets in Key West.

Indoor sauna

Old photos from the late '70's

Our room at Island House.

A cool drink by the pool is very refershing.

Outdoor spa.
Weight room.
Most of our gay friends have commented on that Key West is not as gay as it used to be. However, if you have never been there you will find it to be plenty gay. There are still many gay-male guesthouses, gay bars and clubs, and gay events. During the last couple decades, more and more cruise ships stop there, which has resulted in the increase of t-shirt and souvenir shops and commercialization of what was once was a sleepy and quaint gay local. Gay enclaves all over the country are assimilating into the surrounding community. Change is inevitable. Our advice is don’t lament the past, instead seek out, enjoy and support the gay community that is there. Don’t hesitate to visit and patronize gay businesses in Key West.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hanukkah 2012

Our menorahs for Hanukkah. 
We have reached the end of another Hanukkah celebration. Here is a quick summary of our latke dinners.
The first night was a combined Hanukkah and birthday celebration. Three kids were with us along with my parents. We celebrated the birthdays of our oldest daughter and my mother. We all had a fun time sharing stories and laughter. Eddie’s Hanukkah menu:
Garlic & rosemary potato latkes,
Cheese rice latkes
Cinnamon apple latkes.

Second night of Hanukkah was with two gay couples. Eddie’s menu:
Potato Latke Crusted Sole with Cucumber Dill Sauce,
Lentil Latkes with Golden Onion & Yogurt Cheese Topping,
Mixed Vegetable & Wild Rice Latkes,
Roasted Ginger Carrot Latkes.

Third night was with our best friend and neighbor.
Smoked Salmon Latkes with Dill Sauce,
Mushroom & Pecan Latkes,
Southwestern Sweet Potato Latkes with Sour Cream Lime Sauce.

Fourth night we went to the theatre.

Fifth night our guests could not make it so it was just my hubby and I. We lit candles and ate only 2 kinds of latkes:
Tuna latkes
Apple/potato latkes with cinnamon maple cream.

Sixth night was with long time friends from synagogue.
Potato-Crusted Hake Cakes with Garlic Mayonnaise,
Curried Sweet Potato Latkes,
Giant Herbed Mixed Veggie Latke Topped with Sauteed Mushrooms,
Spinach Silver-Dollar Latkes with Feta Cheese Sauce

Seventh and eights nights we packed and traveled to Florida to spend the rest of the year in Key West and Fort Lauderdale. Happy New Year!

Don’t forget to check out my hubby’s “Eight tips for healthy, low-fat and low-calorie latkes”.

For your musical enjoyment, here are two new Hanukkah videos:

The Maccabeats - Shine – Hanukkah

Matisyahu Performs "Happy Hanukkah" from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Monday, December 10, 2012


Last Thursday my husband sang with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus for their holiday concert at Davies Symphony Hall in SF. The chorus, over 250 members, sang with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. Here are several videos taken by an audience member.




More photos from the concert:

Start of concert. Eddie in the aisle.
They also raised over $11,000 at intermission for Make a Wish Foundation. One of the chorus members is a cancer-survivor from childhood who, along with his family, was a recipient of a Make-a-Wish trip as a child. This is a really moving story featured on our local NBC news channel.
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