Sunday, December 30, 2012

Anti-gay non-profits

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 (http://guydads.blogspot.com/2008/12/anti-gay-companies.html).

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: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/opinion/scoutings-gay-founder.html?_r=0

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: http://www.splcenter.org/


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: http://www.myphilanthropedia.org/top-nonprofits/national/lgbt-equality-and-support/2012

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