These anti-LGBTQ groups got more than $2 million in virus relief loans

1443
Advertisement

Several of the organizations have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

More than $2.6 million in taxpayer money appropriated for saving small businesses during the pandemic has gone to anti-LGBTQ organizations, analysis of Small Business Administration data reveals.

The Paycheck Protection Program, passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, provided hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable loans to American businesses.

Donald Trump, on signing the bill, said it would "keep our small businesses strong and our big businesses strong. And that's keeping our country strong and our jobs strong."

Advertisement

On Monday, the Small Business Administration released the names of every business that received at least $150,000 in loans.

The list included three groups that have been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-LGBTQ hate groups. It also included at least five other organizations with a history of working against LGBTQ rights.

Chris Fleming, spokesperson for Accountable for Equality, which works to educate the public about anti-LGBTQ extremists, said in an email this week that some of the groups have gone so far as to oppose including sexual orientation and gender identity protections in anti-lynching and hate crimes laws.

"I don't think it's a stretch to say that tax payer funds shouldn't go to support groups that defend killing gay people," he wrote. "Public funds have no business pushing tax paying Americans out of the public square, let alone promoting hate and violence. These groups promote the marginalization of LGBT people."

In total, the eight groups received between $2,650,000 and $6,400,000 through the PPP program.

Here's who's on the list.

American Family Association

The American Family Association received between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 in PPP loans.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as working toward "'combating the homosexual agenda' through various means, including publicizing companies that have pro-gay policies and organizing boycotts against them."

A recent post on the American Family Association website decries backers of "science," claiming that they "rush to legitimize the feminist-LGBTQ agenda, they ignore clear, scientific reality regarding life and sex," and "work to prevent anyone from having hope for recovery of natural sexuality."

The group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Center for Arizona Policy

The Center for Arizona Policy received between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP loans.

The Arizona-based group's website calls LGBTQ non-discrimination laws "a sword against individuals, businesses, and organizations who have a historic understanding of marriage and gender."

The group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Concerned Women for America

The Concerned Women for America received between $150,000 and $350,000. The group's website claims that the Equality Act — a federal bill to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination — would "erase the protected category of sex which has been a foundation for securing the rights and opportunities of women in the US."

The CWA also did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Dr. James Dobson Family Institute

The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute received between $350,000 and $1,000,000 in PPP funding.

Dobson, who is also the founder of the anti-LGBTQ group Focus on the Family, condemned the Equality Act on the institute's website, calling it "a thinly veiled attempt to finish off religious liberty in America once and for all, which ought to be plainly obvious based upon a cursory reading of the First Amendment."

He claimed the legislation would "place Christians who believe in traditional marriage at grave legal and civil jeopardy."

The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

First Liberty Institute

The First Liberty Institute received between $350,000 and $1,000,000 in PPP loan money.

An October post on the group's website defended employers seeking the legal right to discriminate against LGBTQ people, specifically targeting transgender individuals.

"These Americans may struggle to articulate why they oppose allowing biological males who identify as female to use the women's locker room with the smoothness of a slick politician," the group wrote. "To them, it's just common sense: Men are men, and women are women."

The group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Liberty Counsel

The Liberty Counsel received between $350,000 and $1,000,000.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Liberty Counsel as "a legal organization advocating for anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty." Its website has a page on "protecting marriage & family," arguing that marriage is only a "bond between one man and one woman."

Elsewhere on its site, the group claims that "homosexual conduct can result in significant damage to those involved who engage in such conduct. There is no evidence that a person is born homosexual. And there is evidence that people can change."

It did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Pacific Justice Institute

The Pacific Justice Institute, a designated hate group, received between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP loan money.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as an "anti-LGBT hate group" that has "compared legalized gay marriage to Hitler and the Nazis’ ascent in Germany; endorsed so-called 'reparative' or sexual orientation conversion therapy; claimed marriage equality would lead to legal polygamy and incest; fought against protections for trans children and fabricated a story of harassment by a trans student; and said that LGBT History Month promotes gay pornography to children."

The group's website attacks the Equality Act as "an intolerant abomination disguised as a gift for human rights."

The group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The Family Leader Foundation

The Family Leader Foundation received between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP loans.

The group is the 501(c)(3) "charitable" arm of Bob Vander Plaats' Iowa-based THE FAMiLY LEADER operation, which has argued Black children born into slavery were better off than those in single parent homes today.

The Family Leader Foundation website explicitly states that it "affirms sexual relations within the bond of marriage, and opposes distortions of sexuality or special rights to those practicing distorted sexual behavior."

It did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.