Anti-LGBTQ hate groups on the rise in 2019: SPLC
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) warned in a report that the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups are up by 43 percent in 2019, from 49 in 2018 to 70 last year.
The SPLC’s warning was part of their annual report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism,” identifying 940 active hate groups across the US in 2019.
Anti-LGBTQ hate groups and the Trump administration
Overall, there was a slight decline from 1,020 hate groups in 2018. However, SPLC noted there was an increase in white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant hate groups.
“Groups that vilify the LGBTQ community, in fact, represented the fastest-growing sector among hate groups in 2019,” the report stated.
The report further noted the surge was “possibly fueled by continued anti-LGBTQ sentiment and policy emanating from government officials.”
“Anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with the Trump administration, and– after years of civil rights progress and growing acceptance among the broader American public– anti-LGBTQ sentiment within the Republican Party is rising,” the report pointed out.
“Though Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of dismantling federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people,” the report warned.
The SPLC defines a hate group as “an organization that– based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities–has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”
However, while SPLC lists extremists, it doesn’t include groups that believe that being LGBTQ is unbiblical or simply oppose marriage equality.
Trump administration lashes back at SPLC
In response to the SPLC report, White House spokesman Judd Deere told NBC News that the SPLC was a “far-left smear organization” and their “comments are disgusting.”
Deere cited Trump’s track record on LGBTQ issues, saying he has “fought for inclusion and repeatedly condemned hate and violence.”
“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 said.
“He launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality,” he added. “And the president has made the bold declaration that we are committed to ending HIV transmissions in the United States within 10 years.”
Replying to criticism that SPLC is spreading hate during a pandemic, SPLC spokesperson Lecia Brooks said: “Fighting hate is something we have to keep at the forefront of our minds. They don’t take a break, and we don’t take a break either.”
Anti-LGBTQ hate groups and religious conservatives
The SPLC report revealed that most of the new anti-LGBTQ hate groups came from grassroots churches, with 70 of the hate groups being well-established.
One example of the churches was Steven Anderson’s Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, which believes that “homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.”
Another is Westboro Baptist Church, which is known for its public protests that proclaim homophobic messages.
Other– more established– hate groups the SPLC reported were the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the “pattern of escalating attacks” has put the LGBTQ movement on the defensive.
Minter further said this has caused advocacy groups to invest a “tremendous amount of resources to deal with these attacks.”
Here is a complete list of hate groups tagged by SPLC as anti-LGBTQ.