This article by Kelsey Harkness appeared in the Daily Signal, and it’s a must-read.
More than 25 prominent leaders of the national LGBT movement, including elected officials and other influential voices, gathered for the four-day event called the Equality Forum.
The Daily Signal attended several panel discussions featuring speakers such as Janson Wu, executive director of the advocacy group GLAD; James Esseks, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and AIDS project at the American Civil Liberties Union; and Evan Wolfson, former president of Freedom to Marry, a campaign largely credited with winning the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Looking forward, speakers said, priorities include defeating “anti-LGBT” bills, supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth through new school policies and curriculum and partnering with outside organizations on minority-driven issues such as gun control and criminal justice reform. They called for Congress to amend the Civil Rights Act to add protections in places of public accommodation, among other changes.
LGBT advocacy groups also are involved in an array of lawsuits they believe could have a major impact, including a Pennsylvania case where a transgender women alleges discrimination by her former employer.
Kelsey has a four point list summarizes the main priorities of the gay rights movement:
- Passing the Equality Act
- Defeating State and Local Laws
- Going to Court
- Partnering With Black Lives Matter and Others
The biggest threat LGBT leaders said they’re facing is what they call “anti-LGBT” legislation proposed by conservatives in state and local governments.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, many people of faith concluded they needed laws to protect their conscience rights so that they can run businesses, adoption agencies, and charity organizations in accord with their deeply held religious beliefs.
Specifically, these state laws—which advocates call Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) after the 1993 federal law—aim to protect from discrimination or punishment those who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage, and that gender identity is based on biological sex.
Wolfson, who spent decades advocating same-sex marriage, didn’t pay much mind to those concerns.
“Religion is not the reason people are bigots,” he said. “It’s the excuse.”
With more than 200 such measures popping up last year, Equality Forum panelists said they were dealt a major challenge from opponents who they believe are trying to use religion as a reason to discriminate.
“We knew there was going to be a backlash, but the backlash was bigger than I thought it was going to be,” the ACLU’s Esseks said, speaking of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision. “That’s an enormous onslaught of organized legislative activity coming at us.”
To defeat their opponents, LGBT groups plan to go state by state to strike down religious freedom measures and, instead, implement their own laws on sexual orientation and gender identity. They said they intend to do this until new federal law or court decisions negate that necessity.
“The national conversation around this is night and day different from where it was last fall,” Esseks said, expressing confidence the tide is shifting in their favor. “We finally got over being awkward and shy about talking about restrooms.”
Hillary Clinton has previously said that religious liberty and conscience is no defense to being forced to fund abortions. There’s no reason to think that she has any objection to using the law and the courts to compel Christians and conservatives to celebrate and participate in the agenda of the gay activists.