Disagreements over the roles and rights of LGBTQ individuals in society are not enough for us to label an organization anti-LGBTQ: It is the intersection of beliefs with actions taken based on those beliefs that help us (and others) make that determination.
Several of the organizations listed below advocate for the criminalization and penalization of LGBTQ individuals, and for the use of so-called “reparative therapy,” which seeks to “convert” individuals to heterosexuality or “gender norms” as an alternative to being LGBTQ.
The passage of time has seen society’s understanding of its LGBTQ members’ place within their communities evolve for the better, but these organizations are a forceful reminder that the struggle for LGBTQ rights remains an uphill battle.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF): Designate a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center–and founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right–ADF is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ+adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Trump, ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBTQ+ rights.
Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI): The ATCSI is a new name for an old organization: the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). NARTH is now billed as an institute within the ATCSI. While the name has changed, the mission–to promote the antiquated view that homosexuality is a mental disorder, and to promote the use of reparative therapy–remains the same. This is in spite of the fact that reparative therapy has been declared unethical and dangerous by all major mainstream mental health and medical professional associations.
American College of Pediatricians: This fringe group of medical professionals should not be confused with the mainstream American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). The latter states that being LGBTQ is a normal aspect of human diversity, while the former espouses solely anti-LGBTQ ideology. The ACP formed in 2002 in opposition to the AAP’s support of adoption by LGBTQ parents. Recent press releases include “Medical Coalition opposes Comprehensive Sex Education” and “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” demonstrating a continued commitment to anti-LGBTQ beliefs and practices.
American Family Association: The American Family Association (AFA) was originally founded as the National Federation for Decency, and initially focused on pornography and perceived indecency in television programs. Among the “traditional moral values” the organization claims to promote are falsehoods about AIDS as a “gay plague,” furthering the myth that people who are gay were responsible for the Holocaust, that the government is promoting LGBTQ behavior, and that pro-LGBTQ organizations are anti-Christian hate groups. The AFA maintains ties to a number of affiliates that include Agape Press, American Family Radio, and AFA Journal, and has often advocated for boycotts of companies supportive of LGBTQ rights, including JC Penney, Disney, K-Mart, and NBC. They also maintain an online presence through One Million Moms, who claim to be fighting to protect children from “indecency” in media.
Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH): was founded in 1996 by Peter LaBarbera, who had founded The Lambda Report three years earlier. LaBarbera has also been affiliated with the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the Illinois Family Institute, which he left in 2006 in order to focus his efforts on AFTAH. His organization also boosts the work of the discredited Family Research Institute. He has compared homosexuality to addiction, and has falsely asserted not only that there is “a disproportionate incidence of pedophilia” among gay men, but also that a proposed equality bill in California was intended to actively promote an LGBTQ “lifestyle” to children.
Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC): The CADC, founded by Army Gen. William Hollis (retired) and currently run by Rev. Gary Cass, answers seemingly every claim of homophobia with an equal and opposite claim of Christophobia. The group has found “evidence” of anti-Christian bigotry in (in no particular order) LGBTQ service in the military, hate crimes legislation, marriage equality, Islam and the separation of Church and State.
Christian Communication Network: CCN is a public relations firm run by Gary L. McCullough, who cut his teeth as the press agent for the parents of Terri Schiavo, and for the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. The organization maintains a close relationship with the Family Research Institute (see below), often acting as a clearinghouse for the work of FRI head Paul Cameron. For his part, McCullough has stated that homosexuality is “a destructive behavior”.
Concerned Women for America: Long before Tim LaHaye shot to fame and fortune peddling the Left Behind series of novels, Beverly LaHaye was gaining notoriety in her own right as the founder of Concerned Women for America (CWA). Founded as an anti-feminist group in 1979, CWA would soon branch out to anti-gay activities. Following a familiar trajectory, the organization has equated homosexuality with pedophilia and sexual deviance, attempted to discredit hate crime reporting, and decried supposed recruiting into the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Courage/Encourage: These Roman Catholic support groups follow a template laid down by Exodus and other “Ex-Gay” ministries. Per the Courage website, the group seeks to “ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone,” exhorting its members to forego loving relationships in favor of chastity, service, and frequent mass attendance. Courage’s companion organization, Encourage, is for friends and family members, aims to address “the homosexual condition and embracing a life of chastity.”
Defend the Family: Defend the Family is billed as “a service” of Abiding Truth Ministry, headed by pastor Scott Lively (co-author of The Pink Swastika, a book that insists that the Holocaust was perpetrated by people who were gay). Founded in California and based in Massachusetts, it is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group seeks to “promote and defend the Biblical view of marriage and family” by spreading falsehoods about LGBTQ “recruitment” efforts and a nebulous LGBTQ “agenda,” as well as providing a theological gloss for anti-gay legislation proposed in the United States, Uganda, and elsewhere.
Family Research Institute: Founded in 1987 by psychologist Paul Cameron, the Family Research Institute (FRI) provides “research” that equates homosexuality with rape, pedophilia, and a host of other lesser criminal behaviors to anti-gay groups. Cameron’s findings have been condemned by mainstream scientists, while his ethical violations found him thrown out of the American Psychological Association, and condemned by the Nebraska Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. The group also supports public shaming and criminalization of homosexuality in the United States.
Focus on the Family: Despite moderating its message in recent years, Focus on the Family’s message remains the same in substance. The conservative Christian group still advocates for reparative therapy, still sees homosexuality as a moral evil, and still lobbies hard to bring a fundamentalist viewpoint to the political process and school boards alike.
Liberty Counsel: Founded by husband and wife team Mathew and Anita Staver, Liberty Counsel has filed suit at the state and federal levels to combat marriage equality in Massachusetts and San Francisco, sued in Maryland to put a halt to factual discussion of sexual orientation in the Maryland Board of Education’s sexual education curriculum, and filed amicus briefs in several other anti-LGBTQ cases.
Moms For Liberty (M4L): M4L is an antigovernment organization founded in 2021 by former Florida school board members, Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich. Current Sarasota County, Florida school board member, Bridget Ziegler, was also a co-founder. She has since left the group, leaving Justice and Descovich at the helm. Moms for Liberty and its nationwide chapters combat what they consider the “woke indoctrination” of children by advocating for book bans in school libraries and endorsing candidates for public office that align with the group’s views. They also use their multiple social media platforms to target teachers and school officials, advocate for the abolition of the Department of Education, advance a conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ+ community.
National Organization for Marriage: NOM was formed in 2007 by Maggie Gallagher (a conservative columnist) and Robert George (a politics professor at Princeton University and co-author of the “Manhattan Declaration”)to advocate against gay marriage. The organization was a key supporter of California’s notorious Proposition 8. More recently, the organization has tried to appear more moderate, emphasizing that “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose,” while hastening to add that “they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.” NOM appears to have been energized by the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, and continues to fundraise on the promise of overturning the Court’s decision.
Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX): Believed to be a front for the Family Research Council, PFOX deploys questionable science and methods in defense of reparative therapy. For this reason, the organization has drawn fire from the American Psychological Association, from the researcher on one of their foundational papers–who has since disavowed his own research – and from the press, who point out that the ex-gay organization has a suspicious lack of ex-gay members. They have also been barred from events by the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA), the AAUW, and PFLAG.
Positive Approaches To Healthy Sexuality (PATH): Recently rebranded from its former name, Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality, PATH calls itself “a non-profit ecumenical coalition of organizations that believe in traditional family values based upon time-honored Biblical principles,” and states that its goal is “to promote healthy sexuality and traditional family values, adhering to the sacred covenant of marriage between one man and one woman.” The organization has changed its brand, but not its stripes; it still pursues discredited and profoundly damaging reparative therapy, as evidenced by the company the organization keeps (including several of the organizations mentioned above).