Republican National Committee Endorses Anti-Gay Discrimination

Zack Ford

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

The Republican National Committee (RNC) may have rejected two anti-gay resolutions related to marriage equality and sex education, but it apparently approved another resolution blatantly endorsing discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The RNC wants Congress to approve the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). This bill, which the ACLU has called “a Pandora’s Box of taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples and their children,” would prevent the federal government from acting against businesses and non-profits that discriminate against same-sex married couples. This would mean that government workers could refuse to perform their duties, and businesses and organizations — including those that operate with support of taxpayer money — would be free to discriminate.

Ellen Barrosse, RNC chair of the Conservative Steering Committee, told The Daily Signal that neither the resolution nor the bill have anything to do with discrimination, but are instead “an attempt, for those of us who are people of faith, to protect religious organizations.” She offered the following example: “Does Catholic Charities have to place children with gay couples, or will they have to shut down? This is a free market, there are other agencies that will place children with them.”

Barrosse neglected to point out that every time Catholic Charities faced this conflict, it was because the organization believed it was entitled to continue receiving state funding while discriminating against couples the state recognized as married. In each case that Catholic Charities shut down adoption services, it was a voluntary decision made because it refused to operate without state funding.

The RNC resolution specifically references multiple cases when private business owners have faced legal consequences for refusing to serve to same-sex couples in violation of nondiscrimination laws. It also mentions several individuals who faced public scrutiny for their anti-gay views, suggesting that all of these people are victims of “intensifying hatred and intolerance”:

Whereas, Many Americans, including Melissa Klein, Kelvin Cochran, Baronelle Stutzman, Angela McCaskill, Brendan Eich, Frank Turek, Scott McAdams, Tom Emmer, Jack Phillips, Elaine Huguenin, Betty and Richard Odgaard, Cynthia and Robert Gifford are losing their livelihoods or are being disciplined for courageously dissenting from gay marriage orthodoxy;

Whereas, Many on the Left exhibit an intensifying hatred and intolerance for gay marriage dissenters;

Here’s a quick review of how these individuals likely made their way onto this list:

  • Melissa Klein is the Oregon baker who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
  • Kelvin Cochran was the Atlanta fire chief who distributed his self-published book to other employees calling homosexuality a “sexual perversion” that is “vile, vulgar, and inappropriate.”
  • Barronelle Stutzman — whose name was misspelled in the resolution — is the Washington florist who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
  • Angela McCaskill is the Gallaudet University chief diversity officer who was scrutinized for signing a petition to undo marriage equality in Maryland.
  • Brendan Eich was the Mozilla executive who resigned after boycotts because of his donations to the Proposition 8 campaign in California.
  • Frank Turek lost work as a corporate consultant after his anti-gay views — including that being gay is “illegitimate,” “changeable behavior,” and a “road to destruction” — were exposed.
  • “Scott McAdams” — incorrectly referenced as such by Maggie Gallagher in the National Review — likely refers to John McAdams, a Marquette University professor who faced professional consequences for taking an anti-gay student’s side during a dispute between the student and a teaching assistant.
  • When Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) ran for governor of Minnesota in 2010, his anti-gay views and associations with Bradlee Dean of the anti-gay hate ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide were publicly scrutinized, and after a national boycott, Target eventually apologized for giving $150,000 to his campaign.
  • Jack Phillips is the Colorado baker who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
  • Elaine Huguenin is the New Mexico photographer who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
  • Betty and Richard Odgaard are the owners of an Iowa art gallery and wedding venue who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
  • Cynthia and Robert Gifford are the owners of a New York farm and wedding venue who refused to serve a same-sex couple.

By allying with these individuals and resolving that their actions need to be “protected” by “equal treatment by the government,” the RNC has directly endorsed discrimination against the LGBT community.


This has been reposted from Think Progress.

Zack Ford is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, hailing from the small town of Newport, PA. Prior to joining ThinkProgress, Zack blogged for two years at with occasional cross-posts at Pam’s House Blend. He also co-hosts a popular LGBT-issues podcast called Queer and Queerer with activist and performance artist Peterson Toscano. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. Music Education) and Iowa State University (M.Ed. Higher Education), Zack is an accomplished pianist with a passion for social justice education. Follow him on Twitter at @ZackFord.