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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 20, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 12
New SPLC report: Anti-LGBTQ hate groups "intertwined with Trump administration"
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New SPLC report: Anti-LGBTQ hate groups "intertwined with Trump administration"

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Anti-LGBTQ organizations were the fastest-growing sector of hate groups in the US in 2019, according to a new report released March 18 by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

If that were not disturbing enough, the report says that the growth of anti-LGBTQ extremism is "intertwined" with the Trump administration.

"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 SPLC wrote in the report.

"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, while his Department of Justice has filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in support of anti-LGBTQ lawsuits, some of which were brought by the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom."

According to the SPLC, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups in the US increased 43% last year, from 49 to 70. Much of the growth took place at a grassroots level, including a network of churches led by pastor Steven Anderson - known for advocating the Biblical death penalty for LGBTQ people - as well as new chapters of Brian Camenker's group MassResistance.

Included in the SPLC's list of hate groups are chapters of MassResistance and Pacific Justice Institute based in Seattle, and Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Vancouver and Spokane.

Overall, the number of hate groups in the US declined last year, from an all-time high of 1,020 in 2018, to 940 in 2019. This was due to the collapse of two large neo-Nazi groups, the SPLC said. However, the total number of white nationalist hate groups in the US has increased 55% during Trump's presidency.

"This decline does not reflect a significant diminishment of the radical right or a fundamental shift in the general trend of the last several years, given the increased activity among white nationalist hate groups," the SPLC wrote.

"As the country continues to experience white nationalist terror, extremist ideas long believed outside of the realm of legitimate politics are penetrating deeply into the mainstream, spawning public policies that target immigrants, LGBTQ people, and Muslims. The Trump administration has installed members of hate groups into government - particularly those with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, or anti-LGBTQ animus - and put in place highly punitive policies that seemed unthinkable just a few short years ago. These political moves will far outlast this administration, as Trump and his allies in the US Senate have pushed through hundreds of new federal judges, many of whom are hostile to civil rights concerns and will serve for decades."

The full report is available on the SPLC website, splcenter.org

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