Friday, September 20, 2019

Anti-LGBTQ ministry loses lawsuit against SPLC over 'hate group' label

SPLC is 3-0 in lawsuits over its 'hate group' label

Members of the anti-LGBTQ industry and their allies probably won't mention this but they suffered a huge loss earlier this week against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

From The Advocate:

A Florida ministry that campaigned against same-sex marriage and "maligns the entire LGBT community" can be referred to as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a federal judge ruled this week. 
Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries Media Inc., sued SPLC — a group advocating for the rights of marginalized people — in 2017 after it designated the ministry a "hate group." Coral Ridge also sued Amazon because the designation disqualified it from a program that allows customers of the online retailer to donate to nonprofits. 
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the SPLC has a free-speech right to the hate group claim, but the judge didn't weigh in on whether he believes the ministry is indeed a hate group. 
When Coral Ridge Ministries, which actively fought against the legalization of marriage equality, sued the SPLC two years ago, the civil rights organization defended its description of Coral Ridge. 
"We list the D. James Kennedy Ministries through which Coral Ridge does business as a hate group because it maligns the entire LGBT community, portraying it as perverted and a threat to the nation," SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement at the time. "The fact that Coral Ridge claims its statements about the LGBT community are biblically based doesn’t immunize it from criticism. We have a First Amendment right to express our opinions, just as Coral Ridge has a right to express its opinions."

It's the third victory SPLC has won regarding its 'hate group' labels. Earlier this week, a federal court tossed out a lawsuit lodged by the Center for Immigration Studies.  Last year, another federal court tossed out a lawsuit lodged by anti-LGBTQ group the Liberty Counsel.

If any of these lawsuits had succeeded, it would have probably opened up SPLC for a slew of other court actions, no doubt led by other organizations designated as hate groups,  such as the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom. My guess is that these groups, seen as more mainstream,  were waiting for a precedent to attack SPLC.

Looks like they are going to have to wait a little longer.

Related posts (Just a few pieces I've written over the years about the anti-LGBTQ industry's unsuccessful war against SPLC):

Conservative publication PJMedia digs a hole into the credibility of anti-LGBTQ hate groups

Peter Sprigg proves the Family Research Council to be a hate group (again)

Peter Sprigg is further proof of the Family Research Council's 'hate group' status

SPLC puts the Alliance Defending Freedom's long history of anti-LGBTQ bigotry on public blast

Anti-gay group Family Research Council continues silly vendetta against the Southern Poverty Law Center

Family Research Council ally against SPLC has odd history of 'attacking' anal sex

Family Research Council upset over being labeled a hate group, but won't address reason why


Frank said...

On a related note, I'd love to read your take on this:

My brother, whose politics I suspect but don't know for certain, tends to be non-committal and a kind of head-in-the-sand person when it comes to politics, current events, etc. He can't seem to tolerate, debate, or handle conflict or complexity so avoids discussions of difficult subjects. We live 2000 miles apart so don't see one another often, but he was visiting and we had lots of time together.
I tried at one point to engage him in a discussion after he brought up the alphabet "LGBT" and "LGBTQ". I moved it to a deeper level and told him about the people who, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, a hate group, had set up a sham business to bring a suit to challenge anti-LGBT discrimination laws.

His first reaction was: "Why are they a hate group?" or something to that effect. I replied that they are designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And he immediately became dismissive: "Well, that explains it."

I replied, "Oh, you don't like the sound of the organization."

A few minutes later I asked, "It's a perfectly legitimate, respected organization. What makes you think that the Southern Poverty Law Center is not a legitimate organization?"

He replied, "I've read some things. I don't want to discuss it."

My concern is that many of us, liberal or conservative, tend to read, listen to, agree with others whose opinions mirror our own. I, for one, have never read or heard any commentary that is critical of or undermines, or tries to "expose" the motives of SPLC in the way that liberal commentators such as yourself so eloquently expose the hate behind ADF.

I was not about to pursue the conversation with my brother further, but that short exchange made it clear that in this age of division, we seem to "take sides" and it precludes any reasoned discussion. Of course I do not see the liberal side of things as being anything but correct, reasonable, and justified. But obviously conservatives think their opinions are just as valid.

It is very frustrating. Hoping your experience in these matters can shed some light. I'd love to see a column devoted to the subject.

BlackTsunami said...

Conservative groups have been steadily pushing information to undermine SPLC. And the organization itself has had a few internal problems. The problem with your brother seems to be the focus being on SPLC. It's probably better if you said WHY ADF is considered a hate group. The narrative shouldn't be that SPLC declared ADF a hate group but WHY SPLC declared ADF to be a hate group.