Wednesday, October 28, 2020

American anti-LGBTQ industry sinking millions in European countries to roll back rights of women & LGBTQ people

Donald Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, is involved in an attempt to roll back the rights of women and LGBTQ people in European countries.

This is something we need to keep our eyes on. The anti-LGBTQ industry is sinking an immense amount of money in Europe.

 Twenty-eight U.S. Christian right groups have spent millions of dollars pursuing conservative agendas that threaten LGBTQ and women’s rights in Europe, a new investigation by British news website openDemocracy found Tuesday. 
The investigation by openDemocracy found that more than two dozen organizations have been involved in legal battles across Europe opposing same-sex adoption, defending legislation against same-sex couples and restricting access to contraception and abortion. According to the report, the majority of the money spent by these groups in Europe came from two Christian legal advocacy groups, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the latter of which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as a designated hate group for its support of anti-LGBTQ legislation both in the U.S. and abroad.

 . . . Together, both the ACLJ and the ADF spent more than $3.7 million in Europe in 2018, according to openDemocracy’s findings based on publicly available non-profit tax filings. The 28 organizations surveyed by openDemocracy spent more than $88 million in Europe between 2007 and 2018—an amount greater than anywhere else outside of the United States, followed by Africa, Asia and Latin America. The findings come ahead of the U.S. presidential elections on Nov. 3 and amid what activists say is a worrying rollback of women’s and LGBTQ rights in central and eastern Europe.

According to the openDemocracy report, both groups have intervened in European cases regarding women's reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality. Time magazine said the following:

Both the ACLJ and the ADF have intervened in dozens of European court cases over the past 10 years. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, who served as counsel for the president’s impeachment trial, has been the chief counsel for the ACLJ since 1991. The organization has backed the Polish government several times on its stances on abortion and LGBTQ rights, including submitting arguments earlier this month in favour of the conservative government’s most recent abortion restrictions that have sparked international protests. Earlier this year, the European arm of the ACLJ also criticized the European Commission’s decision to cut funding to Poland’s regions and towns that declared themselves homophobic “LGBT-free zones.” OpenDemocracy says the ACLJ did not respond to its requests for comment. 

 The ADF also has links to the Trump Administration as former staffers, allies and supporters of the organization have been appointed to roles in government, and has significantly increased its funding in Europe, spending more than $2.5 million in 2018 compared to $1.4 million in 2014. According to its website, the organization’s international arm “provides funding for cases with high potential to set major international legal precedents.”

It's another reminder that the most dangerous opposition to our rights and safety come from those who can successfully manipulate behind the curtain. Not those who make public spectacles of themselves.

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