LGBTQ Task Force Exemplifies Bigotry of the Left

The National LGBTQ Task Force, in response to anti-Israeli activists, has banned a Jewish group from hosting a reception at its upcoming Creating Change conference in Chicago. The reception was to have featured members of Jerusalem Open House (JOH) for Pride and Tolerance, an organization that organizes the annual Jerusalem Pride March, where last year a teenage Israeli girl was murdered by an ultra-orthodox zealot.

The reception with JOH was to be sponsored by A Wider Bridge, a Jewish LGBTQ organization, which issued a statement that recounted:

After being approved as a part of the program well in advance, the organizers of the Creating Change conference in Chicago caved into extremist anti-Israel demands and canceled the A Wider Bridge-sponsored reception that was to be held on Friday, January 22. The reception plans to feature two leaders of Jerusalem Open House, (JOH) Jerusalem’s flagship LGBTQ organization. A Wider Bridge is announcing today that the reception will go on, but at a new location outside of the conference venue.

Writing at The Huffington Post, Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, contends:

The growing demand on the left for political purity includes the act of blacklisting and de-platforming — i.e., not allowing people with whom you disagree a platform from which to speak.

This trend is particularly evident at Creating Change, Beyer notes, including most recently, when the Task Force allowed

a group of queer women of color to take the stage to prevent the Denver mayor from speaking, and just last week a fiasco with the invitation/de-invitation of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to participate in the conference. The Task Force is allowing the loudest voices to quash dissent and inhibit dialogue, the kind of dialogue that is necessary for progress.

On the ICE disinvite, the Task Force said:

We know the decision to accept a proposal from ICE for a session at our Creating Change Conference was the wrong decision and that it has caused hurt and pain to communities and individuals we deeply care about. The decision also could have created a situation where the conference would not have felt like a safe space — a vitally important component of what makes the conference special — for undocumented immigrants, immigration activists and allies.

It might also have allowed for dialogue and education—as would the reception with Jerusalem Open House—but that is of little concern at an event that is all about affirming fidelity to a strict line of thought.

I believe the Task Force has an absolute right to invite and even disinvite
whoever it feels is insufficiently ideologically pure, but that doesn’t mean its actions shouldn’t be criticized as deeply offensive, just as the religious right’s Value Voters Summit should be able to exclude LGBT conservatives from having a booth, but should also be castigated strongly for doing so.

Interestingly, the Task Force has many big-name National Corporate Partners (which the Values Voters Summit and its primary organizer, an affiliate of the Family Research Council, don’t have). Shame on these companies, including Hilton Worldwide, Office Depot and Wells Fargo, for supporting such bigotry!

Update: A reversal! The National LGBTQ Task Force has reinstated the joint American-Israeli event at their annual conference, after its cancellation provoked strong protest. That’s good, but sponsors and donors who don’t favor making the anti-Israel boycott and divestiture movement part of the progressive LGBT agenda would be advised to remain vigilant.

Prior to the reinstatement, Rea Carey, the Task Force’s executive director, said in a statement that “while we welcome robust discourse and political action, given the complexity and deep passions on all sides, we concluded the event wouldn’t be productive or meet the stated goals of its organizers. We also have the overarching responsibility to ensure that Creating Change is a safe space for attendees.”

As reported by The Tablet, “A petition calling for the event’s reinstatement gathered over 1,100 signatures, including those of prominent LGBT rabbis and activists—Jewish and not.”

More. Given the support of the academic left for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, it’s not surprising that the Task Force leaders would respond to demands to exclude JOH from Creating Change. What is surprising is how Carey misjudged that a wide swath of LGBT progressives, including influential liberal Democrats, remain opposed to the academic left’s demand to boycott Israel (and even Israeli “doves” have found themselves blacklisted from many academic conferences). This has more than a little to do with the fact that Israel is the only Middle East nation where gay people have legal equality.

Furthermore. James Kirchick takes note:

As I write this, ISIS is hunting gay men to toss from the rooftops of Raqaa, and nearly 80 countries proscribe homosexuality. Yet for a 36-hour period earlier this week, the National LGBTQ Task Force chose to ally itself not with the one country in the Middle East that guarantees and protects the human rights of LGBTQ people, but with those who hang them from construction cranes. …

And let there be no confusion: A non-compulsory Shabbat dinner and discussion of the Israeli LGBT experience is “divisive” in the way that the presence of a gay man in a locker room is “divisive.” It only “offends” the sensibilities of bigots.

They thought blacklisting Israel was now the correct position for progressive activists to take.

Couldn’t you guess? Censorship by disruption, by the anti-Israeli LBGTQ left. And, of course, the LGBTQ Task Force caves in, again: “Protesters on Friday forced the cancellation of a reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual conference that was to have featured two advocates from Israel.”

Said Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge:

These remarkable LGBT leaders from Israel, who do great work in the very diverse and challenging city of Jerusalem, had spent the last six months helping their community heal and recover from the trauma of a barbaric act of anti-gay violence at last summer’s Jerusalem Pride march. They expected to be supported and embraced by the U.S. LGBT community at Creating Change. Instead, the protestors denied their humanity and silenced their voices, and the conference tragically did little to provide for their safety and security.

From the Windy City Times:

A Jan. 22 statement from Chicago-based Gay Liberation Network summarized the protesters’ objections. “For several years the Israeli government has attempted to use propaganda about the freedoms some LGBTQs in that country have as a cover for their increasingly brutal rule over Palestinians, a process known as ‘pinkwashing,'” the statement said. …

Earlier in the week, Black Lives Matter Chicago voiced its disapproval of AWB’s participation at Creating Change, drawing correlations between the experiences of African Americans and the Palestinians. In a statement, they said, “They/We navigate heavily surveilled and detained realities on tightropes. They/We are expected to be grateful to those that itemize their/our pain to strengthen existing norms. As is routine for too many souls across the globe, They/We must negotiate oppressions as a provision of harm reduction and triage.”

Faith Cheltenham, president of BiNet USA, took part in the protest and said shortly after it ended that she saw it as part of a larger effort to get “our movement back.”

For Schism

The primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Jan. 14 suspended the Episcopal Church USA “from full participation in the life and work of the Anglican Communion” for a period of three years, to give the Episcopal Church time to recant its pro-gay ways.

The motion, presented to a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury Cathedral, was backed by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which consists of conservative Anglican bishops and leaders working “to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching.”

To translate, the issue was the Episcopal Church’s ordination of gay clergy and its policy of allowing churches to perform and sanction same-sex marriages.

The anti-gay Anglicans include a small number of U.S. and U.K. “high church” or Anglo-Catholic traditionalists who seek to be more reactionary on matters theological than Rome. But the main thrust for disciplining the U.S. church comes from the vast majority of Anglicans who reside outside the West. Specifically, African bishops, representing 60 percent of Anglicans worldwide, resist Western tolerance of homosexuality, to put it mildly.

As David Boaz writes in Newsweek, there was fear that archbishops from six African countries—Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—might have walked out if the archbishop of Canterbury, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, didn’t sanction the U.S. Episcopal Church for consecrating gay bishops and allowing Episcopal churches to perform same-sex weddings. Boaz praises the Anglican archbishop of South Africa, who has urged his church to abandon its “practices of discrimination,” which distinguishes South Africa on a continent where virulent homophobia is treated as gospel. (Despite racial oppression, South Africa is a country where Western enlightenment values always had a foothold, Boaz notes, which was significant in defeating Apartheid.)

In contrast, let’s look at some of the churches that demanded the U.S. Episcopal Church be sanctioned. The Anglican church in Uganda has no problem with draconian laws persecuting gay people:

In response to the Anglican Church of Canada’s intervention, Bishop Joseph Abura of the Karamoja Diocese wrote an editorial saying, “Ugandan Parliament, the watch dog of our laws, please go ahead and put the anti-Gay laws in place. It is then that we become truly accountable to our young and to this country, not to Canada or England. We are in charge!” Although the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty, its archbishop, Henry Luke Orombi, did not take a position on the bill.

Some prelates of the Rwanda church joined in their country’s tribal genocide:

Tutsis were murdered en masse in Rwanda in part because they flocked to places of worship for refuge…. In fact, both the Catholic and Anglican churches in Rwanda were deeply complicit in the genocide. … Astonishingly, church figures across Rwanda played a leading role in legitimizing and even inflicting genocidal killing.

These are the churches that anti-gay American Anglicans have chosen to affiliate themselves with.

The United Methodist Church—the nation’s largest mainline denomination—faces a similar issue as it remains officially opposed to same-sex marriage and defrocks it’s ministers who perform same-sex weddings. Here, too:

Many observers—both inside and outside of the [Methodist] church—note that the global nature of the church, in particular its growth in Africa, where homosexuality is often still taboo, is a major hurdle for those hoping to change church policy.

Let the churches of the light rise up to the Light; and those that present their hatred as righteousness dwell in the heart of darkness together.

More. I say, vote yes for independency, as Americans did in 1776.

Also, the Pilgrims, who were Separatists and not Puritans (despite the common misperception) had it right. They wanted to separate from the Anglican Church and believed attempting to “purify” it would only corrupt them.

Furthermore. Before the Jan. 14 vote, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry told the primates gathering in Canterbury:

Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome. Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all.

I also like this thought. Catherine M Wallace, a cultural historian and literary theologian, writes:

Like Christians of the past, we are to engage the tradition with the best critical tools and broadest moral sensitivity available to us, trusting that God is with us and within us, calling us always to courage and to compassion, calling us to be bread for a starving world. …

For some people, religion must be rigid, absolutist and judgmental in order to count as “religion.” That need for self-righteous absolutes is perhaps the deepest anxiety of all.

Gov. Haley Infuriates Culture Warriors All-Round

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley delivered the GOP response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address Wednesday night. While Donald Trump and the trumpians took offense at her call for “welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries,” it was her other remarks on religion that riled up social conservatives and won her few friends among LGBT progressives.

Haley said of the GOP, “We would respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a cornerstone of our democracy.”

For many of a libertarian-leaning disposition, and among a wide swath of political moderates, those remarks seem like common sense. But the response from other quarters was blistering. “Even the terminology ‘modern families’ evokes the ABC sitcom featuring a homosexual couple raising a child,” huffed Lifesite.com, while religious far right radio host Bryan Fischer ripped Haley for embracing “sodomy-based marriage and the entire homosexual agenda,” Right-Wing Watch relates.

But LGBT progressives aren’t likely to be won over. Right-Wing Watch, for instance, has complained that “framing opposition to LGBT equality, abortion and contraception as religious liberty issues is a core strategy of right-wing culture.”

Gay Republicans welcomed Haley’s remarks. “I was far more impressed by Gov. Nikki Haley and her call to ‘respect differences in modern families’ while at the same time balancing that respect with a concern for religious liberty—a position Log Cabin Republicans has long advocated,” said national Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo, quoted by PrideSource.com. “It was refreshing to see a Republican explicitly acknowledge that on a major national stage,” he added.

It’s not easy to defend religious liberty for private individuals, however, when religious conservatives insist on making the issue about government civil servants. As was widely reported, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis attended the State of the Union address as a guest of Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. Davis spent a few nights behind bars for refusing to let anyone in the Rowan County clerk’s office issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her Christian beliefs.

As I’ve noted before, government officials are responsible for following the law of the land, even when doing so is at odds with their own religious beliefs. They are public servants, not private, self-employed service providers.

The religious right remains committed to government discrimination against gay people in general, and married same-sex couples in particular. The progressive left remains committed to using government to force independent business owners with faith-based objections to provide services to same-sex weddings, as no religious dissent against government coercion of the citizenry is tolerable. Authoritarians of left and right feed off each other in a symbiotic relationship that keeps the culture war roiling.

Trans Kids or Gay Kids?

A fault line should be developing between those who advocate defining pre-pubescent children with gender dysphoric behavior as transgender and starting them down the road to transitioning (including hormones to block puberty), and those who believe it’s way too early to make that call—and that if left alone, many of these kids will grow up to be healthy gay or lesbian adults.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed (firewalled; try googling The Transgender Battle Line: Childhood), Debra W. Soh writes:

How best to deal with [children who identify with the opposite sex] has become so politicized that sexologists, who presumably would be able to determinine the helathiest approach, are extremely reluctant to get involved. They have seen what happens when they deviate from orthodoxy.

She gives as an example the experience of Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist in Toronto who was charged with practicing conversion therapy, which aims to change a patients’ sexual orientation. Writes Soh:

But he had not been trying to dissuade anyone from being transgender. Instead his therapy facilitated exploration of gender identity. For example, in addition to thinking about transitioning, gender-atypical males could consider being boys who simply liked female-typical things. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a girl to enjoy nail polish or bedtime stories about fairy princesses.

Pointing that out to a gender-dysphoric child isn’t the same as practicing conversion therapy…. Of the boys and girls seen in clinics like Dr. Zucker’s, a high percentage—up to 80% in a study of 44 gender-dysphoric boys—grow up to be not transgender, but bisexual, gay or lesbian adults. Thus, helping prepubescent children feel comfortable in their birth sex makes more sense than starting a lifetime of hormonal treatments and surgeries that will in all likelihood turn out to be unnecessary and unwanted.

Soh concludes:

The silencing of those who oppose this sends the message to parents that early transitioning is the only valid and ethical approach for a gender-dysphoric child. This message—pushing children to transition at increasingly younger ages so that they will fit neatly into one of two gender categories—is false and unscientific. It is more progressive to offer them the time and the space they need to figure out who they are and what is ultimately best for them.

Similar points are made in a recent New York Magazine article by Jesse Singal, Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals.

Allowing effeminate boys and masculine girls to develop and decide (after puberty kicks in) whether they are, in fact, transgender or gay/lesbian is the least we owe these children.

More. Tweet by Alice Dreger (@AliceDreger): “I’m getting a lot of mail from gay and lesbian adults who say they believe they would have been pressured to transition gender if then=now.”

Furthermore. In a critical letter to the editor, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, an affiliate of the nation’s largest LGBT lobby, predictably dismisses Dr. Zucker’s efforts and Ms. Soh’s commentary:

By relying on “data” produced by Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist whose gender-identity clinic closed last year after an external review found it “out of step with current operational practices,” Ms. Soh thoroughly undermines her own nonscientific musings.

Note the scare quotes around “data,” and the fact that being “out of step with current operational practices” means that attempts to explore whether or not children with gender dysphoria are actually transgender is now out of bounds (and, in some places, illegal).

HRC continues:

What’s really happening here is that doctors and parents are finally supporting our [transgender] lives, even the youngest among us. To do otherwise dangerously denies transgender children their very humanity—and their safety and well-being.

The real threat to “safety and well-being” seems to be directed at gay kids at risk for being put on a premature and unnecessary path to sexual reassignment. As another letter puts it, a child’s gender identity is “a difficult and complex issue that needs serious attention and should not be decided on the merits of gender-identity politics.”

And finally. From the New York Times Magazine, How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired.

Dr. Zucker encouraged effeminate boys and butch girls to be content with their gender. For that, he was fired. The progressive line is now is that you can’t be an effeminate male or butch woman (and if so, you must gender transition). Once again, the progressives show just how reactionary and authoritarian they truly are.

The New Year and Beyond

2015 was the year of marriage equality, a goal that brought together gays and lesbians from across the political spectrum. 2016 and beyond is likely to see a continuing divergence among collectivist progressives, live-and-let live moderates, and individual-rights libertarians.

In the presidential election, the GOP looks unlikely to nominate one of the candidates who can bring the party into the 21st century on LGBT issues. Whether limited-government gay voters pull the lever for Hillary, sit the election out, vote Libertarian, or go with the Republican nominee will depend on how bad the GOP candidate is on social issues, and how bad Hillary is on economic/government overreach and over-regulation. The result (most likely a Clinton presidency) isn’t likely to be good for the country.

The institutional LGBT advocacy establishment will push for The Equality Act, which will go nowhere. The act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and expand that act’s definition of public accommodations to cover “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program” including “an individual…who is a provider of a good, service, or program.” Take, that, wedding planners, caterers and photographers!

Religious exceptions under The Equality Act would be limited to houses of worship, and perhaps only to ministerial positions, and the measure explicitly sidelines attempts to claim religious liberty rights by legislating that “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”

The Equity Act demonstrates that LGBT activists are no longer interested in any kind of a reasonable workplace anti-discrimination bill that might obtain the support of moderate conservatives and libertarians.

Transgender issues will continue to dominate LGBT discourse. There will be greater acceptance of transgender people as part of a diverse society, but if compromise is rejected over the issue of public restrooms and, especially, gender-discordant nudity in locker rooms, expect to see more backlash. Progressives will be mystified by this.

Political correctness, with all its authoritarian-left overtones, will continue to be the dogma coming out of the progressive universities and the liberal media establishment, and it will persist in producing push-back among many Americans who value freedom of speech and freedom of religion, including the right of citizens not be to compelled by the state to engage in expressive activity that violates religious belief. Progressives will continue to be contemptuous of such intransigence.

Agenda: Maintain the Ideological Divide

Wall Street Journal political columnist Gerald Seib takes note of the growing ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans, citing a WSJ/NBC News poll conducted Dec. 6-9. Tellingly, among the findings:

  • Asked if they were a supporter of the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one women, 69% of Republicans said yes versus 25% of Democrats.
  • Asked if they were a supporter of the gay-rights movement, 63% of Democrats said yes versus 14% of Republicans.

One conclusion might be that gay people and their friends should only support Democrats, a view held by many leading national and regional LGBT advocacy groups. A more strategic take-away would be that winning over Republicans should be the key aim of those self-same groups.

In post-marriage-equality America, it seemed at first as if culture war divisions might give way to a new consensus, with conservatives seeing married gay people as a positive—akin to what’s happened in the U.K., where Prime Minister David Cameron has said, “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

But in the U.S., polarization on gay issues is hardly abating, as the WSJ poll shows. And here, a major factor, I believe, has been the well-publicized efforts by LGBT social justice warriors to prosecute small business owners with conservative religious beliefs (including wedding planners, photographers, florists and bakers/caterers) under anti-discrimination laws, using the power of the state to put them out of business if they refuse to provide their services to same-sex marriages.

Conservatives place a high value on religious liberty, which today’s secular progressives frequently dismiss as if it were of no consequence. So a cynic might suggest that perpetuating polarization through such prosecutions—instead of tolerating a minor amount of religious dissent—while not in the best interest of ensuring wider acceptance of LGBT equality, could be in the best interest of professional advocates whose continued existence and full coffers are predicated on keeping the culture wars burning.

Social conservative politicos and activists are fanning the flames, but it’s intolerant progressives who keep striking the match.

The Kentucky ‘Compromise’

Via the conservative-leaning PJ Media news site:

Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin gave Kim Davis and all the other county clerks in the state a “wonderful Christmas gift” by protecting their religious rights and freedom.

Bevin issued an executive order two weeks after taking office that removes the names of all county clerks from marriage licenses issued in Kentucky. Staver said that will enable Davis and all other county clerks to do their jobs — issue marriage licenses to everyone, including same-sex couples — without compromising their religious principles.

Over at Instapundit (also part of PJ Media), the comments ranged from:

“Do we have a secular or sectarian society. While I respect Ms. Davis beliefs, rewriting law just for her was not the right [thing] to do.”

To:

“It wasn’t just for her, it was for everyone like her, and a very reasonable way to accommodate the rights of all parties.”

Another commenter said, “Removing the clerk’s name from the license is a very hollow victory,” and I tend to agree with the observation, although the commenter may have been lamenting that marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples at all.

Government officials are responsible for following the law of the land, even when doing so is at odds with their own religious beliefs. They are public servants, not private, self-employed service providers.

But it’s for the good if a small, symbolic action can defuse a contentious “culture war” face off and serve civility without diminishing individual rights, and I tend to see that happening here.

More. Scott Shackford, at reason.com’s Hit & Run blog, notes there have been other recent compromises:

The conflict with Davis was the most visible representation of resistance, but it’s not the only one. … In North Carolina, lawmakers passed legislation allowing county employees to opt out of duties performing marriages or issuing licenses if they have religious objections. But the county is also obligated to make sure magistrates or clerks are available to pick up the slack and that the county keeps regular hours.

In Alabama, state law gives county probate judges complete discretion as to whether to issue [any] marriage licenses at all. In response to the Obergefell decision, some judges have opted out entirely.

These responses, too, seem like reasonable ways to move beyond culture war confrontations without denying gay couples the right to wed.

Unintended Consequences Undermine Gay Rights in Africa

U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good, and that’s the New York Times’ summation.

The paper reports:

After an anti-gay law went into effect last year, many gay Nigerians say they have been subjected to new levels of harassment, even violence. They blame the law, the authorities and broad social intolerance for their troubles. But they also blame an unwavering supporter whose commitment to their cause has been unquestioned and overt across Africa: the United States government.

The U.S. support is making matters worse,” said Mike, 24, a university student studying biology in Minna, a town in central Nigeria who asked that his full name not be used for safety reasons. “There’s more resistance now. It’s triggered people’s defense mechanism.”

And there’s this:

Since 2012, the American government has put more than $700 million into supporting gay rights groups and causes globally. More than half of that money has focused on sub-Saharan Africa. … But tying developmental assistance to gay rights has fueled anger across the continent.

Anti-gay American evangelicals have blood on their hands here, but resistance to liberal America’s attempt to impose its values also is a significant factor.

Good intentions expressed through heavy handed actions by a foreign government can and will backfire. A better strategy would be quiet support by privately funded NGOs backing locally controlled LGBT efforts, rather than the U.S. government throwing money around and issuing ultimatums, even if that’s what U.S. LGBT lobbies want to see.

Let’s Celebrate the End of DP Benefits

Some LGBT advocates can’t recognize a sign of victory, or feel it’s not in their organizational interest to do so.

As the Washington Blade reports in Future of domestic partner benefits uncertain, “the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling in June legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states…has prompted more private sector employers as well as public employers…to drop domestic partner benefits for their employees.”

Remarked Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, “that’s unfortunate because we believe people should not have to get a legal marriage in order to be respected as a family.”

But this isn’t about “respect”; it’s about reasonably limiting employer-provided benefits to spousal relationships with a commitment to permanency, as demonstrated by becoming a legal family unit with mutual obligations and responsibilities toward each other.

Moreover, the Blade reports:

Lambda Legal and several other national LGBT rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, have issued statements calling on employers to retain domestic partner benefits for unmarried employees.

Some LGBT rights advocates have said forcing employees in a same-sex relationship to marry as a condition for receiving partner benefits such as health insurance coverage could subject them to discrimination in states where anti-LGBT discrimination remains legal.

News flash: If you’ve signed up with the HR department to receive same-sex domestic partner benefits, your employer already knows you’re gay.

While the activists want to paint the ending of DP benefits as a retrenchment, it’s just the opposite. And the employers ending these stop-gap programs haven’t suddenly turned anti-gay. As the Blade noted, according to corporate benefits attorney Todd Solomon, “the companies he knows that have dropped domestic partner benefits have a record of being LGBT supportive due, in part, to their earlier decisions to promote those benefits to same-sex couples that were barred by law from marrying.”

Which, of course, makes sense.

In a companion story, State Dept. considers phasing out DP benefits, the Blade reports that a gay entry-level Foreign Service officer said:

the State Department’s domestic partner program “was the thing that really made” him “feel welcomed” in the agency.

“While it’s great that we can get married much more easily now, my partner and I are not looking forward to being forced into a shotgun marriage due to a policy change that takes away the benefits we were promised.”

Sorry, but absent a contract, benefits are subject to change. And an employer doesn’t owe your boyfriend or girlfriend subsidized health care.

The LGBT Movement Today

I watched some of the live stream from Unfinished Business: The Atlantic LGBT Summit held in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 11. A friend commented, “the identity politics—trans, bi, LGBT youth of color, why isn’t disability being discussed?—was too much for me.”

For me, as well.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s reporting at reason.com strikes the right notes about what she terms “an event filled with both thought-provoking speakers and brain-numbing PC platitudes.” For instance, on the panel discussion on legal barriers to transgender equality, she sums up:

Welcome to the minefield that is discussing LGBTIQ* issues circa 2015. By the time panelists had sorted out who was micro- or macro-agressing against whom, there was little time left for the planned topic of the panel, trans civil rights. (Unless the right to be on an Atlantic panel is at the forefront of the trans agenda.)

* Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning

On the issue of whether the LGBT movement should allow tolerance for religious dissent, Brown writes:

Those who stuck out most during the day’s sessions were figures like David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, and writer and pundit Andrew Sullivan. Boaz and Sullivan are both gay and have long histories of gay-rights activism. But their belief in religious freedom set them apart from most of the crowd and speakers gathered yesterday. One of the biggest cheers of the day, in fact, came after an audience member accused Boaz of being “on the wrong side of history.”

As I’ve said and others have noted, progressive activists believe that nondiscrimination supersedes all other constitutional liberties (here’s an example in a different context, regarding Title IX and freedom of speech). The summit showed the strident opposition to the suggestion that there is a liberty right not to be forced to provide services to same-sex weddings when doing so violates religious belief, or even a positive value is showing tolerance for religious dissent by a small number of service providers.

Brown notes that “the historic alliance between libertarians and the LGBT community when it comes to political activism” is pretty much over, as “the area of common ground seems to be shrinking.” Hard to argue with that.

More. A positive development on the LGBT front! As the New York Times reports:

In a surprise announcement, the Empire State Pride Agenda, a leading state group that advocates gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in New York, will disband next year, citing the fulfillment of a 25-year campaign for equality.

Having secured marriage equality in New York before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, and with broad nondiscrimination measures in place that include transgender men and women, it was mission accomplished. But, as the Times also notes:

State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, seemed shocked by the news. “There’s a lot more work to be done on L.G.B.T. rights in New York, so declaring ‘Mission Accomplished’ seems premature,” he said, noting that his legislative chamber had not passed a “single piece of L.G.B.T. legislation” since 2011. “I hope a new political group picks up the mantle,” he added.

The gay equality agenda may be met, but hey, there’s lots of progressive policies to coral LGBT support behind, not to mention embedding LGBT lobbies into the identity politics spoils system!