Scott Shepard: The Human Rights Campaign Should Call 911 For Itself

Oh, dear. It appears that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has declared a national emergency.

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

You remember HRC, no? That’s the group that up to about a decade ago pushed for gay people to have the same civil marriage rights as straight people: to marry one other competent adult of their choosing who matched their sexual interests. They assured us: permitting gay marriage won’t start a slide down a slippery slope. It won’t lead to group marriage, or the evisceration of civic distinctions between men and women, or a demand that the whole of society kowtow in obeisance to non-traditional families and lifestyles. Rather, marriage equality would allow everyone to be treated equally before the law, and to leave one another alone in their personal commitments and their bedrooms.

Then it pretty much immediately set about giving the lie to its own assertions.

The emergency that HRC declared was on behalf of “LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time” in the organization’s 40-odd-year history because of what it calls “an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year,” citing the passage of “[m]ore than 75 anti-LGBTQ+” laws.

Now, this seems pretty serious. Within the lifetimes of everyone capable of reading this column, same-sex marriage was not contemplated in the laws of the majority of states. Has any state withdrawn that right? No, of course not. The right was constitutionalized nationwide in 2016. In fact, what has happened in the last year is that Congress has added statutory federal protection of such marriages, such that even if the Obergefall decision were overturned, nothing would happen to the right.

Within the lifetimes of still probably just about everyone who will read this column, gay sex was criminalized in several states. Within the lives of many readers, it was prosecuted. Has that been reintroduced? No, of course not. Nor will it ever be.

Rather, the legislation HRC complained of is bills like the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, which HRC falsely labeled the “don’t say gay” bill despite it making no mention whatever about gay, but merely stopped teachers of primary school students from initiating classroom discussions about sex and sexuality, and thereby confusing them and stealing their innocence. If Johnny has two daddies, he’s fully allowed to talk about them in school and in classroom discussion, and teachers are not obliged to stare blankly at the wall in response lest they “say gay.” HRC lied about that bill, and continues to lie about it.

Likewise, HRC also screams “emergency” about the bills that have preserved girls’ and women’s sports for born women, and the bills that have followed the NHS and the best practices in Europe by treating children as children with regard to their demands for life-altering medical treatments they don’t understand and life-defining decisions that they’re incapable of making.

So no. Have no fear. Leave your pearls safely unclutched. Gay people in America are not at any higher risk than anyone else in America (except perhaps because there is a preponderance of gay people in large cities that have voted to become dens of criminality and lawlessness, with San Francisco at the head of the pack). No emergency need be called for gay America.

HRC was close to being on to something, though. It should declare a state of emergency: not for gay people, but for itself as an organization.

HRC has had a good grift going. Years ago, it established its Corporate Equality Index (CEI) and began pressuring corporations to participate in it, fill out its underlying survey and then tout their scores. The index started off innocuously enough, by most lights, looking to see that gay employees got the same insurance, sick-leave policy and other benefits for their civil partners (or whatever the then-current appellation) as married couples got for their spouses.

But as gay rights successes mounted, HRC shifted the CEI goal posts.

Now, in order to get a perfect score on the CEI (as most major American corporations have in recent years), there can be no question merely of treating gay employees equally. Rather, a perfect score requires companies to take the hardest-left position possible on a whole series of the hottest-button political and social issues facing the country, to do so publicly and to spend shareholder assets supporting those positions and the organizations that support them. Hell, HRC “stripped” Anheuser Busch of its perfect score because, having cost itself vast revenue and market share by hiring a brand director that hated Bud drinkers and by teaming up with Dylan Mulvaney to stick it those customers’ collective eye, it didn’t then hold the trans-above-all line until it hit the Chapter 11 wall.

In other words, getting a perfect score on the CEI constitutes a proud admission by corporate executives that they have abandoned their fiduciary duties to their shareholders and are spending their money to take profoundly partisan stands on issues that have nothing whatever to do with a well-run business at the certain expense of offending huge swathes of customers to the extent the efforts become public.

A corporation’s perfect CEI score is pretty much a prima facie case for shareholder-derivative plaintiffs all by itself, and should soon starting drawing such plaintiffs the way visions of unbridled power draw certain investment-house and giant-bank CEOs.

It is the HRC/CEI pressure on Target, for instance, twinned with the rabid left-wing partisanship of its directors and executives, that led it to give $50 million to GLSEN, an organization that pushes a wide array of horrific policies, such as public-school teachers hiding gender-dysphoria problems from parents and abetting young children in turning innocent, childlike mannerisms and notions into potential lifelong pathologies.

Now that the CEI has become the mark of Cain, it and its sponsoring organization are likely to become fairly radioactive fairly quickly. That’s an emergency for HRC.

But the emergency runs deeper. Rather than declaring victory and shutting up shop after winning nationwide same-sex marriage in 2016, HRC went all in on trans, tacking a T on the LGB constellation, and then kept expanding (like any good bureaucracy) to pick up a Q, some Is and Ss and, like a broken Scrabble game or a really effective password, some numbers and symbols as well.

Thing is, though, in expanding its reach, it destroyed its coherence (like any bureaucracy at all). HRC not only is a toxic partner for corporations, it’s no longer even a reliable spokesman – good heavens, sorry, they are no longer reliable spoxfolx – for gay people themselves. More polling should be done about this by an objective and reputable pollster, if any such exist, but a significant number of gay people (very possibly a significant majority) don’t at all agree with HRC that primary schools should be breeding grounds for gender confusion.

And it gets worse from there. Consider that trans people are now demanding (have you noticed that the only verb that the “trans community” seems to know is “demand”) that people have sex with them according to the sex they claim to be, rather than the sex that they actually are? So we have women still, um, configured as women, calling themselves gay transmen and demanding that gay men have sex with them, and that a failure by these gay guys to date and sleep with them constitutes “genital-fetish bigotry” that, as transphobia, is itself homophobia.

Got that gay dudes? You need to sleep with a woman because she says she’s a guy, rather than actual guys, or you hate gays.

So at the corporate level, not only is a good score on the CEI proof of breach of fiduciary duty, but partnership with HRC by a company or its gay-employees’ affinity group is proof that the company is silencing the no-doubt very significant portion of gay employees at the company who think that it’s not good to groom children and that insisting on sleeping with people of their own sex isn’t homophobic.

Beyond the corporate context, I don’t see how HRC can possibly survive the complete incoherency of its present positions. That’s certainly its problem rather than mine. But I do agree that that’s an emergency – for it.

Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project. This first appeared at RealClearMarkets.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.