Lawyers at Liberty Counsel, the anti-LGBTQ legal organization that defended anti-marriage equality clerk Kim Davis, are now using aggressive tactics to shut down a Gay-Straight Alliance at an Idaho high school.
Rightwing websites are discussing audio obtained and obviously edited by Liberty Counsel, which is a fierce, Florida-based Christian law firm and advocacy group that advocates gay conversion therapy for children. In the recording, the principal of the school explains why the GSA that was just founded there isn’t organizing community events.
The kids who wanted to participate in the club, they didn’t necessarily want their parents to know yet because northern Idaho don’t [sic] have GSA. We want to be a progressive school. We are a progressive school on that sort of thing but we don’t want to be “in your face.”
There are some mistakes in the audio that sound like they are the result of the editing process. Liberty Counsel has not said how they obtained this audio.
No matter how they got it, though, it’s rather anodyne. Rightwing sites have called this a “secret gay club” to “recruit” students against their parents’ will. If the GSA was hosting community events and generally making its presence known, rightwingers would undoubtedly be accusing them of shoving homosexuality down everyone’s throats.
Liberty Counsel has also sent a sternly-worded letter to the school telling them that the GSA is illegal. The letter attempts to define the club as “political” in nature and compares it to a group like the Young Republicans, because, it argues, teachers can’t participate in political clubs.
Liberty Counsel also chides the school for not outing the kids to their parents.
The three-page letter mentions “parent’s rights” to “control” their children several times, because rightwingers believe that the power of certain people to control others should be absolute. Powerful people having unfettered control over others is basically the right’s definition of “freedom.”
It’s telling, though, that the well-being of the children doesn’t come up in the letter at all. LGBTQ youth are at risk for multiple reasons, one of the biggest being that they know that they can face violence if they don’t constantly police their own behavior, and they’re forced to take this burden alone and in silence. GSAs can alleviate some of this stress and anxiety.
These teens are LGBTQ, and therefore Liberty Counsel is actively opposed to their well-being. They want the kids to remain silent and feel alone. They want the school to out these kids to their possibly abusive parents. This is not an accident and it’s not a side effect of Liberty Counsel’s ideology.
Liberty Counsel uses a lot of complicated language to make their intentions seem philosophical in nature, but the story here is one of a homophobic organization trying to harm LGBTQ people.