Christian Billionaires Are Funding a Push to Kill the Equality Act - 2021-06-01
On Tuesday, after decades allying himself with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, President Joe Biden proclaimed his first Pride Month as president, "marking a time of hope, progress, and promise for LGBTQ+ Americans across the country," in the words of the White House. But on Capitol Hill, the president's biggest commitment to LGBTQ Americans continues to languish, a likely casualty of the Senate filibuster, renewed conservative hostility to transgender people—and a slow-motion, under-the-radar dark money campaign to kill a bill nearly half a century in the making.
The Equality Act, which would make it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in most settings, is supported by more than two-thirds of Americans. It passed the House of Representatives in February with a bipartisan majority, and Biden has promised to sign the final bill. But instead of becoming law more than four decades after it was first introduced, it's falling victim to what one LGBTQ movement leader called one of "the most sophisticated dark money operations" they've ever seen.
The source of much of that money, according to a review of tax filings by allied non-profits and some accidental public disclosures provided to The Daily Beast, is the National Christian Charitable Foundation (NCF), the nation's sixth-largest charity and one of the biggest bankrollers of organizations currently on the front lines in the fight against the Equality Act. The NCF's list of high-dollar donors includes some of the country's richest and most powerful families. Among them: Betsy DeVos' eponymous family foundation, as well as the private foundations of the Anschutz oil dynasty, the late Republican megadonor Foster Friess, Hobby Lobby, and Dan Cathy, the billionaire owner of Chick-fil-A, the six-days-a-week fast-food chain, which promised to stop donating to anti-LGBT causes last year.