Southern Poverty Law Center labels conservative California organization a ‘hate group’

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Via Jenavieve Hatch ...

The Southern Poverty Law Center has formally deemed a Christian conservative advocacy group an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

The California Family Council is a Sacramento-based nonprofit that trafficks in culture war causes. The CFC has backed parental notification policies, which LGBTQ activists and allies have called “forced outing” policies that would require school staff to inform a student’s parent if their student uses a different pronoun or name that does not align with their biological sex.

The CFC got involved when the Elk Grove Unified School District began hosting “Rainbow Clubs” — or, lunchtime clubs for students who question their sexual orientation or gender identity, or simply want a safe place to play games and make friends. The organization is staunchly anti-abortion, and opposes the right for same-sex couples to marry. Its members have attended and organized events devoted to speaking out against trans girls playing sports, and backs a number of far-right causes.

“The SPLC is criticizing CFC and our colleagues across the country for our Biblical stance against obscene educational materials and irreversible medical treatments targeting children with gender dysphoria,” wrote CFC President Jonathan Keller.

“Why? Because we speak the truth in love and are committed to safeguarding the well-being of all children and families.”

In its report, the SPLC said that they witnessed a one-third increase in anti-LGBT hate groups in 2023.

“As in previous years, the anti-LGBTQ policy push was grounded in demonizing LGBTQ people and using pseudoscientific claims about LGBTQ people, but the weaponization of pseudoscience as a tool of trans suppression and the targeting of fundamental freedoms like free speech, expression, and assembly through book and drag bans has become a more prominent feature in recent years,” the SPLC report reads. “In 2023, hate groups across the board continued to opportunistically target LGBTQ people and spaces, many times employing violent suppression and intimidation tactics fueled by far-right social media disinformation and conspiracy campaigns that falsely claim LGBTQ people are a threat to society and to “parents’ rights.”


Via Nicole Nixon ...

Twenty years after performing the nation’s first same-sex marriages as San Francisco mayor, Gov. Gavin Newsom was back in the city of love Friday to mark Pride Month and promote a ballot measure aimed at enshrining the right to marry in California’s constitution.

The measure, placed on the ballot by the California Legislature last year, would repeal outdated and unenforceable language in the constitution that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Supporters of the “Freedom to Marry” campaign also say it would protect interracial marriage.

Voters approved the language via Proposition 8 in 2008, though it was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court seven years later in the court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.

But after the nation’s high court overturned the right to an abortion in 2022, Democrats are sounding the alarm and scrambling to strengthen state-level protections for civil rights.

“Simply put, we just don’t have the backstop of the Supreme Court protecting our fundamental freedoms any longer,” said Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. While “many of us feel protected in a state like California, … we still have to remain vigilant in protecting our rights.”

Newsom and Hicks, along with the proposal’s author Assemblyman Evan Low, Sens. Scott Wiener and Toni Atkins, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, joined advocates including Tony Hoang with Equality California and Ashley Morris with the ACLU of Northern California at the campaign launch at Manny’s, a well-known watering hole for political events and shoulder-rubbing in San Francisco.

Hicks and others pointed to language from an opinion authored by Justice Clarence Thomas that invites revisiting rulings on same-sex marriage and contraception as motivation for the extra protections.

Newsom in particular was praised at the event for “courageous leadership” and risking “political suicide” to officiate weddings between same-sex couples in February 2004.

“It was not the easy thing to do back then, and as the governor no doubt remembers, there were ramifications,” Wiener said. “There were national Democrats who didn’t want to be photographed with then-Mayor Newsom after he made that decision. There were all sorts of blowback. And of course, the governor was on the right side of history.”

After decades of progress for womens’ rights, voting rights and LGBTQ rights, Newsom also warned of a “rights regression” in the U.S.

“States are on the front lines of those rights battles. And that’s why it’s imperative that states like California step up and assert themselves at this critical time,” he said.

Democrats also hope the measure will help drive turnout during a presidential election year and help President Joe Biden.

“I like this being on the November ballot. I think there’ll be a big turnout and I’m encouraged by that,” the governor said. He also pledged that he would “be out a lot trying to get people out to vote.”


The clock is ticking for TikTok, the social media video-sharing app from Beijing-based ByteDance.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a law, signed by President Joe Biden, forcing ByteDance to either sell the app or shut it down. Such a measure was bound to draw legal challenges. TIkTok has already sued. And now, so are others.

The Liberty Justice Center, a conservative legal group known in California for defending school districts facing legal action over their parental notification policies, has stepped up to take on Uncle Sam, alleging that the TikTok ban is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

“TikTok is a social media platform on which millions of Americans publish and consume speech. Some of that speech might be considered frivolous — such as cat videos, trendy dances, or people lip syncing to popular songs. But much of the speech on TikTok is serious, addressing important political and social issues. And all of it is protected by the First Amendment,” the complaint reads in its opening.

The lawsuit is on behalf of BASED Politics Inc., a nonprofit that produces TikToks for Gen Z consumers “from a perspective that favors free markets and individual liberty.

“Their use of TikTok also allows them to engage with their audience, receiving feedback and debating ideas raised in their videos,” the complaint reads in part.

The lawsuit points out that 170 million Americans use TikTok, “more than Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, X (formerly Twitter), Discord, Threads, Truth Social, or Mastodon.”

That includes 16 million Californians.

You can read the complaint here.


That didn’t take long.

A day after an effort launched to draft Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco to run as a Republican for California governor, fellow gubernatorial candidate, Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond challenged him to a debate.

Bianco, who controversially endorsed former President (and convicted felon) Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election while wearing his uniform (saying “I think it’s time we put a felon in the White House”), has not formally announced his bid for the governor’s mansion, but is likely to do so in response to the effort to draft him.

In a statement, Thurmond said he comes from a law enforcement family and has “enormous respect for the badge and uniform,” but that Bianco has “doubled down on alternative facts and misled the public about his illegal use of making a political endorsement while in his official uniform.”

“His actions undermine the non-partisan, non-political and pro-law-enforcement credibility of the uniform and he must be held accountable. That’s why he must be investigated,” Thurmond said.

He accused Bianco of being “divorced from reality” and challenged him to “a substantive debate” about the issues affecting Californians.

Bianco’s camp did not respond to The Bee’s request for comment.


“One step forward, two steps back. Addressing crime should not be a zero-sum equation. The Legislature should not amend Proposition 47 without voter approval. We are doing our job by focusing on fixing laws that the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft and Reduction Act does not address. That’s the winning approach to protect victims, small businesses, and our neighborhoods. We can have both — the ballot initiative and the bill package, and voters shouldn’t have to pick one or the other.”

- Assemblyman Greg Wallis, R-Rancho Mirage, discussing a Democratic proposal to amend a package of anti-theft bills in an attempt to circumvent a proposed ballot initiative to roll back Prop. 47, via X.

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