Connect with us


Family Research Council remains in federal charity program

‘Government is assisting hate groups with obtaining donations’



Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, gay news, Washington Blade

The Family Research Council, led by Tony Perkins, is part of the Combined Federal Campaign, which facilitates donations made by federal employees to charitable groups. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has declined a request that it expel the anti-gay groups Family Research Council and American Family Association from a federal employee charitable giving program known as the Combined Federal Campaign or CFC.

OPM, which is headed by John Berry, an out gay man, responded to a request for the ouster of the two groups from the CFC by senior federal employee Gary Cunningham and other federal employees. Cunningham argued in a posting on the CFC’s Facebook page that the two organizations are designated as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national civil rights organization.

“That basically means that the federal government is assisting hate groups with obtaining donations,” Cunningham said in his posting. “If you think this is outrageous, like I do, PLEASE write CFC and OPM and tell them to take them off.”

In a reply on the same Facebook page, OPM states, “All charities included in the CFC National Capital Area are vetted and approved by OPM. Each Charity must meet the federally-mandated requirements of the CFC.”

The OPM statement, which doesn’t identify the person posting it, adds, “The ideology of a charity is not considered. No federal tax dollars are provided to any charity through the CFC. Donors can select which CFC charities they wish to contribute to and exclude charities they do not want to support.”

Cunningham, joined by several other federal workers, made the request for removing the Family Research Council and the American Family Association from the CFC on grounds that the organizations were listed as hate groups at least two weeks before Herndon, Va., resident Floyd Lee Corkins II allegedly shot a security guard on Aug. 15 in the lobby of the Family Research Council building in downtown D.C.

D.C. police and the FBI said Corkins shouted words to the effect of “I don’t like your politics” seconds before shooting the guard in the arm, inflicting a non-life-threatening wound. Authorities said the guard wrestled the gun from Corkins, preventing him from gaining access to the upper floors, where he may have intended to kill FRC employees.

The following day, FRC director Tony Perkins accused the Southern Poverty Law Center of giving someone like Corkins a “license” to unleash a violent attack against FRC by improperly designating FRC and other organizations as hate groups.

Perkins’ comments triggered a national debate over whether organizations such as FRC should be designated as hate groups based on disagreements over their positions on public policy issues without evidence that they may be promoting or encouraging violence.

A Southern Poverty Law Center official strongly disputed Perkins’ accusation that the group created a climate that prompted Corkins to commit a violent act, saying the group has denounced violence throughout its 40 years of civil rights activism.

The Southern Poverty Law Center official said it designated FRC as a hate group not because of the positions it holds on issues, including its opposition to same-sex marriage, but because it relentlessly defames LGBT people by releasing false or misleading information that, among other things, links homosexuality to pedophilia.

With that as a backdrop, the request by Cunningham and other federal workers that OPM drop organizations listed as hate groups from the Combined Federal Campaign appeared to take on a greater significance.

The CFC bills itself on its website as the world’s largest charitable giving program. It says that in 2010 federal workers donated more than $281.5 million to charitable organizations in the U.S. and abroad. A federal advisory committee reviewing the CFC this year reports that in more than 50 years since the CFC was created, federal employees donated more than $7 billion to thousands of national and local charitable groups.

CFC rules posted on its website state that the main eligibility requirement for a group to become part of the CFC is it must first obtain a tax-exempt status from the IRS known as a 501 (c) (3) charity. Other requirements include certain financial accountability standards to ensure that most of the organization’s revenue obtained by donations goes to a charitable cause rather than to salaries and overhead expenses. Groups admitted to the CFC must also file an annual IRS 990 financial disclosure form that is available for public inspection.

“OPM does not consider a charitable organization’s political activity or viewpoint when making eligibility determinations,” said OPM spokesperson Brittney Manchester. “Giving to charities through the CFC is a matter of personal choice for federal employees, who have the option to ensure that their contributions go only to the specific charities they designate.”

Manchester said Family Research Council and American Family Association have participated in the CFC since 2004. She said OPM Director Berry, who took office in 2009, does not sign off on organizations approved for the CFC.

Leonard Hirsch, president of Federal GLOBE, an LGBT federal workers group, said he agrees with the OPM decision against expelling FRC and the American Family Association from the CFC.

“The rules of CFC, which protect the freedom of speech of any group, are also what protect LGBT groups for coming in,” Hirsch told the Blade.

According to Hirsch, LGBT charitable groups faced some opposition when they initially applied for and later were admitted into the CFC more than a decade ago.

“As much as I respect the Southern Poverty Law Center, and I do enormously, I’m not certain that they should be a screen through which a program like this is put,” Hirsch said. “While they have designated these groups as hate groups that is not the federal designation.”

Added Hirsch, “So do I like it that certain groups are there? No, and there are a whole number of groups that get money from the CFC that I don’t like. However, I support their right within the rules and the guidelines to be there.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in a commentary in the Washington Post on Tuesday that the designation of the Family Research Council as a hate group is justified. Griffin said FRC’s long history of “claiming the mantle of ‘deeply held religious beliefs’” to propagate “lies that denigrate an entire group of people” supports the designation as a hate group.

However, a source familiar with HRC said HRC would not support expelling FRC and other groups from the CFC “because of the implications that it could have for pro-LGBT organizations in an unfriendly administration.”

Among the LGBT advocacy organizations participating in the CFC are Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Immigration Equality; National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Conservative religious-oriented advocacy groups participating in the CFC that oppose LGBT rights, in addition to the Family Research Council and American Family Association, include the 700 Club; Alliance Defense Fund; and Focus on the Family.

Continue Reading


  1. brian

    August 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

    It’s just over ten weeks before an incredibly significant national election. So it’s not hard to see why OPM may be distracted– appearing to jump through every hoop necessary to publicly deny what is obvious to casual observers.

    The federal government should not be in the business of providing and facilitating fund-raising support for hate groups.

    So OPM needs to promptly establish reasonably tough, defensible standards that prevent participants of CFC– especially those with a past history of doing so– from publicly demonizing and denigrating whole classes of people protected by civil rights laws– both local, and now, federal. If such standards are well-crafted, civil rights groups (e.g., HRC) should have no problem defending their CFC status before unfriendly administrations in the future.

    Hopefully, that should not take OPM longer than, say… about 90 days to accomplish.

  2. Mike in Houston

    August 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Those that argue that the FRC or AFA shouldn’t be part of the program are wrong. The CFC is simply a mechanism for federal employees to give THEIR own money via payroll deduction. Unlike private companies, there is no matching gift program… So no tax dollars are going directly to the FRC. Rather than dwelling on the hate label (well deserved though it is), why not start pouring over the 990’s, etc? That’s how Porno Pete’s AFT org lost their 501c3 status.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


‘Very familiar’: Mark Glaze’s story brings into focus mental health for gay men

Experts see common story as LGBTQ people enter middle age



Mark Glaze's death by suicide is bringing into focus mental health issues faced by gay men.

The death by suicide at age 51 of Mark Glaze, a gun reform advocate who was close to many in D.C.’s LGBTQ community, is striking a chord with observers who see his struggles with mental health and alcoholism as reflective of issues facing many gay men as they enter middle age.

Glaze’s story resonates even though much of the attention on mental health issues in the LGBTQ community is devoted to LGBTQ youth going through the coming out process and transgender people who face disproportionate violence and discrimination within the LGBTQ community in addition to a growing focus on LGBTQ seniors entering later stages of life.

Randy Pumphrey, senior director of behavioral health for the D.C.-based Whitman-Walker Health, said Glaze’s story was “very familiar” as a tale of mental health issues facing gay men in the middle stage of life.

“You’re talking about a gay-identified man who is in his 50s, somebody who has struggled with alcohol misuse — or maybe abuse or dependence— and also depression,” Pumphrey said. “I think that there has always been a higher incidence of suicide for men in general in their middle age 50 and above, but this increases when you’re talking about gay men, and also if you’re talking about gay men who suffer with mental health issues, or substance use disorder issues.”

Several sources close to Glaze said his death did not come as a surprise. His family has been open about his death by suicide last month while he was in jail after allegedly fleeing the scene of a car accident in Pennsylvania and a long history of depression and alcoholism.

Pumphrey said Glaze’s situation coping with mental health issues as well as the consequences for his role in the accident, were reflective of someone who might “begin to perceive that this is an issue that they can’t get away from, or the consequences they can’t get away from exposure and that can lead somebody to a fatal outcome.”

“My experience is that there have been gay men that I have worked with over the years — particularly in their 50s and early 60s — it’s taken them a long time to recognize the severity of the problem, whether it’s their depression or their substance abuse, and then they find themselves in a very precarious situation because of shame, and so they may not necessarily seek help even though they need help.”

A 2017 study in the American Journal of Men’s Health found the prevalence of depression among gay men is three times higher than the general adult population, which means they are a subgroup at high risk for suicide.

The study found “scant research exists about gay men’s health beyond sexual health issues,” most often with HIV, which means issues related to depression and suicidality “are poorly understood.”

“Gay men’s health has often been defined by sexual practices, and poorly understood are the intersections of gay men’s physical and mental health with social determinants of health including ethnicity, locale, education level and socioeconomic status,” the study says.

The study acknowledged being male itself is one factor incorporated in addressing mental health issues in this subgroup because “regardless of sexual orientation, men can be reluctant to seek help for mental health problems.” Another study quoted in the report found 23 percent, less than one quarter of gay men, who attempted suicide sought mental health or medical treatment.

In addition to mental health issues facing gay men in Glaze’s age group, others saw his situation as a common story in the culture of Washington, which is notorious for celebrating and prioritizing success with little tolerance for personal setbacks.

In the case of Glaze, who had sparred on Fox News with Tucker Carlson as executive director of Everytown for Gun Safety, the threat of exposure and threat to his career may have seemed overwhelmingly daunting.

Steven Fisher, who knew Glaze since the 1990s and worked with him at the D.C.-based Raben Group, said one factor that contributed to Glaze’s condition was “he could only see upward in terms of his career trajectory.”

“We saw that in him and it had me very concerned because I felt like he might end up in a place that wasn’t good once he left Everytown, and that’s tragically and sadly what happened,” Fisher said. “I think he just had trouble adjusting to what is usually a roller coaster ride, I think, in people’s careers, especially in the D.C. world.”

Along with Glaze, Fisher has worked on gun issues for Everytown, which has been a client of his since 2015 after he worked for them in 2012 after the Newtown shooting.

Compounding the challenges that Glaze faced is a culture among many gay men focused on sexuality, which prioritizes youth and appearance and presents problems as those qualities start fading when men enter middle age.

Fisher said another factor in Glaze’s condition was social media, pointing out public perception about his identity was important to him.

“If you look at his social media — I think this is instructive to the rest of us — a lot of the comments are about how Mark was so good looking and he was charming, and he was so smart and so funny,” Fisher said. “That’s all true, and that’s why he was very appealing to many people, but those qualities don’t really tell you everything about a person. In fact, one could argue they’re superficial in a way, and people have to remember people are more complicated than what you see on social media.”

One issue for gay men facing mental health issues as they enter middle age is they don’t have the same resources as those available to LGBTQ youth, who have been more of a focus in terms of mental health issues in the LGBTQ community.

Among the leading organizations for LGBTQ youth is the Trevor Project, which has resources and a hotline for LGBTQ youth facing mental health crises.

Kevin Wong, vice president of communications for the Trevor Project, said his organization would be receptive to an older LGBTQ person who calls the hotline, but ultimately would refer that person elsewhere.

“If an LGBTQ person above the age of 25 reaches out to The Trevor Project’s crisis services for support and expresses suicidal thoughts, our counselors will listen, actively and with empathy, and work with them to de-escalate and form a safety plan, like any other contact,” Wong said. “However, our organization has remained youth-centric since its founding and our volunteer crisis counselors are specifically trained with younger LGBTQ people in mind.”

Much attention is focused on the coming out process for LGBTQ people, a time that can upend close relationships — as well as reaffirm them — and a process more commonly associated with youth.

Ilan Meyer, senior scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said data is scant about suicide rates among LGBTQ people, but information on suicide attempts shows they tend to be at a heightened rate for LGBTQ people as they go through the coming out process.

“What we do know is that there is a connection with the coming out period at whatever age coming out happens,” Meyer said. “And so, we see a proximity to coming out whatever age that happened, we see the suicide attempts proceeding and after that.”

Suicide attempts, Meyer said, are much higher for LGBTQ people than the population at large. The self-reported rate of suicide attempts in the U.S. population as a whole, Meyer said, is 2.4 percent, but that figure changes to 20 to 30 percent among LGBTQ youth, which about to 10 to 15 times greater.

Black and Latino people, Meyer said, have been less likely to make suicide attempts in their lifetimes, although he added that may be changing in recent years.

With the primary focus on mental health issues elsewhere in the LGBTQ community, Glaze’s death raises questions about whether sufficient resources are available to people in his demographic, or whether individuals are willing to seek out care options that are available.

Meyer said whether the resources for suicidal ideologies among LGBTQ people are sufficient and what more could be done “is the the million-dollar question.”

“It’s definitely not determined by just mental health,” Meyer said. “So many people have depression, but they don’t attempt suicide. And so, then the difficult thing is to find the right moment to intervene and what that intervention should be.”

Meyer said much of the focus on mental health is on a person’s last moments before making a suicide attempt, such as making suicide hotlines readily available, but some of the stressors he sees “are more chronic, ongoing things related to homophobia and the kind of experience that LGBT people have as they come to terms to realize their sexual identity.”

Pumphrey said another factor in mental health issues not to be underestimated for almost two years now is “dealing with the COVID and loneliness epidemic,” which appears to have no immediate end in sight with the emergence of the Omnicron variant.

“There was always this piece of sometimes the experience of being in your 50s and early 60s…we talk about the invisibility factor,” Pumphrey said. “But when there’s just this sense of being disconnected from community, especially in the early days of the pandemic, and kind of being locked down, I think that just raised the risk.”

Continue Reading


U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS to be held virtually Dec. 2-3

Fauci, Levine, Pelosi to speak at opening session



Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health, is among speakers at this week’s U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health who became the nation’s highest-ranking transgender public official earlier this year, are among dozens of experts scheduled to participate in the 25th Annual U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS scheduled to take place virtually Dec. 2-3.

Fauci and Levine were scheduled to join Harold Phillips, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, as speakers at the conference’s opening plenary session at noon on Thursday, Dec. 2. 

Phillips and Levine were expected to provide information about President Joe Biden’s plans for updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which Biden was scheduled to announce on Dec. 1 at a White House World AIDS Day event.

Members of the U.S. People Living With HIV Caucus were also expected to discuss the federal policy agenda on HIV/AIDS at the opening plenary session. 

In addition to the opening plenary and three other plenary sessions, one more on Thursday, Dec. 2, and two on Friday, Dec. 3, the conference was scheduled to include 140 workshop sessions on a wide variety of HIV/AIDS related topics.

The annual United States Conference on HIV/AIDS is organized by the D.C.-based national HIV/AIDS advocacy organization NMAC, which was formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council before it changed its name to that of its widely known initials NMAC. 

“NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic in America,” the organization states on its website. “Health equity with communities of color is everyone’s challenge.”

Several of the workshop sessions cover the topic of expanding the local, state, and national efforts of using pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs known as PrEP as a means of preventing HIV infection. 

Other workshop sessions include: HIV CURE – Hot Topics in HIV Cure Research; A Town Hall on Aging and HIV; COVID, HIV, and Racism – How Providers Can Make a Difference; Expanding the Pleasure and HIV Prevention Toolkit: Kink As Harm Reduction; It’s About Time – HIV Research Just For Transgender Women; and Impact of COVID-19 on HIV Prevention Services Among U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Funded Community Based Organizations.

The conference’s fourth and closing plenary session, Foundation Stones to Building the EHE Effort in Indian County, “will highlight the work of those addressing HIV and COVID in Indian Country, rural states and among Alaska Natives with limited infrastructure,” according to a conference agenda statement. 

“This plenary addresses these challenges and provides innovative solutions by the Indian Country – making the case to support Native HIV care by providing essential building blocks,” the agenda statement says. 

Paul Kawata, NMAC’s executive director, says in a statement in the conference’s agenda booklet that he and his NMAC team are disappointed that the 2021 conference is being held virtually for the second year in a row.

“But we felt the issue of safety was simply too critical to ignore,” Kawata said in his statement. “I’ve been very concerned about our loved ones over 50 living with HIV through the whole COVID pandemic,” he said, noting that people in that category were dealing with isolation as well as a higher risk for COVID.

“I hope this conference, even though it is virtual, will help alleviate some of that isolation,” Kawata said. “We’ve worked very hard to make this conference not just an opportunity for training and education, but a chance to connect with others, reinforce those strands in your support net, and hopefully, establish some new connections.”

More information about the U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS and instructions on registering to attend can be obtained at

Continue Reading


N.C. lieutenant governor compares gays to cow feces, maggots

“If homosexuality is of God, what purpose does it serve? What does it make? What does it create? It creates nothing,” Robinson said



North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson (Blade file photo)

WINSTON-SALEM – Speaking to parishioners at the Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem last Sunday, November 14, North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson attacked the LGBTQ+ community in remarks caught on the church’s livestreaming video on YouTube.

Robinson said in his sermon that he questioned the “purpose” of being gay; said heterosexual couples are “superior” to gay couples; and that he didn’t want to explain to his grandchildren why two men are kissing if they see that on television the Charlotte Observer reported.

The state’s Republican Lt. Governor then went on to compare being gay to “what the cows leave behind” as well as maggots and flies, who he said all serve a purpose in God’s creation. “If homosexuality is of God, what purpose does it serve? What does it make? What does it create? It creates nothing,” Robinson said.

Democratic lawmakers expressed their outrage on Twitter:

According to the Observer, “The video was distributed Friday by a pastor at St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh, the day before the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A protest rally was held Friday in front of Robinson’s office, but organizers also read the names of transgender people who have been killed.

This man’s theology and religious practices are not only flawed and a perversion of the Christian tenets; he places countless people at risk of violent attacks and even murder every time he opens his mouth,” said Vance Haywood, senior pastor at St. John’s, in a statement.

Robinson is expected to run for the governor’s chair in 2024. In another video of the sermon captured the Lt. Governor ranting in transphobic terms his opinion of the Trans community:

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (Twitter Video)

Video of remarks made by North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson courtesy of the Charlotte Observer.

Continue Reading

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts