Monday, March 10, 2014

After Marriage - Is EPPC Defining the Next Battle for Equality?

Robert P. George
Robert P. George
While ADF has been visible in crafting anti-gay state legislation in the guise of “religious freedom,” the real work, behind the scenes, is being done by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. EPPC is yet another largely conservative Catholic anti-gay organization based in Washington, DC. Our old friend, Princeton professor Robert P. George, is vice chairman. We now know that “Religious freedom” means freedom to discriminate against LGBT citizens.

In addition to Robby, this is where George Weigel makes a home and the organization is headed by Ed Whelan. Whelan, a promiscuous blogger at National Review Online, was engaged in a crusade to reverse Judge Vaughn Walker's decision in the Proposition 8 case — solely because Walker is gay. In effect, Whelan has been the NRO conduit for National Organization for Marriage. Virtually every NOM issue has been mirrored by Whelan on NRO.

EPPC runs the American Religious Freedom project. ARF is headed up by two lawyers; Brian Walsh, executive director and Tim Schultz, state legislative policy director. According to their web site they are looking for a deputy legislative director and a legislative assistant; preferably two more lawyers. By the way, among the advisors is San Francisco archbishop and Church point man on banning gay marriage, Salvatore Cordileone. Robby and Sal, together again.

Stealthily, ARF/EPPC has been creating “religious freedom” caucuses in state legislatures around the country. In June of 2013 they claimed to have more than 200 legislators in 18 state “religious freedom” caucuses. These included Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. By now, I suspect that they have considerably more states and legislators.

These caucuses are where “religious freedom” legislation is being introduced. This is a well orchestrated plan designed to ensure that gays do not enjoy equal protection under law. Feigning religious freedom, they engage these caucuses to protect religious rights if, or when, marriage equality comes to their state. Regardless of their outrage after they failed in Arizona, these measures are (intentionally) so vaguely worded that they could (and probably would) be used to relegate gays to second class citizenship for virtually any reason.

In effect, EPPC is the successor to National Organization for Marriage. I take nothing for granted but believe that we will have 50 state marriage equality by the summer of 2016, possibly 2015. After gaining the right to marry, EPPC will attempt to diminish our rights to live as equal citizens.

For the year ended June 30, 2013, EPPC took in close to $4 million. They were also sitting on $3.5 million in liquid assets (cash and securities) that they can utilize. I suspect that they are a much larger organization at this point.

Make no mistake about it. Like NOM, EPPC is first doing the bidding of the United States Congress of Catholic Bishops. According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, we are disordered and we do violence to children when we adopt. EPPC is more diverse than NOM. They have people like Richard Land and George O. Wood on board. Unchecked they can do a great deal of damage.
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