Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council

Family Research Council (FRC)

The Family Research Council is a far-right evangelical activist and lobbying group claiming to promote family values. In fact, it lobbies against LGBTQ rights using homophobic and transphobic discredited research, falsely and harmfully conflates being gay with pedophilia, and spreads harmful inaccurate claims. 

In 2020 the FRC filed an application to change its status to an “association of churches,” despite describing itself as “A nonprofit research and educational organization” on its web site. According to ProPublica, the FRC is “no longer required to file a public tax return… [reveal] key staffer salaries, the names of board members and related organizations,” or  “large payments to independent contractors and grants the organization has made. Unlike with other charities, IRS investigators can’t initiate an audit on a church unless a high-level Treasury Department official has approved the investigation.”

FRC’s anti-LGBTQ record:

Describes the Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people and expand protections for women, people of color and people of faith in various areas of public life as “unequal, unfair, and unjust.” FRC baselessly claims that the Equality Act would “massively overhaul our federal civil rights framework in order to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), expand abortion access, and gut religious liberty,” and that it “would be a disaster for all Americans.”

Filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court against marriage equality in support of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, both since nullified.

—Publishes brochures, videos, and other materials for parents and other school anti-trans activists, such as the 2016 “Parents Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education,” which misgenders trans people and encourages parents to oppose gender-affirming care backed by every major medical association as best practice, lifesaving care; supports so-called “conversion therapy,” and encourages children to ignore classmates’ pronouns, despite research showing that using accurate pronouns improves mental health. FRC state chapter affiliates follow the lead; the Minnesota Family Council, for example, offers to send parents a printed, bound “Parent Resource Guide...on the transgender trend.”

—Defended the Parents Action League, a Minnesota group that lobbied the Anoka-Hennepin school district against implementing anti-bullying policies under the false belief that the policies target students with “homosexual propaganda” and result in them being “indoctrinated in homosexuality.” FRC says that bullying isn’t the problem, anti-bullying policies are. The group’s True Tolerance campaign contends that school strategies to address bullying are really just cover for “activists who want to promote homosexuality in kids” to “capture the hearts and minds of our children at their earliest stages.”

Baselessly claimed, in a document written by Robert Knight and Robert York titled “Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia,” that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The document also claimed that the “homosexual rights movement has tried to distance itself from pedophilia, but only for public relations purposes.” SPLC notes that the booklet has since disappeared from FRC’s website, but the organization has not withdrawn the claims it made. Former reality television star Josh Duggar, who directed FRC’s lobbying arm FRC Action, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in May 2022 after being convicted of child pornography possession that a Homeland Security investigator described as among the most abusive and horrific he had ever seen. Duggar was also charged with child molestation for abusing five underage girls, including four of his sisters.

—Promotes the “ex-gay” movement as a way to combat LGBTQ civil rights measures and refutes the claims of victims of abusive, so-called “conversion therapy.” FRC claims sexual orientation can be changed, but only from “gay” to “straight,” and claims that there is no scientific proof that is “more harmful that other forms of therapy.” So-called “conversion therapy” is a discredited practice and has been denounced by every major medical and psychological association in the U.S. As of February 2022, at least 20 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and more than 100 municipalities have banned this harmful practice on anyone under 18 years of age. In December 2021, Canada and France also banned the discredited practice.

See: Tony Perkins

The GLAAD Accountability Project monitors and documents individual public figures and groups using their platforms to spread misinformation and false rhetoric against LGBTQ people, youth, and allies. Some groups have misleading names inferring unwarranted expertise or credibility, when their main focus is advocating against LGBTQ people, and some claiming to be grassroots efforts have ties to national organizations with long histories opposing LGBTQ Americans.