Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation describes itself as a “conservative think tank” with a mission “to formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

Heritage’s stated support for freedom and limited government does not extend to LGBTQ Americans, as evidenced by decades of waging losing battles against:

Wrote and coordinated copycat state legislation targeting gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Every major medical association supports gender-affirming care as evidence-based, safe, and lifesaving.

Supports groups such as Moms For Liberty which seek to ban books, target guidelines that protect students’ freedom to dress as they wish and access to the bathroom according to the gender they identify with, and have called school board members “pedophiles” while posting private information to encourage online and real life harassment.

Criticized corporations honoring Pride month in 2021 and falsely claimed children were being targeted with inappropriate content, such as a cereal box and Lego set.

Supported state bills targeting transgender youth participation in sports, falsely claiming: "I think the ultimate outcome will be to protect women and girls’ equal opportunities.” An AP investigation found that bill sponsors could not cite an instance of transgender participation ever being an issue in their states.

—Falsely claimed in March 2021 that “The Equality Act would demolish existing civil rights and constitutional freedoms.” The Equality Act offers comprehensive protections against discrimination for every LGBTQ American and expands existing civil rights for people of faith and all women.

Criticized the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court Bostock ruling expanding civil rights employment protections to LGBTQ workers, inaccurately claiming: “The word “sex”— still today as when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964—refers to our biological reality as male or female. It doesn’t refer to our sexual orientations or malleable gender identities as some see it.” 

—Reiterated opposition in 2018 to “the expansion of antidiscrimination laws to elevate ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as protected classes.” 79% of Americans support laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination as of March 2022.

Defended the Boy Scouts of America’s right to discriminate: “In the opinion of the Boy Scouts, homosexuality is wrong. Those who disagree are free to whine and complain all they want—and even form their own alternative organization—but it doesn't give them the right to try and use the government to force a private organization to alter its code of ethics.” In May 2013, The Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay youth as members. In July 2015, the Scouts unanimously voted to end its blanket ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual adult leaders. In January 2017, The Scouts moved to allow transgender boys to participate.

Claimed in 2008: “It's time to hold accountable those lawmakers who have opened the door for this court ruling by trying to appease homosexual rights activists with laws that allow civil unions. You cannot have peace at any price with those who seek to conquer and vanquish our values.” In 2013, falsely claimed: “Same-sex marriage never will be widely accepted in America for a simple reason: It’s based on a lie.” More than 300,000 couples have wed since marriage equality was legalized in 2015. A May 2022 poll shows only 26% think same-sex marriage should be “illegal in America.” 

Baselessly claimed in 2003: “Americans are, once again, drawing the line in the sand. Between the recent legalization of same-sex marriages in Vermont and Canada, the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that struck down the state's sodomy law, the opening of a high school for ‘gay’ students in New York City and the decisions by the Episcopal Church to approve a ‘gay’ bishop and allow ‘gay’ marriages, Americans are saying they have had enough.” As of June 2021, support for marriage equality is at a record high 70%.

—Falsely claimed marriage equality will harm children, relying on anti-LGBTQ fringe group American College of Pediatricians, an anti-LGBTQ hate group as categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center for opposing adoption by LGBTQ couples, falsely linking homosexuality to pedophilia, endorsing so-called conversion therapy and baseless opinions about transgender health care as “child abuse.” Every major medical association supports gender-affirming care as safe and lifesaving. A large and growing body of research about children raised by LGBTQ parents shows no adverse effects on children. 

Opposed bans on discredited and dangerous so-called “conversion therapy” practices: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill banning therapy for state residents under 18 who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction. With a flick of his pen, Christie usurped authority from parents in deciding the care their children should receive.” In 1973, The American Psychiatric Association determined that sexual orientation is not mental disorder to be “cured” or “treated” and in 2013 the APA removed “gender identity disorder” from its diagnostic manual and found that efforts to change orientation and identity can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and suicide. 

Claimed that transgender identity and issues became something that “most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.” Transgender people have existed throughout cultures for centuries, and as of May 2022 more than 100 bills have been introduced targeting trans youth access to healthcare, school sports, and the bathroom.

—Falsely claimed a “resurgence” of gender affirming procedures “not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement.” Data from more than a dozen studies show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health and that restricting access is associated with higher rates of suicide, depression and self-harm. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have all published policy statements and guidelines on how to provide age-appropriate gender-affirming care, finding such care to be evidence-based and medically necessary.

—Baselessly supported rejecting transgender people from serving in the military: “It would be both reckless and immoral to allow transgender individuals to enlist in the armed forces before we have fact-based assurance that they have the mental resilience needed to survive the crucible of combat and deployments.” 71% of troops support out transgender military service as of 2019.

Opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 to support a full ban on LGBTQ service and baselessly claimed: “Congress should resolve this issue by passing a law affirming that homosexuality is incompatible with military service” and that “professional military judgment and experience indicate that mixing known homosexuals with heterosexuals degrades cohesion and combat effectiveness.” Decades of military research going back to the 1950s shows allowing gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops to serve never threatened military effectiveness. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in 2011. In 2019 71% of troops supported transgender military service members.

See: Ryan T. Anderson, Kay Cole James, Mike Pence

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.