We were hard-pressed to find Probe associating gay men with pedophilia, but Probe did say children are more likely to be molested in same-sex marriages—buried in the 20th paragraph of a 2014 post about same-sex marriage. It pointed to research cited by the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), which said children raised by gay parents also tend to be more dissatisfied with their own gender, have homosexual experiences more often, and are encouraged to experiment in dangerous, destructive lifestyle choices.
The ACP, not to be confused with the much-larger American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is a coalition of doctors who say scientific research shows father-mother families are ideal for children. The AAP argues differently, and while it’s hard to know whose research is most accurate, the SPLC has cleverly silenced debate on the issue—by adding the ACP to its anti-LGBT hate list.
Probe isn’t alone.
In September, Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle examined another SPLC anti-LGBT hate lister, the Ruth Institute, and looked into each accusation the SPLC made against the San Diego–based family advocacy group. McArdle found the SPLC had, in one instance, taken words out of context during a radio interview with Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse. In another, SPLC maligned Morse, a Catholic, for saying homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered,” even though those words were lifted directly from the Catholic catechism.
And there’s the Pacific Justice Institute. PJI’s president, Brad Dacus, said the SPLC also took his words out of context when it accused Dacus of comparing homosexuality to incest and polygamy. We reviewed a radio transcript of Dacus’ interview with Jim Schneider on VCY America’s radio show Crosstalk where he apparently made the comparison. It’s clear after reading Dacus’ entire quote that he was pointing out the slippery slope argument and legal loopholes if the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional. The SPLC added the Pacific Justice Institute to its hate list in 2014.
Being labeled a hate group didn’t mean much until this past August, when clashes with white supremacists in Charlottesville left one person dead. After that, it didn’t take long for people to notice groups like Stedfast, Probe, Pacific Justice Institute, or the Ruth Institute. A week after Charlottesville, the local paper called the Ruth Institute’s Morse to investigate “hate groups in San Diego’s backyard.” A month later, its credit card processing company cut ties with the group.
The Ruth Institute is the first instance of an online vendor cutting ties with an SPLC-designated anti-LGBT group for “promoting hate.” It may not be the last. Some groups told WORLD they’re concerned not just about staying legitimate, but staying in business.
The SPLC itself has little power beyond litigation, but because big companies, law enforcement agencies, contribution platforms, and media outlets all use the Montgomery, Ala.–based NGO’s hate list to determine who’s who in the world of hate and intolerance, its influence is surprisingly vast. In the wake of Charlottesville, several companies swiftly distanced themselves from white supremacist and other hate-related organizations. GoDaddy, Cloudflare, ICANN, and Google all cut ties with The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi site. GoFundMe deleted fundraising campaigns for the man who plowed through the Charlottesville crowd. PayPal and Apple piled on, suspending accounts associated with white supremacists. All used the SPLC’s hate group list as a reference point.