“In publishing this manifesto, Family Research Council forfeits any right to argue that they are not a hate group.”

Peter Sprigg
Image: Newsmax

Discipline is required on my part to refer to Peter Sprigg without inserting my preferred middle name for the anti-LGBT bigot. Peter Sprigg has authored a pretentious Issue Brief for his employer, Family Research Council (an anti-LGBT hate group). The title of Sprigg’s gush is: Why “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity”Should Never Be Specially Protected Categories Under the Law.

The correct term is not “category” but protected class. Either a group is or is not a protected class. There is no such thing as a “specially” protected class. Sprigg does not author much in the way of ingenuity or originality to support his contentions:

1. SOGI laws are not justified in principle.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are unlike other characteristics protected in nondiscrimination laws. The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, bars discrimination based on
“race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.” The first four of these are clearly part of a person’s innate
identity, with “race, color,” and “sex” being biological factors identifiable at birth. A large part of the
reason why discrimination on these bases is considered unjust is because these characteristics are
indisputably inborn, involuntary, and immutable. Religion is different in that it is voluntary and
involves both beliefs and behaviors. However, freedom of religion is explicitly protected by the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which is silent on issues of “sexual orientation” and “gender


The feelings and sense of identity (same-sex attraction or gender incongruity) may be involuntary, but
they have not been proven to be inborn or immutable (there is certainly no way to identify them at
birth). The behaviors, however (homosexual conduct or presenting oneself as something other than one’s
biological sex), are clearly a matter of choice, and those choices carry a substantial risk of harm to the
LGBT individual and cost to society at large.

In the second paragraph of the above gibberish, Sprigg writes that sexual orientation and gender identity might be involuntary but they are still choices. That makes no sense at all. If they are involuntary then they cannot be choices. Sprigg dishonestly determines that a condition must be identifiable at birth to be immutable. That also makes no sense. The existence of anything does not depend upon knowledge of that existence.

Then he repeats the phrase which is prima facie evidence of why FRC is deemed a hate group: “…those choices carry a substantial risk of harm to the LGBT individual and cost to society at large.” It also serves as confirmation of why Peter Sprigg is deserving of a gratuitous middle name.

In the preceding paragraph Sprigg is trying to make a case for the voluntary adherence to religion to constitute a protected class irrespective of it being a choice. His excuse is that “freedom of religion” is constitutionally protected.

There are two glaring problems with that argument. The first, and most obvious, is that it depends upon sexual orientation and gender identity to be voluntary. Sprigg makes a very poor argument in that regard and he is at odds with the overwhelming consensus of science which is that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate. That is also the position of every mainstream medical and counseling professional organization.

The second problem with Sprigg’s argument rests with what the Constitution protects. The First Amendment guarantees a right to free exercise of religion. In 1879 the Supreme Court ruled that free exercise means the right to religious beliefs (Reynolds v. United States). People are free to worship portobello mushrooms if that is their desire.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything about an entitlement to nondiscrimination. That protection required passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religion is probably included because of rampant anti-Semitism on the part of these same Christians as well as their anti-Catholic sentiments. The fact that people are free to worship the sanctity of sauerkraut does not establish a reason for sexual orientation and gender identity not to be protected classes.

Sprigg moves on to commerce:

SOGI laws increase government interference in the free market. They substitute the judgment of
government officials in place of the judgment normally exercised by private businesses and
organizations regarding what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job and how
those private organizations wish to operate. The rights clearly protected by the Constitution do not place
any limits on the free actions of private individuals and organizations; …

If protecting people from discrimination based on their sexuality is an impediment to the free market then the same is true for protecting people from discrimination on any other basis. I am reminded that after passage of the Civil Rights Act Moreton Rolleston, the owner of a motel in Atlanta, said that he should not be forced to serve black travelers. His argument: “…the fundamental question […] is whether or not Congress has the power to take away the liberty of an individual to run his business as he sees fit in the selection and choice of his customers.”

Sprigg continues with a similar argument:

Non-discrimination provisions such as SOGI laws, however, do not merely limit the government; they
coercively place a restriction upon the action of private entities (such as small businesses) in carrying out
their private activity.

Aside from the bigotry, Peter Sprigg is too dense to realize that he is arguing against all nondiscrimination laws — including the protection of people based on their religion.

Sprigg goes on to claim that laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are unnecessary. Sprigg claims that the nondiscrimination policies of many large corporations “undermines any suggestion
that such discrimination is endemic, or that government action is required to arrest the perceived

Sprigg’s own employer, Family Research Council, has championed the contrived right of people like Barronelle Stutzman to discriminate in spite of applicable law. Sprigg’s argument is that there is a special right, on the basis of religion, to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The fact that Pepperidge Farm (a division of Campbell Soup Company) has well-formed nondiscrimination policies does not mean that a small maker should have a right to discriminate. That applies to all protected classes.

Drivel has a home:

2. SOGI laws are invasive and cause tangible harms.

SOGI laws lead to costly and unnecessary lawsuits against businesses. They invite disgruntled
employees to sue for discrimination over a characteristic (in the case of sexual orientation) which is not
even visible and of which the employer may have been unaware. In the case of public employers, such
laws at the local and state level have led to large settlements being paid at taxpayers’ expense.
Disgruntled customers have sued businesses in the wedding industry under such laws for declining to
participate in same-sex “weddings” (even when the business made clear that they would serve
customers who identify as homosexual in other ways that would not involve celebration of their
homosexual partnership).

If litigation is expensive then do not discriminate. Problem solved. Religion and national origin — both protected classes — are also invisible to the employer so that argument does not fly. Then there is the pro forma support of bigotry. Sprigg asserts that people who bake cakes or sell flowers are “participants” in a marriage that they do not approve of. Selling goods and services is not participation. It is an exchange of goods and services for money. The same applies to claiming that those vendors are celebrants.

The foundation of this discrimination is the notion that we want their approval and that selling goods and services constitute approval. The idea that we want their approval aggregates self-importance. Their egos are demolished when we make it clear that we do not care. They think that we are then lying. “Surely you need the approval of we, the people who are God’s appointees on earth.”

We are a threat to children:

I am skipping over moronic bloat about privacy and the victimization of faith-based agencies. We arrive at:

SOGI laws could mandate the employment of persons who identify as homosexual or transgender in
inappropriate occupations. Sexual conduct and gender can be relevant to employment. Under such
legislation, for example, employers in education and childcare would be required to hire teachers who
openly identify as LGBT, even if they consider them inappropriate role models for children and youth.

The very purpose of nondiscrimination laws is to prevent people from making such bigoted judgments. Sexual orientation and gender identity are entirely irrelevant to employment — in any capacity. Gay and transgender teachers do not create gay and transgender students. Sexual orientation and gender identity are formed by about the age of two. Sprigg is a Baptist minister. He is impervious to scientific conclusions. Claiming that gay or trans people create a peril for children is just a device to mask personal disapproval and bigotry. We should not have to entertain personal ignorance and stupidity that the sexuality of children can be influenced by LGBTQ people.

In publishing this manifesto, Family Research Council forfeits any right to argue that they are not a hate group. Once someone claims that our sexuality is a threat to children they also forfeit any and all claims to intellectual honesty.

The required appeal to Religious Liberty™

3. SOGI laws are coercive and cannot be reconciled with religious liberty.

Religious liberty does not create a “right” to discriminate. Nondiscrimination laws are coercive if one is inclined to discriminate. That is their very purpose. There is no logical religious right to refuse service or discriminate in employment. Sprigg’s argument is a projection of self-invented Christian Privilege. Turning away business because one does not approve of the customer is spectacularly stupid.

No one — no one — has ever coherently explained why religious belief would prevent someone from providing goods and services or not employing the most qualified applicant for a position. What are the consequences for Jack Phillips if he bakes the cake? The Bible, in his view, prohibits gay sex. How does that extend to him? What harms does he endure?

Peter Sprigg goes on to assert that the protection of people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity “paves the way” for discrimination on the basis of religion. Even in the context of this cornucopia of rubbish, this particular argument stands out as absurd to the point of madness.

Eventually Sprigg affirms, in his closing paragraph, my contention that this is all about approval and disapproval:

SOGI laws “legislate morality”—the “morality” of the sexual revolution. They send the message that it
is morally wrong to disapprove of homosexual or transgender conduct. For such laws to be endorsed by
citizens who believe that it is morally wrong to engage in homosexual or transgender conduct is a logical
contradiction. The law is a teacher, and it is fundamentally unloving to “teach” our neighbors that they
will find happiness by engaging in unnatural sexual conduct or by adopting a gender identity
inconsistent with their biology and genetics.

Again, we in the LGBTQ community could not care less about the approval of others. The important thing for Sprigg and the rest of these nut jobs to reconcile is that service and employment are not the equivalent of approval. These folks are obsessed with the self-aggrandizing idea that we are desperate for their approval. Now I am repeating myself.

Sprigg’s ideas about gender identity are a very poor attempt to conform medical science to scripture. His judgment about gay sex being “unnatural” is his to hold. However, it does not form a basis for refusing service or employment. What people might do in their bedrooms is unknown and irrelevant.

I have asserted for years that discrimination due to sexuality was all about displaying one’s disapproval in a way that is unambiguously understood by the victims of that discrimination. Sprigg now offers the proof.

Peter Sprigg is not an intellectual giant. Far from it. Rather than forming a point of view based on benefits and consequences, Sprigg formed a view based upon the fact that he disapproves of LGBT people because of religious beliefs. Then he awkwardly constructed convoluted arguments to support his prejudices.

Sprigg is the Hindu trying to outlaw the consumption of beef. He is the Jew or Muslim trying to outlaw the consumption of pork. He is the Christian claiming to have a constitutional right to discriminate. It is a non-existent right concocted from his own deceit.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.