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Billionaire-Backed Group Pushing GOP to Accept 'Gay Rights'

Paul Singer
American Unity Fund, backed by billionaire Paul Singer, has been pushing for pro-LGBT "rights" legislation in the Republican-controlled Congress. (Reuters photo)

American Unity Fund, a nonprofit bankrolled by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, is once again pushing the LGBT "rights" agenda in Congress.

AUF is a Republican-aligned group dedicated to "advancing the cause of freedom for LGBT Americans" using "conservative" arguments. It does that by "making the conservative case that freedom truly means freedom for everyone."

From its website:

Republicans believe strongly in the American Dream. Too often government serves as an obstacle to prosperity for millions of Americans—confiscating their wealth with escalating taxes, strangling their businesses with burdensome regulations and undermining our economy with unsustainable spending and increasing uncertainty. For Americans who happen to be LGBT, it goes one step farther, denying them the same rights and responsibilities extended to every other taxpaying family. We believe the American Dream belongs to all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Because of our commitment to these values, pro-freedom conservatives, major GOP donors and ordinary American citizens who care about their LGBT neighbors have come together in a new effort to build more Republican support for LGBT rights.  That effort is American Unity Fund.

As a 501(c)(4) "social welfare organization," AUF is allowed to advance legislation that would attain its "social welfare purposes." Its primary lobbyist in Washington, D.C., is Legislative Counsel Casey Pick. He is also a board member of the Gay Christian Network and used to be program director for Log Cabin Republicans, an organization for gay Republicans.

According to Politico's Isaac Arnsdorf, Pick—on behalf of AUF—has filed support for the following pieces of legislation:

  • Restore Honor to Service Members Act, H.R. 3068/S. 1766;
  • Safe Schools Improvement Act, H.R. 2902/S. 311;
  • First Amendment Defense Act, H.R. 2802/S. 1598;
  • Every Child Deserves a Family Act, H.R. 2449/S. 1382;
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, H.R. 1779/S. 262;
  • Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, H.R. 1299/S. 667;
  • Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, H.R. 1598;
  • Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act, S. 270;
  • Social Security and Marriage Equality Act, S. 753/H.R. 1404; and
  • Juror Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 864

It's not entirely clear how each piece of legislation advances AUF's cause, but the organization has been working hard to apply pressure to the Republican-controlled Congress to advance its agenda. From its website:

Support for relationship recognition and non-discrimination is mainstream among rank-and-file Republican voters, presenting opportunities for Republican officeholders to embrace inclusive public policies. Advocating for "American Families, American Individuals and American Values", American Unity Fund is solidifying a pro-freedom Republican voice on Capitol Hill, taking the federal push for LGBT liberty to the next level.

AUF says the Restore Honor to Service Members Act would allow for an upgrade to military discharges under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," while the Safe Schools Improvement Act would ensure public school districts are equipped to handle "instances of pervasive harassment and bullying." The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015 would "address the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT youth."

AUF's support for some of the legislation is a direct result of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges last summer. The organization is pushing for the GOP to break from its official platform plank in opposition to same-sex "marriage." From its website:

The Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell has established that the freedom to marry is the law of the land across the United States.  However, there remains work to be done to ensure that all American families have the protections they need to keep our communities strong.

The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would prohibit publicly-funded child welfare agencies from discriminating against prospective foster and adoptive families on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And, the Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act and the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act would change the definition of "spouse" for purposes of veterans benefits to include same-sex spouses.

The Social Security and Marriage Equality Act would remove the remaining "loopholes" in Social Security treatment of "lawfully married same-sex couples," the organization says.


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