UPDATE: A statement from Colorado LGBT and progressive groups calls out Phil Anschutz:
“Today the Washington Post revealed that while making a fortune off hardworking Coloradans – including LGBTQ Coloradans – billionaire Phil Anschutz has been giving money to organizations that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado.
“Instead of investing in individuals and groups that spread misinformation and advocate violence, Phil Anschutz could invest in improving the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. LGBTQ students still face bullying and harassment in our schools, transgender Coloradans are denied access to the health care, identity documents, and basic rights they deserve, and it is still legal for to subject young people to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.”
“Phil Anschutz’s extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s ‘Pray in Jesus Name’ is shocking,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.”
“The Anschutz name is emblazoned on public institutions across our state,” said Silverii. “Now that it has been revealed that his charity is also going to organizations that support political figures who call for gays and lesbians to be killed, it’s time to ask Anschutz to take a good look at where his money is being spent. The Alliance Defending Freedom props up the same politicians who have introduced hundreds of rights-destroying bills in legislatures across the country – including right here in Colorado. Today, we’re asking Mr. Anschutz to cancel his checks to the ADF, and instead invest in Colorado-based organizations that help improve the lives of LGBTQ friends and neighbors, not try and strip their rights away.”
As the Washington Post reports this morning, one of Colorado’s richest Republican funders, Phil Anschutz, has helped fund an organization widely described as an anti-gay extremist group:
“We started seeing bills that looked 80 to 90 percent identical in language start to pop up around the country,” McTighe said. “The language was so clearly being coordinated.” In a report to be released on Thursday called “Enemies of Equality,” [Freedom for All Americans] shows that 17 bills in 14 states that target transgender Americans “used almost identical language and it’s based off of a model policy ADF started pushing four or five months ago.” All told, there are more than 200 anti-LGBT bills pending in 34 states…
James Dobson is founder of the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family. Tom Minnery is a board member at ADF and senior vice president of policy at Focus on the Family, which gets money from NCF and the family of Forbes 400 billionaire Richard DeVos, founder of Amway. He and his family have given money to all of the organizations founded by Dobson.
“We’re not just kind of cataloguing this for retroactive historical purposes to look back at this legislative session,” McTighe of FFAA said of his group’s effort to expose the intricate web of anti-LGBT interests. “We expect that this will be even more pronounced in the coming legislative session and that the ADF and the groups that it has sway over will continue to get more engaged and will continue to file more and more anti-LGBT bills that are being coordinated…by…national organization[s] with a clear anti-LGBT agenda.”
Here’s what Freedom for All Americans says about Anschutz:
Phil Anschutz is one of the richest people in America, with an estimated fortune of over $10 billion, and is listed at #42 on Forbes’ U.S. Billionaires list as of May 17, 2016.
His entertainment company, AEG, is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena. In addition, Anschutz owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas. He’s also one of the largest landowners in the country.
Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013.
Today’s report documents to a far greater detail than has been disclosed previous the funding and advocacy relationships surrounding the Alliance Defending Freedom–an organization that has spearheaded the opposition to LGBT rights across the nation, and responsible for the defense of figures such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her battle to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Since the U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, ADF has continued to push a wide variety of anti-LGBT legislation in state legislatures across the nation including Colorado’s. The organization has introduced dozens of such pieces of legislation just in 2016, from “bathroom bills” to restrict access to gender-appropriate restrooms for transgender people to “religious freedom” bills meant to carve out space for faith-based discrimination. Safe to say, ADF is diametrically opposed to the direction the nation has been headed on gay rights in recent years.
Oh, and one more thing for Colorado consumption: Phil Anschutz’s money to ADF also funded Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, perhaps the most infamous anti-gay legislator in Colorado’s history. Of course, since Anschutz owns the Colorado Springs Gazette, there was precisely zero chance of citizens in Klingenschmitt’s district ever learning of this connection to the city’s #1 sugar daddy.
Unfortunately for Phil Anschutz, he doesn’t own the Washington Post. The disclosure of Anschutz’s support for extremist anti-gay groups, not to mention “Dr. Chaps,” could be an enormous problem for his wide-ranging business interests. What will concertgoers and performers think of Anschutz’s support for hate groups as they consider attending/performing at Anschutz Entertainment Group events? Taylor Swift? Lady Gaga? It’s our understanding that funding anti-LGBT causes is not a very popular thing to do in Hollywood.
Even billionaires should be held accountable for funding hate. Even Phil Anschutz.