Good News, Bad News in Report on Hate Groups
There was a decline in the number of hate groups in the U.S. for the second year in a row, although the number of specifically antigay groups rose slightly — but the movement appears to be somewhat demoralized, says a report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Anti-LGBT groups suffered a year of devastating losses in 2013 as the legalization of same-sex marriage [in several states] and other developments cheered pro-LGBT groups immensely,” wrote SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok in the organization’s spring 2014 Intelligence Report. He added, “Although the number of anti-gay hate groups rose slightly over the previous year, the losses suffered by such groups clearly sent many of them abroad as they sought to prevent gay advances wherever they still could.” He noted hate-group support for antigay laws in Uganda, Russia, and other nations.
The total number of hate groups, as designated by the SPLC, stood at 939 in 2013, down 7 percent from 2012’s total of 1,007. The record high number was 1,018 in 2011. The organization counted 40 anti-LGBT hate groups in 2013, a slight increase from 2012.
The SPLC designates organizations as anti-LGBT hate groups “based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling,” according to the SPLC website. “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
Those on this year’s list include Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, Mass Resistance, Mission: America, Pacific Justice Institute, Traditional Values Coalition, and Westboro Baptist Church.
Potok warned, however, against complacency concerning hate groups. “The radical right is growing leaner and meaner,” he said. “The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high.”