At 92, staunch conservative Phyllis Schlafly — who made a name for herself in the 1960s and '70s for founding the Eagle Forum and opposing the Equal Rights Amendment, integration, and gay rights — is making headlines for high-profile battles that could unravel her conservative empire.
Her latest disappointment is the loss of a legal battle with her nephew, Tom Schlafly, who wants to trademark his company, Schlafly Beer. Phyllis believes she should control the name since she helped make it famous with her books and activism. Aunt Phyllis also takes much umbrage at her name being connected to alcohol.
“In connection with its usage as a surname, it has the connotation of conservative values, which to millions of Americans (such as Baptists and Mormons) means abstinence from alcohol,” Phyllis Schlafly’s filing with the trademark office stated, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Phyllis lives near St. Louis). She added that “an average consumer in Saint Louis and elsewhere would think ‘Schlafly’ is a surname associated with me.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office didn't agree and threw out her case (don't expect Tom to get an invitation to Thanksgiving).
Earlier this year, Schlafly's Eagle Forum almost dissolved thanks to a civil war caused by Phyllis's endorsement of Donald Trump for president. Even though her life mission has been to espouse family values, Schlafly is all in for Trump, mostly because of his plan to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. (Many European countries have “let these Muslims overrun their country,” Schlafly said last month). Earlier this year, the board of the Eagle Forum — which includes Schlafly's daughter, Anne — pushed for a Ted Cruz endorsement against the wishes of Phyllis and her hand-picked successor, Ed Martin. The board ended up deposing Martin, though Phyllis said its actions were not approved by her and therefore null and void.
Anne Schlafly Cori and other board members sued Martin and John Schlafly, Anne's gay brother and one of Phyllis's sons, for denying them control of Eagle Forum. John Schlafly was outed in 1992 but continues to work with his mother's antigay organization.
“John Schlafly denied Anne Schlafly Cori access to the Illinois Headquarters and prevented her from obtaining or inspecting Eagle Forum Property,” the suit alleges, according to RightWingWatch. “When Anne Schlafly Cori insisted on her right to obtain and inspect Eagle Forum property, the Alton Police were called to remove Anne Schlafly Cori from the Illinois Headquarters.”
The suit is still pending.
Even though she has a gay son who has stood by her for decades, Schlafly has never been shy about voicing her opposition to LGBT rights.
“The gays have their argument about inevitability,” Schlafly told Michaelangelo Signorile last year, while promoting her book Who Killed the American Family? ”I don’t think that’s so. I’m extremely disappointed that the Republican Party, the conservative movement, even the Democratic Party and the churches, have been saying, ‘Well, soon the court will decide, and that will be it.’ Well, a lot of people thought that about Roe v. Wade, and we’ve seen the whole abortion movement turned around in the last 10 years.”
She also said the purpose of same-sex marriage is to "wipe out the Christian religion."
Schlafly takes great pride in the fact that she pushed the Republican Party to enshrine pro-life tenets and other conservative causes in its platform of the 1980s, though some would argue that hyper-focusing on social issues — as well as nominating Trump — may lead to the Grand Old Party's demise.