Anti-gay forces are backing a lawsuit challenging new regulations that require insurers and employers to offer reproductive health care services — including contraception — without additional cost sharing. The rule, part of the Affordable Care Act, exempts houses of worship and other religious nonprofits that primarily employ and serve people of the same faith. But religious groups contend that its conscience protections are too narrow.
Vocal LGBT equality opponents the Conference of Catholic Bishops are leading the charge against the requirement, but on Tuesday the Becket Fund became “the first and only law firm to legally challenge the Obama Administration’s contraceptive mandate.” The group filed the suit on behalf of both Belmont Abbey College and Colorado Christian University.
The Becket Fund describes itself as a “public interest law firm protecting the free expression of all religious traditions,” but it regularly represents clients who wish to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The organization received $100,000 from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which also supports groups like The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Eagle Forum, and the Institute for American Values, and is at least partly responsible for developing many of today’s anti-gay arguments and the hysteria surrounding the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
Becket and Bradley are also home to Robert George, the so-called “intellectual leader” of the anti-gay movement. George sits on the Board of Directors at both Becket and Bradley and is a co-author of the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, a manifesto that “promises resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same sex marriage.” George has previously described homosexual behavior as “beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures” and argued that same-sex relationships have “no intelligible basis in them for the norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and the pledge of permanence.” George is the founder and director of the anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage or NOM.
Mary Ann Glendon is another member of Becket’s esteemed Board. The Harvard Law Professor is a staunch anti-abortion Catholic who refused to receive an award from Notre Dame after the school invited President Obama to speak at its commencement ceremony. She has contested the use of condoms for the prevention of HIV and AIDS, claiming in 1995, “The Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programs.”
Interestingly, the Romney may agree with this strain of thinking. Financial documents released by the Romney campaign last month show that the former Massachusetts governor donated $25,000 to the Becket Fund in 2009 and has touted Glendon’s endorsement of his candidacy.