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Gays Against Groomers political endorsements ban 'sexualization, indoctrination, medicalization'

Contrarian gay rights group issues "pledge" like Grover Norquist's against tax increases, but only one of first six endorsed candidates is even running on its issues.

Published: February 24, 2024 11:30pm

Updated: February 26, 2024 2:42pm

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist pioneered the "pledge" for politicians seeking an advocacy group's election endorsement, in his case, to "oppose any and all tax increases." Violate the pledge, and face the wrath of voters.

Now a contrarian gay advocacy group is jumping into election endorsements with its own pledge: protect children from "sexualization, indoctrination, and medicalization under the guise of LGBTQ+."

Gays Against Groomers debuted the pledge this month with six endorsed candidates running for city council, county board of supervisors and General Assembly in California, Colorado House, U.S. senator from New Jersey and school board in Wisconsin.

Only that last candidate, 19-year-old cheesehead Brayden Myer, mentions the endorsement, however. James Clarke, Preston Romero, Ryan Armagost, Alex Villanueva and Gregg Mele don't even mention GAG's issues on their respective websites when Just the News checked Friday night.

"GAG and I stand side-by-side on crucial issues impacting our schools today," said Myer, who's running for a school board seat in Wisconsin. "It is important to protect the innocence of all children and let the kids be kids. I am proud to be the pro-woman candidate. I am proud to be the only candidate endorsed by an LGBT organization."

Myer finished last in the Feb. 20 primary, according to the Herald Times Reporter.

Romero added the endorsement to his website over the weekend, GAG told Just the News Monday. It has since added two more, Christopher-Aaron Felker for Burlington, Vermont city council and Robert Wallace for Fountain Hills, Ariz. town council, the latter of whom notes he is GAG's Arizona chapter lead and links to GAG's website.

GAG board member Sasha Leigh told Just the News it performs a "legislative history vetting process" and background check on every signatory and "speak[s] with them directly about their plans to end these issues" but doesn't require them to promote the endorsement or run on GAG's issues.

"All of our official endorsements have been announced in the past week, so it may take some time for them to announce it on their website," she wrote in an email, and "every single candidate has announced it on social media in some form."

The group said Feb. 12 it had entered its "legislation era" with a "whole new department" focused on changing laws, which "is the only way to end this war" for "the safety and wellbeing of every child."

It celebrated an explosion of states with laws and policies restricting minors from gender identity-related medical interventions. GAG said "our members have showed up to testify [in] support in almost every single one of them."

Only four states had them in June 2022, a figure that reached 23 by last month, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracker. Twenty-one impose "professional or legal penalties on health care practitioners" who violate the law. 

Though 16 states are facing litigation, 17 laws remain in effect and only one is permanently blocked as of Jan. 31, with Ohio's law next to take effect in April, KFF said.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed last month to stay a lower court's preliminary injunction against Alabama's ban pending a trial in August on its constitutionality.

GAG is promoting an Iowa bill that would make it a misdemeanor to take a minor to a drag show and give parents and guardians the right to bring a civil action against someone who has "knowingly disseminated or exhibited obscene material" to their child. 

Senate File 2176 passed a subcommittee this month, but lawmakers agreed the language needs tightening around who could face legal action.

The GAG pledge requires candidates to "uphold, defend and promote" its values, which uniformly align with those of social conservatives, starting with parents as "the primary stakeholder in a child’s health, wellbeing and education."

Three pertain to gender identity: Sex-based rights are "necessary for child safety," minors cannot consent to "any form of medical procedure" such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and no child is "born in the wrong body."

It also says "depiction or description of sexual acts is inappropriate for children" and tantamount to pornography.

Endorsed candidates cannot support legislation that violates several principles espoused by GAG, some of them open to interpretation.

Minors cannot by law "engage in any part of the process of gender transition," which would seem to include the social affirmation common in public schools, in which employees address students by their preferred names and pronouns but don't tell parents about transitions.

In public schools, materials "in any form" that "encourage or introduce children to the ideas of gender ideology" must be prohibited and human sexuality "may only be discussed in health class" with parental consent, with materials posted publicly to school websites.

Pornography "has no place in any public education institution" and public libraries must prohibit it for minors. "Any event that is described as or includes Drag is to be considered as inappropriate for children," the pledge concludes.

GAG reserves the right to yank its endorsement and "publicly denounce" signatories if they violate the pledge, it says. 

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