A number of organizations, schools and businesses with either a history of anti-LGBTQ advocacy or policies that explicitly discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals have received millions in pandemic relief funding, according to an NBC News analysis of data released last week by the Small Business Administration.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — which was intended to help small businesses amid the Covid-19 crisis — gave nearly $5.3 billion in the potentially forgivable loans to 5,160,000 recipients, with the average loan being $101,409.
Seven of the organizations that received funding — the American College of Pediatricians, American Family Association, Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), Church Militant/St. Michael’s Media, Liberty Counsel, Pacific Justice Institute and Ruth Institute — have been designated as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) due to their alleged vilification of queer people. These seven groups received nearly $2.5 million combined.
The lion’s share of that money went to the American Family Association, which received nearly $1.4 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds. The Mississippi-based organization uses its resources, in part, to combat what it calls the “homosexual agenda.” Through its One Million Moms initiative, the organization rallies its supporters to boycott brands and media outlets that promote “homosexuality and transgenderism.”
Liberty Counsel, which received $428,000 in pandemic relief funds, is a conservative legal organization that, according to the SPLC, advocates for “anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty.” The organization made national news last year after trying to get gays removed from protection in a federal anti-lynching bill.
Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the SPLC, criticized the Trump administration for “letting millions of Americans and small businesses suffer” while providing “financial support to groups that tear at the fabric of our democracy.”
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