Donald Trump gives millions in COVID relief funds to anti-LGBT+ hate groups and homophobic televangelists

Donald Trump holds an LGBT+ Pride flag

Donald Trump and his administration have given millions of dollars intended to protect small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to anti-LGBT+ hate groups and homophobic televangelists.

According to the US Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) “is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll”.

While the Trump administration initially resisted releasing information on which companies had been given PPP loans, on Tuesday, July 7, it released a list of companies that had been given more than $150,000.

According to LGBTQ Nation, the entire list contains just two prominent LGBT+ organisations – the National LGBTQ Task Force was approved for a loan between $350,000 and $1 million and the LGBTQ Victory Fund was given between $150,000 and $350,000.

But, according to the Trump administration data, religious groups and churches were given a total of $7.3 billion, anti-LGBT+ hate groups and homophobic televangelists were given up to $16 million in loans.

Which anti-LGBT+ hate groups were given loans by the Donald Trump administration?

The American Family Association (AFA), a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group committed to “combating the homosexual agenda”, was approved for a loan of up to $2 million. The group describes being gay “unnatural” and “unhealthy”.

Bryan Fischer, AFA director of issue analysis for government and public policy, has called for the criminalisation of gay sex, and said in 2010: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.”

He has also claimed that gay people are “rarely monogamous and have as many as 300 to 1,000 sexual partners over the course of a lifetime”.

Liberty Counsel, another hate group described by the SPLC as “a legal organisation advocating for anti-LGBT+ discrimination under the guise of religious liberty”, was granted a loan of up to $1 million by the Trump administration.

Liberty Counsel has been involved in a multitude of anti-LGBT+ legal cases, including representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defending conversion therapy and even pressing Republican lawmakers to strip protections for LGBT+ people from an anti-lynching bill.

The Pacific Justice Institute, whose founder said that failing to stop same-sex marriage in America was like failing to stop Adolf Hitler, was approved for up to $350,000.

The megachurch of Robert Jeffress, an Islamophobic and anti-LGBT+ televangelist, was given between $1 million and $5 million.

Jeffress’s well-documented history of anti-LGBT+ remarks includes claiming gay people “molest children”, promoting the so-called conversion of young queer people, and that being gay is a “filthy practice” that leads to disease.

He has even compared gay sex to plugging a TV electrical cord into the wrong outlet and causing it to explode. 

Joyce Meyer, another televangelist who once said people “chose” to be gay because they had been “hurt by somebody from the opposite sex, and they don’t know how to function right in those relationships”, was approved for a massive loan of between $5 million and $10 million.