We reported yesterday on this week’s press conference announcing the launch of “Gone Too Far,” an organization created to fight the federal Equality Act and seemingly to demonize anyone who supports legal equality and legal protections for LGBTQ people. Turns out that one of the organizers, Dallas-based pastor Stephen Broden, appeared on Janet Mefferd’s radio show on Monday to talk about the group in advance of the launch.
In her introductory remarks, Mefferd said that the “diabolical” Equality Act was an example of the “collapse of culture” and claimed that it would “effectively criminalize Christianity.” While on Mefferd’s show, Broden claimed, as he and others did at the press conference the following day, that the Equality Act was intended to bring pedophilia and bestiality under the protection of federal civil rights laws.
That, of course, is a lie, and there is nothing in the legislative language that would even hint at such a thing. So on what basis are Gone Too Far’s leaders repeatedly making that extraordinarily inflammatory claim? They cite language in the official title of the legislation, which describes its intention to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and for other purposes.”
On Mefferd’s show, Broden suggested that the “for other purposes” language was a stealthy way to open up the civil rights laws to other forms of “deviant behavior” such as pedophilia and bestiality. Broden and his colleague Randy Short made that same argument at the National Press Club.
But in fact, “and for other purposes” is commonplace legislative boilerplate tacked onto the end of the official title for all kinds of legislation. A search for the phrase in the Congress.gov database of current legislation turned up 860 instances. In the database from the 2017-2018 Congress, it turned up more than 6,000 times. And it’s not something dreamed up by 21st century secular humanists to sneak their agenda under the radar screen; the phrase is tacked onto the end of a description of a piece of legislation taken up by the very first Congress of the United States in 1789.
I can’t say whether Gone Too Far’s organizers actually believe what they claim about the meaning of “and for other purposes” in the title of the Equality Act, but they really should stop spreading the false and dangerous charge that this commonplace phrase is somehow proof that advocates for the legal equality of LGBTQ people are bent on legalizing pedophilia.