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U.S. Office of Personnel Management Refuses To Remove Anti-Gay Hate Groups From Federal Charity Program

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has declined a request to remove two extremist anti-gay hate groups the Family Research Council and the American Family Association from a federal employee charitable giving program known as the Combined Federal Campaign by senior federal employee Gary Cunningham and other federal employees.

The CFC bills itself on its website as the world’s largest charitable giving program. In 2010 federal workers donated more than $281.5 million to charitable organizations in the U.S. and abroad. In the 50 years since the CFC was created, federal employees have donated more than $7 billion to thousands of national and local charitable groups.

Cunningham, joined by several other federal workers, made the request for removing the Family Research Council and the American Family Association from the CFC on grounds that the organizations were listed as hate groups.

The OPM, which is headed by John Berry, an out gay man, responded by stating “The ideology of a charity is not considered. No federal tax dollars are provided to any charity through the CFC. Donors can select which CFC charities they wish to contribute to and exclude charities they do not want to support.”

OPM spokesperson Brittney Manchester added “OPM does not consider a charitable organization’s political activity or viewpoint when making eligibility determinations. Giving to charities through the CFC is a matter of personal choice for federal employees, who have the option to ensure that their contributions go only to the specific charities they designate.”

And even though Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in a commentary in the Washington Post on Tuesday that the designation of the Family Research Council as a hate group is justified. Griffin said FRC’s long history of “claiming the mantle of ‘deeply held religious beliefs’” to propagate “lies that denigrate an entire group of people” supports the designation as a hate group. A source familiar with HRC said HRC would not support expelling FRC and other groups from the CFC “because of the implications that it could have for pro-LGBT organizations in an unfriendly (GOP) administration.” (Because after all  a civil rights group and  hate groups have so much in common.)

Other anti-LGBT hate groups that receive donations through Combined Federal Campaign include Pat Robertson’s 700 Club; the Alliance Defense Fund; and Focus on the Family.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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