In a June interview with Rolling Stone magazine, liberal megadonor and activist Tim Gill expressed a desire to “punish the wicked” in reference to those who oppose the radical LGBT political agenda. The last few years should show conservatives and people of faith that these kind of threats should be taken seriously.
We’ve seen cake-bakers and florists persecuted for declining to participate in same-sex weddings. We’ve also seen big business organized to fight against protections for people of faith who stand against the left’s efforts to redefine marriage and gender. Conservatives need to understand how Tim Gill and the Gill Foundation are at the center of the corporate involvement in these cultural debates. [article continues after the break]
Last year, as the Georgia legislature was working to enact legislation to protect religious liberty, the Gill Foundation established a business coalition called Georgia Prospers. Over 400 businesses including Coca-Cola, SunTrust, Delta Airlines, and more joined this “front group” in an ultimately successful effort to pressure Governor Nathan Deal to veto the bill.
At the same time, the Gill Foundation was financially supporting Equality North Carolina‘s fight against HB-2, a common-sense measure to protect individuals and business owners in response to the Charlotte’s controversial sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) accommodation law that allowed men into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Companies like Bank of America, Facebook, and Wells Fargo, who had also joined Georgia Prospers, were part of Equality North Carolina’s coalition as well.
In truth, opposing Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) and enacting SOGI accommodation laws, or so-called “bathroom bills,” are the focus point of the LGBT left’s agenda. Given Gill’s involvement in Georgia and North Carolina, it seems that he and the Gill Foundation will continue to take an active role in supporting this agenda.
A look at the Gill Foundation’s annual reports reveals a key strategy: recruiting businesses to help advance Gill’s political goals. Groups like Equality Texas, Equality Florida, Equality Virginia, One Colorado, and many more have all received grants from the Gill Foundation. Many of these operate under the umbrella of the Equality Foundation, an organization established by the Gill Foundation.
These Gill-sponsored activist organizations at the state level are where businesses are aligning with and supporting the LGBT left’s policy agenda. For example, Equality California, a member of the Equality Foundation’s network, is sponsoring legislation (SB 219) that, according to CBN News, would criminalize the incorrect use of transgender pronouns. This is the same organization that sponsored a 2016 bill that aimed to prevent faith-based schools from establishing standards in accordance with their beliefs like having a system of single-sex dormitories. Equality California’s lobbying work for this type of legislation is sponsored by some well known companies such as AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Southwest Airlines.
This is the context where Gill’s use of the word “punish” is especially concerning. Our neighbors to the North enacted a law last month that makes referring to a transgender person in Canada by the incorrect pronoun a “hate crime” and California’s SB 219 bears marked similarities. It stands to reason that this is exactly how Gill intends to “punish” those who he considers “wicked.” Or, perhaps it’s more about punishing those who don’t share Gill’s worldview.
Many of the companies in our database have been scored for supporting anti-religious liberty organizations that have been established or supported by Gill and the Gill Foundation. See where they stand on this important issue by viewing the Religious Liberty section on each company’s scorepage.