HRC Confirms MillerCoors Chairman Will Withdraw from Anti-LGBT Event

by Charles Joughin

Pete Coors will no longer participate in an event after recent scrutiny over the host organization’s discriminatory views

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, confirmed that MillerCoors Chairman Pete Coors had withdrawn from participating in an event hosted by the group, Legatus.  The event and its organizers have been under fire recently over the organization’s discriminatory and dangerous positions on LGBT people.

HRC had been in touch with representatives of MillerCoors, urging Mr. Coors to back out of the event.  Early Wednesday morning HRC received confirmation via an email from MillerCoors which stated, “Pete Coors was previously unaware of the controversy surrounding Legatus's position on LGBT issues and will not be participating at their upcoming meeting.”

“We’re grateful to Pete Coors for understanding and acknowledging that it would be wrong to align himself and lend his name to an event run by a group that promotes such shameful ideas about LGBT people,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Vice President for Communications Fred Sainz. “The dangerous and debunked myth that a person can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is completely bogus, and such practices cause immeasurable harm to LGBT people.  Fair-minded Americans will no-doubt appreciate Mr. Coors’ decision to distance himself from the organization’s appalling views.” 

Later this month, Legatus, which bills itself as, “the only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses,” will put on its annual conference for members to gather for “worship, education, and relaxation.”  Legatus promotes, among other shameful anti-LGBT views and ideas, the dangerous and debunked myth that people can and should undergo attempts to change their sexual orientation and that transgender youth are suffering "one of the great delusions of our age.”   

Along with Pete Coors, the 2015 Legatus Summit was set to feature speakers who aggressively advocate against equality for LGBT people, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty.  On Monday, actor Gary Sinise announced on his Facebook page that he had withdrawn from the conference.  And just yesterday, FOX News anchor Bret Baier also backed out, with a network spokesperson citing“controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine” as Baier’s reason for cancelling.

Good As You blog notes that Legatus refers to homosexuality as a “disorder,” and encourages gay people to “live a chaste and celibate life.” The organization also promotes the dangerous and debunked idea that a gay person can and should undergo attempts to change their sexual orientation.  And just last month published an article guiding schools not to support transgender students.  According to the group’s website, “The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports that significant numbers of homosexual persons have undergone treatment and had their sexual drives properly ordered. These findings are a beacon of hope to those suffering from [same-sex attraction], as well as for their family and friends who desire their happiness and good health.” 

That assertion has been roundly and repeatedly discredited.  Every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has condemned such practices.  The research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful. Beyond studies focused solely on conversion therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on LGBT people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant anecdotal evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation. 

What’s more, a 2012 Election Day voter guide produced by Legatus suggested that, “Catholics are bound to consider non-negotiable moral principles and, as much as possible, avoid voting for candidates and issues that promote intrinsically evil actions… The Catholic Answers guide states that five issues are non-negotiable when it comes to voting on a candidate or ballot question,” including “homosexual ‘marriage,’ a distortion of true marriage, which can only take place between one man and one woman.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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