Family Research Council (FRC) is an evangelical Christian lobbying group and Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group. Emerging as a central figure in anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion politics, FRC has worked with numerous prominent figures and politicians.
FRC has contributed to the development of anti-trans public policy - such as the notorious SAFE Act - and has strong ties to the Trump administration through its president. It promotes conversion therapy and the illegalization of LGBTQ+ individuals across the globe.
Notably, FRC was found supporting the death penalty for LGBTQ+ people in Uganda, which it later began to deny in spite of prior evidence. FRC also hosts a yearly summit which functions as a gathering of prominent anti-trans figures.
Our country understands that Scientology is a cult. But we still don’t seem to understand how much the transgender movement mirrors cults like Scientology.
Family Research Council grew out of the 1980 White House Conference on Families, where James Dobson, one of the founders, connected with Armand Nicholoi Jr. and George Rekers. It emerged as a group in 1981, before becoming incorporated in 1983.
It was acquired in 1988 by Gary Bauer under the umbrella of Focus on the Family, primarily to help ease financial troubles that were then plaguing FRC. In 1992, it went on to become independent again, and remains so to this day.
Of its purpose, FRC says in its tax filings, “The Family Research Council’s primary exempt purpose is to reaffirm and promote nationally, particularly in Washington, DC, the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built. FRC’s activities in accomplishment of its mission are to: -Promote and defend traditional family values in print, broadcast, and other media, -Develop and advocate legislative and public policy initiatives which strengthen and fortify the family and promote traditional values, -establish and maintain an accurate source of statistical and research information which reaffirms the importance of the family in our civilization, and -inform and educate citizens on how they can promote biblical principles in our culture.”
The finances of Family Research Council are spread across a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Family Research Council Inc and a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Family Research Council Action. A 501(c)(4) is a type of nonprofit organization that can engage in more political activity than a 501(c)(3).
It should be noted that information may be limited on FRC, Inc due to it receiving the status of a church from the IRS, thus meaning it no longer has to submit the publicly available Form 990. It also maintains 501(c)(3) status.
FRC, Inc makes between $12 million and $17 million a year on average in revenue. In 2021, it brought in over $22 million in revenue. It receives the vast majority of this revenue through gifts and donations, and the rest being accounted for through things such as fundraising and grants.
FRC, Inc spends almost half of its revenue on salaries, with its 2021 finances indicating that it spends about $9 million on salaries. Those receiving a paycheck from FRC, Inc include President Tony Perkins, at over $240,000 a year, senior VP Harold Harper at over $193,000 a year, development VP Scott Hurley at $179,000 a year, and executive VP William Boykin at over $178,000 a year.
FRC Action brings in about $2 million a year through gifts, grants, and other forms of similar contributions.
Five individuals receive a salary from FRC Action. These include President Tony Perkins, at over $75,000 a year, Senior Director of Events Sharon Helton, at over $50,000, executive VP William Boykin at $18,000 a year, treasurer Paul Tripodi at $10,000 a year, and director Gil Mertz at over $1,000 a year.
Between 2021 and 2022, FRC spent $85,000 on lobbying purposes. They lobbied notable individuals such as former professional football player and prominent conservative activist Herschel Walker and far-right politician John Gibbs.
History of Anti-LGBTQ+ Activism
Family Research Council has been openly anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ for decades, spouting various ideas that have caused them to be labeled as a hate group.
FRC has pushed the idea that there is a link between LGBTQ+ folk and pedophilia since at least 1995.
Family Research Council openly supports conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people, with examples being found on their website. They claim, without evidence, that not only can standard conversion therapy methods work to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but that they’re necessary and can prevent negative mental health outcomes in children.
In June of 2015, FRC published a lengthy anti-trans policy paper detailing their thoughts on the “transgender movement,” and offering a critique of the “gender ideology” they view as present in American society. It includes policy recommendations, such as that trans healthcare should not be covered by the state and that trans people should be banned from the military. One interesting aspect of the policy paper is inclusion of radical feminist rhetoric. The authors of this piece borrow quite a bit of terminology and framing devices from anti-trans radical feminists, especially in describing the history of trans rights in the context of the greater feminist movement.
FRC has also worked to draft prominent anti-trans legislation, including the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, which aims to ban trans youth from undergoing their transition safely. Their president, Tony Perkins, worked directly with the Trump administration as chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Ugandan LGBTQ+ Death Penalty
In 2010, FRC was connected to the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This bill would have made homosexuality punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment. The bill was passed in Uganda but overturned by the Constitutional Court of Uganda in 2014.
The Family Research Council spent $25,000 to lobby the U. S. Congress against the denouncing of the bill. Despite their firm opposition to the U. S. Congress opposing the bill they have denied this means they supported the Ugandan law.
Pray Vote Stand Summit
The Pray Vote Stand Summit, formerly known as the Values Voter Summit, is a yearly event hosted by Family Research Council in collaboration with other organizations, such as the Real Life Network and AFA Action. It has prominently features a wide array of far-right views, including anti-abortion perspectives, anti-gay perspectives, and anti-trans perspectives. These perspectives include the idea that trans folk are harming children, voices from anti-trans parents who are against schools keeping their children closeted, and claims that “gender-fluid anarchists” are turning the youth into a “gender ideology.”
In 2017 a “Hazards of Homosexuality” pamphlet was distributed at the summit, under its previous name.