At a time when LGBT people are increasingly open about who they are, embraced by society, and protected by the law, AG Schimel has shown a concerning attitude toward LGBT people and pro-LGBT policies in his work at DOJ.
● AG Schimel has supported anti-LGBT litigation and opposed legal protections for people in the LGBT community.
● Several top DOJ attorneys have ties to fundamentalist anti-gay universities and organizations.
● Schimel attended and sent staff in official capacity to “religious liberty” conference put on by an anti-gay hate group.
● Schimel’s Chief of Staff shut down DOJ funding for Pride Month Presentation because it was too “controversial.”
SCHIMEL’S POSITIONS ON LGBT ISSUES AND WORK AS AG
In 2014, Schimel said he would not defend Wisconsin's domestic partnership law. [Politifact Wisconsin 7/16/14 ]
In 2016, Schimel signed Wisconsin on to a lawsuit against the Obama administration over federal guidelines that directed schools to allow transgender students to use facilities corresponding with their gender identity. [Capital Times, 5/25/16] The lawsuit alleged the Obama administration had “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment.” [ Wisconsin State Journal, 5/26/16 ]
In 2017, Schimel’s DOJ ‘clarified the scope of religious freedom’ via the Amy Lynn Photography case, arguing the state could not stop someone from refusing to provide a service if their reason was “sincere religious belief.” This assertion was then referenced in an amicus brief Schimel and a few other attorneys general submitted in Arlene’s Flowers, Inc. v. State of Washington.
In 2017, Schimel was flown out to speak at a secret conference in Dana Point, CA which was sponsored by anti-LGBT hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom. Schimel’s SEI did not identify the full name of ADF nor the date or location of the conference in his SEI. Schimel later admitted he attended the ADF Summit. [ AP, 5/8/18 ] Schimel also sent DOJ staff to the ADF conference in an official capacity at a cost of $1,000. [AP, 5/18/18 ]
Schimel protested the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of ADF as a hate group, saying “The ADF is not by any stretch a hate group. … I’ve never gone to a conference where there was frankly so much love. … This group [ADF] does not exist to be anti-gay, there is nothing anti-gay about them…Nobody hates anybody at the Alliance Defending Freedom.” [WTMJ interview, at 10:50, 5/9/18 ]
However, ADF’s own website touts the importance of returning to a one man-one woman definition of marriage. [ADF Website, Accessed 7/18/18.]
Schimel’s transphobia was on display in an interview with conservative talk radio host Vicki McKenna about the ADF conference when Schimel said “But the question is not whether they are being protected.
It’s whether someone can force their values on someone else. And force you to say it’s normal and do what you want. You can’t do that…” [ Schimel interview on WIBA, at 23:38, 5/9/18 ] Schimel’s statements make clear he does not see homosexuality as “normal.” Schimel also said during that interview that “there was nothing that was anti-gay or lesbian or transsexual or bisexual or anything else…” [ Schimel interview on WIBA, at 18:35, 5/9/18]. The use of the word “transsexual” in place of “transgender” is evidence of an incredible lack of understanding or tolerance, a concerning trait at a time when legal issues related to transgender rights are increasingly at the forefront.
STAFF TIES TO EXTREME ANTI-LGBT ORGANIZATIONS
Schimel has filled his Office of Solicitor General with attorneys who have strong ties to extremist schools and legal programs which have strongly anti-LGBT aims.
Ryan Walsh | Wisconsin Deputy Solicitor General
Ryan Walsh, Schimel’s Deputy Solicitor General, received his B.A. from Hillsdale College. Walsh was awarded the college’s Graduate of the Last Decade award in 2013.
● Hillsdale College is an extreme, anti-LGBT college located in Michigan.
● It is incredibly conservative, touting its refusal to accept “even one penny of federal or state aid for grants, awards, loans, or scholarships” and thus be “free” from educational regulation.
● A 2018 profile of Hillsdale College by the New York Times, which quoted Justice Clarence Thomas’ description of it as a “shining city of a hill” for conservatives, noted “a public furor erupted in 2015 when the chaplain sent out a campuswide email calling for prayer against the “evil” and “ugly” possibility that the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage.” [New York Times, 2/1/18 ]
● The Princeton Review ranked Hillsdale College the ninth most LGBT Unfriendly in the U.S. A search for “LGBT” on the Hillsdale College website returns no results.
After law school, Walsh was a John Marshall Fellowat the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (CCJ) at the Claremont Institute in California.
● The Claremont Institute focuses on “Recovering the American Idea.”
● The John Marshall Fellowship is seven days of intensive seminars in American political thought and jurisprudence taught by a core faculty of Charles Kesler, Michael Uhlmann, and John Eastman.
● John Eastman is the founder of CCJ. He denounced the LGBT equality movement as “fascist” and claimed it was promoting pedophilia: “This is not about anti-discrimination laws any more.
This is about forcing people to bend the knee to an agenda to say things that are inherently immoral are in fact normal and moral [ Issue Etc. via Right Wing Watch, 2/23/16] Eastman is also the chairman of the board at the National Organization for Marriage.
Kevin LeRoy | Deputy Solicitor General
Kevin LeRoy holds both an MBA and a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Franciscan University .
● Franciscan University held a class on deviant behavior and included homosexuality among the topics, as well as denouncing a support group for gay former alumnae for using the school name. During law school, LeRoy was a Blackstone Fellow and a James Wilson Fellow.
● The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is an arm of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was first organized as the Alliance Defense Fund, and had founding board members including James Dobson.
● The James Wilson Fellowship is an arm of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding . The Institute’s mission is “to restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights.”
LeRoy attended the ADF conference on taxpayer funds.
Luke Berg | Deputy Solicitor General
Luke Berg was a Blackstone Fellow, a law clerk at ADF, and was awarded second place in the William Pew Religious Freedom Scholarship Competition, which was sponsored by ADF.
Daniel Lennington | Senior Counsel
Dan Lennington received his undergraduate degree cum laude from Hillsdale College in 1998.
PRIDE MONTH EVENT AT THE DOJ
Schimel’s Chief of Staff Delanie Breuer showed great resistance to a proposed Pride Month event, which the DOJ’s Diversity Advisory Council initially proposed to be a presentation by OutReach entitled LGBTQ 101. Breuer raised concerns about staff feeling “pressured to participate” in an optional LGBT Brown Bag event and said having it could cause “animosity” between coworkers. In another email, Breuer referenced “pushing the envelope on issues some view as controversial” and “there are many people who are not (comfortable discussing LGBT issues), particularly in the workplace.”
This strong pushback is an example of the animosity of Schimel’s work as AG toward LGBTQ people. He’s far from the mainstream on LGBT issues, even for Republicans, and is taking those views to a whole new level within DOJ.