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Betsy DeVos is sworn in as Education Secretary by Vice President Mike Pence. WhiteHouse.gov
Peter LaBarbera

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DeVos is not as conservative on social issues as you think

Peter LaBarbera

February 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may be a trailblazer on school choice and charter schools, but her record on LGBT issues indicates that she supports much of the homosexual activist agenda.

DeVos is considered an establishment Republican. But yet she has a history of failing to back pro-family GOP legislators in her home state of Michigan and her family has used its money to oppose Tea Party Republicans.

As head of the Michigan Republican Party, DeVos initially opposed getting the GOP behind a pro-traditional marriage amendment that ended up winning by a landslide the next year. She later reportedly helped recruit leading Republicans, including her former top aide and open homosexual Greg McNeilly, to sign onto an amicus brief supporting legal “gay marriage.” (DeVos herself did not sign.)

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed DeVos by a 51-50 vote. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie, the first time in American history a cabinet member was elevated to serve with the VP casting the deciding vote.

DeVos, a GOP mega-donor, influential Christian conservative and national school choice activist, served as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000 and again from 2003 to 2005.

One surprising byproduct of DeVos' contentious Senate confirmation hearings and the media attention she received was the exposure of her ties to supporting LGBT "rights."

Ironically, homosexual activists have pilloried DeVos as hostile to the LGBT agenda, with one “progressive” even falsely labeling her family’s support of traditional marriage as “alarmingly extreme.” But DeVos’ tight alliance with McNeilly puts her more in the camp of moderate “Big Tent” Republicans who believe the party must become homosexual-friendly to stay competitive in a changing society.

McNeilly served alongside DeVos as Michigan Republican Party (MIGOP) executive director from 2003 to 2005 and as a family spokesman.

Now homosexually “married” to Democrat Doug Meeks, McNeilly has had his share of confrontations with socially right Republicans. But DeVos has rallied to his side, to the consternation of MIGOP conservatives.

'New York Times' clarifies DeVos’ pro-gay past

It took an article in The New York Times and a letter of support at her confirmation from the homosexual activist group Log Cabin Republicans to establish that DeVos is sympathetic to LGBT issues, apparently including homosexual “marriage.”

“Far from an ‘anti-gay’ firebreather, Ms. DeVos actually has a history of working with and supporting gay individuals,” Log Cabin president Gregory Angelo wrote to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. H.E.L.P. narrowly approved DeVos out for a floor vote last week.

Although DeVos’ family on both sides was a major donor to the pro-traditional-marriage Michigan constitutional amendment, a fuller examination of Michigan GOP politics and DeVos’ Senate committee testimony hardly squares with the characterization of her as representing "anti-gay" forces.

It is also telling that Equality Michigan, the leading homosexual activist group in DeVos’ home state, has good things to say about President Trump’s Education Secretary. That’s due in part to her close relationship with GOP “gay” advocate McNeilly. Meanwhile, national groups like Human Rights Campaign came out strongly against her.

Not proud of supporting Focus on the Family?

In response to a question at her Senate confirmation hearings by Sen. Al Franken, D-MN, about her family's donations to Focus on the Family, DeVos declined to voice support for the popular Christian ministry. That was a strange omission for a religious conservative and major benefactor of Christian causes and schools.

Instead, DeVos used the favorite LGBT euphemism “equality” and distanced herself from her family’s donations to the Colorado Springs Christian ministry once headed by Dr. James Dobson. She also formally disassociated herself from her parents’ Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, a strong supporter of Focus on the Family. DeVos cited a “clerical error” for her name being on the foundation’s documents since 1999.

“Let me say that your characterization of my contributions I don't think accurately reflects those of my family,” she told Sen. Franken. “I would hope that you wouldn't include other family members beyond my core family."

Focus on the Family has not responded in the media to DeVos’ comments at the hearing, but her actions are a far cry from when Republicans proudly associated themselves with Dobson’s pro-life and pro-family organization.

Can homosexuals be set free or not?

Asked by Franken about her and her family’s “long history of supporting anti-LGBT causes," DeVos told the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee, “I fully embrace equality, and I believe in the innate value of every single human being, and that all students no matter their age should be able to attend a school and feel safe and be free of discrimination."

Most pro-family advocates would echo such sentiments, arguing that all students can and should be kept safe from bullying — albeit without enacting pro-LGBT education policies.

However, DeVos went a step further. Pressed by Franken, who asked, "Do you still believe in conversion therapy?" — the Left's term for pro-heterosexual therapy — DeVos answered, "Senator Franken, I've never believed in that."

Focus on the Family defends the reality, widely accepted among churchgoers and in socially conservative circles, that some men and women can overcome unwanted homosexual desires and live by the dictates of their faith. Some ex-homosexuals change through psychological therapy, others without it. But regardless, most conservative Christians oppose aggressive efforts by LGBT organizations and activists to ban pro-heterosexual therapy for minors. Such bans have passed in several states and cities. A federal version was endorsed by former President Barack Obama.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that the family foundation of DeVos’ mother, Elsa Prince, gave $450,000 to support Prop 8, the successful California initiative to preserve marriage as one-man, one-woman.

DeVos initially opposed Michigan traditional marriage amendment

The New York Times reports that among DeVos’ pro-homosexual actions, she helped recruit signatories to a 2015 liberal Republican amicus brief supporting the legalization of same-sex "marriage."

That might surprise Michigan grassroots Republicans who voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to enact an amendment protecting marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The Michigan amendment was eviscerated 11 years later by the U.S. Supreme Court, which on June 26, 2015, effectively imposed homosexuality-based “marriage” on all 50 states through its Obergefell v Hodges ruling.

In December, the The Detroit News reported that DeVos, in 2003 as then-leader of the Michigan Republican Party, “decided to oppose adding the marriage amendment to the ballot.” That was a stunning development given that protecting natural marriage was then and remains today a core GOP Platform position. And at the time, it was also a sure ballot winner.

DeVos, McNeilly and the MIGOP’s moderate establishment lost that internal battle, paving the way for a victory for defending natural marriage. Delegates to Michigan State GOP Convention passed a near-unanimous resolution supporting marriage protection amendment. In November 2004, it was approved by the state’s voters in a landslide: 58.6 percent (2,698,077) to 41.4 percent (1,904,319).

One prominent Michigan conservative told LifeSiteNews that the DeVos-led MIGOP “didn't play much of a role” in the marriage amendment’s success, although surely its passage helped the Party.

Former Michigan legislator Alan Cropsey confirmed to The Washington Post that the Republican Party, nationally and statewide, did little to help pro-marriage ballot initiatives like Michigan’s. Cropsey is a socially conservative Republican who supported the marriage amendment, which was backed by the Catholic Church in the state.

“I couldn't say anything publicly because I would have been blasted for it, but the Republican Party was not helpful at all," Cropsey told the Post in 2004 after the pro-family victory. "It's not like they were the instigators. They were the Johnny-come-latelies, if anything."

A year earlier, DeVos sided with McNeilly, who infuriated a conservative lawmaker by publicly criticizing the proposed marriage amendment in an interview with the News. DeVos came to the defense of McNeilly after the lawmaker intimated that he would “out” McNeilly after the aide admitted to him that he was homosexual.

More than a decade later, after McNeilly “married” his male homosexual lover and filed paperwork for the two men to adopt a child, DeVos wrote warmly of the male-male couple’s “close, caring relationship where they treat each other with respect,” The New York Times reported.

Opposed Tea Party Republicans

Veteran Republican conservatives in Michigan contacted by LifeSiteNews complained that DeVos and her husband Dick also used their significant power in Michigan Republican Party politics to oppose Tea Party conservatives. They helped finance a conservative education lobby group called GLEP (Great Lakes Education Project) in a failed effort to defeat the insurgent Tea Party in Michigan.

Devos formerly served on the board of directors at GLEP and McNeilly, her homosexual aide, guided GLEP’s giving, according to a LifeSiteNews source. McNeilly is currently listed as a member of the GLEP Board of Directors.

In the 2014 Michigan GOP primary, the DeVos family and GLEP worked against an array of Tea Party candidates. GLEP attacked two Christian conservative primary candidates, Lee Chatfield and Gary Glenn, co-author of the successful Michigan Marriage Amendment, and funded more liberal Republican opponents. GLEP failed, and the two “tea party” candidates are now, respectively, Speaker of the House Pro Tem and Associate Speaker of the House Pro Tem.

Glenn was accused of endorsing “white supremacists” and derided as a “longtime homophobe” by GLEP executive director Gary Naeyaert, the Midland Daily News reported. Black pastors came to the defense of Glenn, who was also falsely charged in a campaign flyer with wanting to “imprison all gay citizens.”

Noting that DeVos and other family members had contributed to the campaign of Karl Ieuter, Glenn’s opponent, Glenn’s spokesman said at the time, “Gary and his family are sincerely saddened that someone’s been allowed to drag that [DeVos] family name into the gutter of association with what’s obviously a clumsy campaign of character assassination without regard for the truth.”

In the 2014 Chatfield race, several DeVos family members, including Betsy, backed the Republican incumbent, Rep. Frank Foster, who had become the leading proponent in the House of adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state’s civil rights law. The young Tea Party-backed Chatfield, a Christian school teacher and Liberty University graduate, defeated Foster, the only GOP incumbent to lose in that election season.

Social conservatives hoping that DeVos is one of their own might be struck by a 2013 MLive headline: “Michigan primary 2014: Tea party candidates run up against DeVos money in contested races.”

“A wave of tea party candidates hoping to win seats in the Michigan House and Senate are running up against a familiar name in Republican Party politics,” MLive reported. “The deep-pocketed DeVos family of West Michigan has donated generously to more than a dozen Republicans running opposite tea party candidates in the August 5 primary, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.”

In 2016, GLEP endorsed the incumbent Glenn.

Transgender rights?

In reporting that DeVos' views on homosexuality have "evolved," the reliably pro-LGBT New York Times reported: "While Ms. DeVos' acceptance of gay rights may be welcome news to Republicans who think their party needs to move past the issue, it is likely to be worrisome to social conservatives who hope that the Trump administration will roll back some of the liberal social policies that went into effect under President Barack Obama.”

Pro-family conservatives are concerned about President Trump’s post-election statement that homosexual “marriage” is “settled” law and his renewal of a pro-LGBT Obama executive order on federal contractors. However, there is widespread expectation that Trump will reign in his predecessor’s White House order promoting transgenderism in public schools. That order directs schools to allow gender-confused boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa.

But apparently, like her new boss, who invited Bruce (“Caitlyn”) Jenner to use female restrooms at his Trump Tower in New York City, Betsy DeVos also appears sympathetic to the idea of "transgender" people using opposite-sex restrooms. The Times reported on an incident in which as head of the Michigan Republican Party, DeVos “came to the aid of a [biologically male] transgender woman who wanted to use the women's restroom at a call center, upsetting some of the other women there."

Pro-family activist: we’ll be watching DeVos

At DeVos’ confirmation hearings, no Republican Senators queried her on LGBT policies in school from a socially conservative perspective. But pro-family advocates will be watching her actions.

Christian pro-family leader Linda Harvey, founder and president of Mission America, told LifeSiteNews, “The more details we learn about Betsy DeVos, the greater our concern should be. Now that she has been confirmed, it’s up to Christians to monitor her policies on school agendas that push homosexuality and gender confusion.”

Harvey, who monitors pro-homosexual and pro-transgender programs in schools, praised DeVos for fighting the “extreme, anti-child teachers’ unions.” But she said at the same time, “We don’t need a Secretary of Education who will cooperate with GLSEN, HRC and other groups to hijack the issue of bullying for ‘LGBT’ propaganda in schools, which has been so harmful to our children."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the world’s biggest homosexual-bisexual-transgender lobby organization. GLSEN stands for the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, which promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ issues in K-12 schools nationwide.

Politico revealed what is at stake regarding the potential continuation of pro-LGBT policies in schools through actions by the Education Department bureaucracy:

“The Office for Civil Rights in Obama's Education Department has pursued [under Obama] a number of policies heralded by civil rights and gay advocacy groups: It urged schools to extend anti-bullying policies to cover LGBT students. Using ‘Dear Colleague’ letters, it has called on schools to allow LGBT student groups on campuses. Most recently, it cited Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, to protect the right of transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.”

All of these policies could be struck down by the courts or “with the stroke of DeVos’ pen,” Politico reported.

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