This article was originally published by the WND News Center
(WND News Center) — It appears even a major Republican women’s group is having a hard time answering the modern culture-war question: “What is a woman?”
The National Federation of Republican Women, or NFRW, faces a backlash among its members, mainly in red states, for stonewalling a grassroots campaign to put the organization on record as limiting its voting membership to biological females, WND has learned.
Its national leadership has rejected a proposed bylaws amendment for consideration at the organization’s upcoming biennial conference in Oklahoma City later this month. The bylaws proposal, published in full below, effectively would bar gender-confused men living as “trans women” from joining the NFRW as voting members and leaders.
Meanwhile, at least one NFRW state branch has already moved to protect its organizational space for authentic women: the Arkansas FRW affiliate explicitly and succinctly defines womanhood in its bylaws as follows: “A woman is defined as being born a DNA biological female at birth.”
But NFRW’s national president, Eileen Sobjack, on advice from the organization’s attorney, reportedly fears a costly lawsuit and told state leaders that “addressing this issue would end us. I will not let this issue be our demise,” WND has learned from a source within the organization requesting anonymity. Sobjack was “unavailable” for comment on this story, according to an aide.
Laura Carlson, the Iowa woman leading the effort to get the NFRW to align with a very popular GOP and women’s cause – defending real women’s spaces from being infiltrated by trans faux women – says she and her allies would be willing to raise the money necessary to pay for any legal challenge. The upstart movement is pressing ahead and hoping for a convention debate on the topic.
Carlson, the second vice-president for the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, said in a letter to “Republican Women Friends” throughout the organization that the problem of men at NFRW began in 2021: “When a trans woman attended the Orlando convention… as a full voting delegate, an emergency meeting was held by NFRW executive board following dozens of complaints.”
“Nothing was done to address the issue at that time. This has now grown to a larger issue, a problem for a majority of members,” she writes. And Carlson’s protest letters to the organization since have been largely ignored, she told WND.
Blue-state gender confusion
One blue-state chapter of the NFRW has gone even further down the gender-bending path: in 2019 the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women, or NJFRW, nominated a male-to-female transgender activist, Pam Daniels, as “Woman of the Year.” Three years later, the pro-abortion Daniels would run for Congress against pro-life Republican congressman Chris Smith.
Even today, according to his LinkedIn profile, Daniels sits on the NJFRW’s board of governance, presumably as the only person there born with male genitalia.
Now National Federation of Republican Women members in some states are calling out prominent NFRW leaders for promoting “transgender propaganda,” including men as members.
“NFRW holds a prestigious, time-honored tradition of leading, supporting, and honoring women in the promotion of shared Republican values. My concern is the promotion of transgender propaganda in our clubs,” wrote Carlson in a June letter to the NFRW’s nomination board obtained by WND.
“I am not discussing lesbian issues; this is a transgender issue. I live in a college area. Liberals infiltrate groups often here,” says Carlson in her letter. “They are now declaring themselves women to make a change in the GOP. They are not conservatives. They did not vote Republican in any election.”
“The goal is to force the Republicans to bend to the transgender agenda, which puts liberal men in our clubs,” Carlson wrote, noting in an interview with WND that she was speaking for herself and not officially on behalf of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women.
Republican women nominate a man for ‘Woman of the Year’?
Carlson and other state NFRW activists are outraged that prominent NFRW leaders like New Jersey FRW’s Vanessa LaFranco – who was chosen by the official NFRW nomination committee as part of its “Official Slate” of candidates for endorsement as the next national president – has supported a biological man, Pam Daniels, as a board member for the New Jersey FRW, and even as a potential “Woman of the Year” honoree.
“Why is NFRW allowing itself to be manipulated?” Carlson asks in her letter, which was largely ignored by national leaders. “I joined NFRW because it was a women’s leadership program… I joined NFRW because I respect the women in the state leadership.”
“LaFranco… (and anyone else) promoting men into full membership dilute women’s clubs,” Carlson warned in her letter. “This weakens clubs.”
After receiving the 2019 New Jersey FRW “Woman of the Year” nomination, Daniels gushed on Facebook: “Oh my goodness…was just told by the NJ Federal of Republican Chairwoman Angelique Scholl that I’ve been nominated as one of NJFRQ’s candidates for 2019 ‘Woman of the Year!’ I’m sure any of the other nominees are way more deserving… I’m so honored to even be considered!”
In response, LaFranco “loved” Daniels’ Facebook post, as symbolized by giving it a heart emoji.
Daniels ran for Congress in 2022 as an independent against longtime, pro-life Republican Rep. Chris Smith. In an October 2022 interview with Patch.com, Daniels pledged to caucus with the Democrats if elected. But that was never a realistic hope as he placed dead last in the race, garnering just 437 votes and 0.2 percent of the roughly quarter of a million ballots cast. Smith won the election easily with nearly 67 percent of the vote.
In the Patch interview, Daniels said he was married for 28 years (i.e., ostensibly as a man and a husband), has two daughters and a stepdaughter, and that he “came out as transgender in 2009.”
Though calling himself a “registered Republican,” two of Daniels’ top legislative goals were fighting against dominant Republican priorities: opposing abortion-on-demand and the LGBT agenda. (Republicans are overwhelmingly pro-life and against various aspects of the transgender agenda, e.g., biological men and boys competing in women’s and girls’ sports, and allowing trans surgeries and opposite-sex hormone treatments to be performed on gender-confused minors.)
Moreover, Daniels, who told Patch he favors a federal law guaranteeing abortion-on-demand rights, has sent out posts on X (then Twitter) using the “#gopwaronwomen” hashtag often used by Democrats against Republican pro-lifers, according to Carlson.
Fear of a lawsuit?
WND has acquired from an anonymous source within NFRW a copy of the correspondence sent out to all state leaders by Sobjack, the current, outgoing NFRW national president. It contains a legal opinion from the NRFW’s attorney advising against formally limiting the organization’s membership to biological females because it could lead to a costly discrimination lawsuit.
To that Carlson said, in a recent interview: “Bring it on. We will pay for it.”
In the August 29 interview on the “Tamara Scott Show” on Mike Lindell’s FrankSpeech network, Carlson and Heidi Englehart of the South Dakota FRW said that they were advised by conservative constitutional attorney John Eidsmoe that the NFRW has a right as a “private organization” to establish its own bylaws for membership, and, like the Boy Scouts of America, it would prevail if a pro-LGBT legal challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court.
As president of the National Federation of Republican Women, I have been approached by some members wanting our organization to take a stand on defining ‘woman’… Based on our attorney’s advice, our organization will not and cannot sacrifice ourselves to address this issue. Therefore, although I hear these members’ concerns, of utmost importance is our organization’s survival and addressing this issue would end us. I will not let this issue be our demise. The statement below is from attorney Rick Adams who represents NFRW.
The following are excerpts from Adams’ statement: “The NFRW arguably has the right to exclude anyone who was not born female based upon the NFRW’s constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression. I say ‘arguably’ because this issue has been heavily litigated and likely will continue to be so, and as you know judges can disagree on how to apply the First Amendment freedoms to modern controversies. However, I don’t think the question can be considered conclusively resolved until the SCOTUS rules.”
Adams’ letter continues:
All of that said, the NFRW may have a problem prevailing in litigation because the protected speech must be central to its mission and consistently enforced and communicated. My understanding is that this may not be the case – that in fact men calling themselves women have been allowed as members and officers of state and local federations. While this may be understandable for an organization so large that has members in all fifty states, it could be fatal to its ability to claim a ‘born female’ qualification is constitutionally protected speech…
Litigation could come up in different ways – someone might try to join so he can sue you for violating a state or local human rights statute. Or someone could be kicked out and sue over the termination of his membership. Does the Federation have the financial wherewithal to fight these battles wherever they pop up? Because this will be VERY expensive. By amending the bylaws I fear you may be putting a target on your back, versus leaving well enough alone… In addition, it could be argued that your bylaws are eminently clear already. ‘Women’ certainly means born female to most people. Is it really necessary to define the term?
Bowing to potential legal ‘bullying’?
Janet LaRue, former chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, the largest Christian women’s group in the United States, and former legal studies director at Family Research Council, told WND regarding Adams’ reasoning: “If the Federation is afraid of its possible demise because of a costly lawsuit, it needs to realize that bowing to bullying, rather than standing on its constitutional rights, will be its actual demise as an organization for women. What else is it willing to compromise?”
“Rather than standing with their conservative members who believe that women means women, the National Federation of Republican Women leadership tries hiding behind the threat of a bogus lawsuit. Bring it on and collect attorney’s fees,” LaRue said. “Or, change the organization’s title. Perhaps, ‘National Federation of Republican Wannabe Women,’ or ‘National Federation of Republican Women Who Roar No More.’ And they wonder why they’re called RINOS.”
Carlson and others fighting for the pro-real-women bylaws change noted the irony of NFRW standing publicly with Riley Gaines – who has earned a huge national following for taking on biological men swimming competitively in women’s sports as “trans women” – while at the same time NRFW allows men to join a women’s organization.
WND reached out to the national office of NFRW Friday for comment on this story. Responding to a request Friday to speak with current president Sobjack, this reporter was put on hold and then told she is “not available.” WND was then given an email address for communications director Lisa Ziriax, but by press time Monday, Ziriax had not responded to a Friday email query seeking comment about the transgender controversy.
The following is the full text of the proposed bylaws amendment for NFRW that has so far been blocked for consideration by the group’s national leadership. Below that is the given “rationale” for the proposed
A Resolution to Support Biological Women/Females/Girls
Whereas, Women/females have struggled since the 1800s to obtain equal status in society and descendants of the women of the suffrage movement who advocated and won the fight for women’s equality, we must do the same for girls/females following behind us to do no less than fight for their female standing in culture;
Whereas, True transgender transition is a biological impossibility as genetically biological males and females are distinct in cellular make up;
Whereas, Females have XX chromosomes and males have XY chromosomes in every cell of their bodies the characteristics arising from this difference are unique and immutable from the moment of conception and continue so through life;
Whereas, Biological differences between the sexes manifests particularly in that on average males are larger in size and possess greater body strength than females resulting in inequality if men compete with women in athletic events;
Whereas, Women are put at a strength/performance disadvantage, lose educational opportunities and readiness for occupational obtainment;
Whereas, It is wholesome and wise to acknowledge and celebrate complimentary differences and uniqueness between men and women;
Whereas, Woman have achieved inspirational and significant accomplishments in education, athletics, employment, and politics;
Whereas, Recent misguided court rulings related to the definition of “sex” have led to the endangerment of essential resources and opportunities dedicated to women with unintended consequences taking the positive steps away from the 72 years of sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears shed by our sisters in the women’s suffrage movement;
And, Whereas, Scrutiny needs to be given to legislation that enables and endorses necessary distinction between sexes for the safeguarding of all society;
Resolved, that the National Federation of Republican Women meeting at its 42st Biennial Convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma September 28-October 1, 2023, shall support and remain an organization whose voting body consist only of biological women/females who identify as women/females, while allowing biological men/males or those who identify as men/males to be associate (non-voting) members or attendees, and for purposes of federal law addressing sex/gender, the terms “woman/women/girl” refer to biological human females and the terms “man/men/boy” refer to biological human males.
The National Federation of Republican Women must maintain its standing as the number one grassroots political organization for women. This is achieved by defining and recognizing women as different from men in several ways: biologically, genetically, physically and mentally. Men and women have strengths and weaknesses which are unique and complimentary; these differences should be maintained and celebrated. Our two sexes of male and female and the role they have in life should not be altered or combined as to conform with cultural or societal shifts.
Reprinted with permission from the WND News Center.