A Response to Bob Heleringer on SB 150: What Happened to Honesty, Decency, and Truth?

Martin Cothran is Senior Policy Analyst and Spokesperson for The Family Foundation.
Martin Cothran is Senior Policy Analyst and Spokesperson for The Family Foundation.

Bob Heleringer recently wrote in the Louisville Courier-Journal about a “vendetta” he claims is being waged against gay and transgender students in our schools by supporters of conservative legislation passed last week by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Several bills, including SB 150, passed the Kentucky legislature which, among other things, set down guidelines about the forced use of pronouns that didn’t match a student’s biological sex, that protected children from irresponsible and irreversible “gender-transition” surgery on minors, and that protected children from possible abuse by someone of the opposite sex using a boys’ or girls’ bathroom.

It is these bills Heleringer points to as evidence that his party (the Republicans) are hateful bigots.

If one measure of hate is the frequency with which someone uses hateful language to characterize other people, it would be interesting to see how his own hateful rhetoric measures up to the rhetoric of the people he accuses of being hateful.

He imputes the worst possible motives to those with whom he disagrees. In this, he is at one with the rest of the Woke left, which refuses to acknowledge that anyone could possibly disagree with them honestly and sincerely.

Heleringer accuses those who supported these bills as “demeaning gays,” and yet he spends most of his article personally demeaning the people he disagrees with. Why is it that he and others on the cultural left are able to engage in the very hateful behavior they accuse their conservative detractors of engaging in? Is hate only hate when someone else is doing it?

Several times during the session, LGBTQ advocates were hurling epithets at supporters of the bill. Where is Heleringer’s outrage for this? To charge bill supporters with something they were not doing–and which his side was doing, is not only inaccurate, it is intellectually dishonest.

If groups of conservatives had descended on the State Capitol and engaged in the kind of behavior we saw from opponents of these bills, it would have been called an insurrection.

The LGBT ideological movement constantly and personally denigrates those who hold to traditional beliefs about sex and gender, beliefs informed by incontrovertible biological realities, and then somehow thinks it has taken the moral high ground.

He says the name of The Family Foundation is ironic. If he’s looking for irony, he needs to look in the mirror. Bob Heleringer has not struck a blow for moral integrity. He has implicated himself with his own vitriol.

This is not out of character for many of the supposed representatives of “tolerance.” But I have known Bob Heleringer for a number of years, going back to when he himself was a House member, and I have personally witnessed his passion and sharp intellect. But in this article his passion has completely overtaken his reason. In fact, there are very few arguments in the article at all. This is what ideology does: it subordinates reason to personal attack, and replaces arguments with slogans.

School is supposed to be a place where you can rationally discuss ideas, an attitude that should be reflected in discussion of school policy. But the transgressives don’t want their views about sexuality to be considered as an option–or debated on their merits.

You disagree with this agenda at the price of ridicule and ostracism.

The demand is not for a reasonable assessment of claims of whether a panoply of exotic pronouns should be acknowledged in schools, or whether young children should have life-altering surgery, or whether students who are only vaguely aware of what sex even is  should have a man dressed as a woman twerking in their face. The demand is not that these things should be accepted on the basis of their rational merit. They are to be accepted as a matter of ideological dogma.

There is a very good reason that the transgressives have to enforce their views on others: because their views cannot stand in their own merits. Ideology is not a matter of reason and evidence. It can’t abide being argued about, which is why it must be enforced through coercion–and insult.

This attitude has no place in schools–or in discussions of school policy.


A word of advice to the defenders of the transgressive agenda who would like their traditionally-minded detractors to better understand their beliefs and feelings: Maybe if you spent more time actually arguing your case and less time issuing insults and personal attacks on people merely for disagreeing with you, you might at least gain an understanding of why it is that some people are so opposed to all this.

*This editorial was submitted to the Courier Journal last week, but as of this morning they have not run our response.* 

By Martin Cothran – Spokesperson and Senior Policy Analyst for The Family Foundation.