A full-page ad in the Topeka Capital-Journal demanding lawmakers oppose the Adoption Protection Act used the names of businesses listed without their permission. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, commissioned the ad along with the ACLU and Equality Kansas.
The ad read, “Businesses oppose a license to discriminate. Reject HB 2481.” It listed more than 30 large companies, including Google, PayPal, Visa, and Comcast. It appears the Topeka daily didn’t double check before printing, because those businesses are now calling foul on the Human Rights Campaign for listing their names.
TechNet did send a letter to House leadership in opposition of the bill, but the organization didn’t authorize the HRC to list its members.
“We’ve made it clear to the HRC that the placement of this ad was a major breach of our trust and confidence,” Linda Moore, president of TechNet, wrote in a letter to its own members.
Chris Sgro, HRC communications director, told the Topeka Capital Journal that TechNet’s letter to lawmakers was widely reported last week, making it clear TechNet opposed the bill.
“There has been vocal and extensive opposition from the business community in Kansas and across the country, including organizations like TechNet, and that hasn’t changed,” Sgro said.
TechNet’s president said in her letter to its members that doesn’t give HRC the right to list member names.
“TechNet weighing in on an issue directly with legislators certainly does not give license to other advocacy organizations to list our full membership in materials or advertisements,” Moore’s letter to TechNet’s members reads.
Equality Kansas tweeted the HRC forgot to “cross some ‘ts and dot some i’s.”
The HRC and Equality Kansas used the advertisement to seek small businesses opposed to the Adoption Protection Act, which allows faith-based adoption agencies to continue to operate in Kansas according to their religious beliefs.
Equality Kansas used the list of businesses to encourage small businesses to denounce the Adoption Protection Act, while HRC highlighted its ad launch with a blog post. Lawmakers passed the deceptive list of businesses around House chambers. The ad was supposed to appear in the Wichita Eagle. A stripped down version sans business names ran in its place the next day.
“The obvious question is what else are they lying about?” Eric Teetsel, the president of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, said. “As I’ve been telling people for months, they are lying about the intent and impact of the Adoption Protection Act.”