COMPTROLLER LEMBO ANNOUNCES REMOVAL OF AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION FROM STATE CHARITABLE CAMPAIGN
Contact: Tara Downes
Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced today that the Connecticut State Employees’ Campaign (CSEC) Committee has notified the American Family Association (AFA) of its removal from the campaign after the AFA refused to provide a copy of its required board certified non-discrimination policy.
The letter, signed by the chairman of the CSEC committee, follows a unanimous vote by the committee last week to remove AFA upon Lembo’s recommendation.
Pursuant to Reg. Conn. State Agencies §5-262-3(k), charities that participate in the CSEC must have a stated policy of non-discrimination and be in compliance with all requirements of law and regulation respecting non-discrimination, equal employment opportunity, and public accommodations with respect to its programs, clients, officers, employees and volunteers.
The application for participation in the CSEC specifically states that written documentation of a charity’s non-discrimination policy, duly approved by the organization’s board, must be available for inspection upon reasonable notice of the committee.
"I am grateful for the committee's unanimous vote to remove AFA from the
state charitable campaign - and I’m proud to live in a state that broadly
prohibits discrimination, whether based on an individual’s race, color,
religion, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital
status, familial status, national origin, ancestry or disability," Lembo said.
"The AFA certainly has constitutional rights to make public statements -
however, the AFA does not have a constitutional right to participate in the
Connecticut State Employees' Campaign for Charitable Giving, particularly if it
violates state and federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations."
Lembo serves as administrator of the CSEC, an initiative to enable and encourage state employees to donate to charitable organizations. State employees donate over a million dollars every year through the CSEC, benefiting hundreds of charities that provide services to the homeless, children, senior citizens, as well as funding to cure diseases and protect the environment.
Lembo, who is Connecticut's first openly gay statewide elected official, began investigating the AFA upon receiving a complaint from a state employee about the organization.
"The AFA's public statements and mission not only appear to encourage discrimination against the LGBTQ communities, as well as Muslims who choose to serve and protect our country by enlisting in the U.S. military, but it remains unclear what actual charitable services the AFA provides that qualifies it to participate in the CSEC," Lembo said. “We have a responsibility to donors to ensure that participating organizations abide by the rules and regulations of the CSEC, particularly those that ensure inclusiveness and protection against discrimination."