Cyndi Lamm remembers her past. She wishes you didn't.

This is part 2 in a series. Part 1 was here.

What we'd rather talk about

People often get upset with those who talk about civil rights all the time. They wonder, why can't you talk about something else? The reason that the LGBT community and their allies keep beating the drum is to draw attention to their opponents, who would prefer to take away gay rights in secret.

Lamm, a Republican, said she would rather talk about city issues like roads, property tax relief and transparency in government than defend herself against bloggers on an anonymous website.

November 30th, 2018 Lincoln Journal Star

Lamm is, doubtlessly, telling the truth. Of course she would much rather talk about nearly anything other than her embarrassing history and shameful beliefs. Of course it will be far easier to pass anti-LGBT policy, if those are her true plans, without having to talk to voters about it.

Who gets to tell the story?

Cyndi Lamm granted a lot of newspaper interviews when she was building her career as an anti-LGBT activist. This blog has re-published Lamm's own account of her attempt to get away from gay people in California by moving to Lincoln, and of her founding a Nebraska chapter of a certified hate group. We also know she admired a California homophobic leader who advocated for putting gay people into literal concentration camps. She invited him to Lincoln to speak.

Cyndi Lamm in front of her City Council office

Now that she's running for mayor, Lamm says this trail of homophobia does not remotely represent my record or history. But, her attempts to deny her anti-LGBT work are simply contradicted by the public record. This is the second part in a series in which we consider Cyndi Lamm's revisionist attempts on her own past.

For a while Lamm was a leader in the Traditional Values Coalition of Nebraska, which she described at the time as a pro-life, pro-family group that believes in the heterosexual ethic, religious liberties and educational fairness.

But about six months later, Lamm said she distanced herself from the national organization. After the group's national leader came to Lincoln, Lamm said, it became clear to me we were not on the same page.

2018 Lincoln Journal Star

OK, sure, Lamm may have started and lead a hate group for a little while. But, didn't we all do embarrassing things in the 1990s? And sure, she invited someone known to be a homophobic monster to Lincoln in 1993. But, once she saw in person how bad the guy really was, she cut ties. Right?

No. She invited him again in 1994. She organized a mass demonstration at the Nebraska Capitol and made him the keynote speaker. Nominally the demonstration was against a proposed law, LB 395, that sought to end job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Anti-gay protest organized by Cyndi Lamm, Jan. 11, 1994. Photo: Ted Kirk, Lincoln Journal.

LB 395 didn't have much support in the Unicameral and wasn't expected to even come up for floor debate. Why and how did the Traditional Values Coalition of Nebraska get 500 people to show up in protest? Why did leader Lou Sheldon take time out of his busy hate schedule to fly to Nebraska again?

Less than two weeks before, Lincoln teenager Brandon Teena had been raped and brutally murdered for being transgender. While the nation expressed outrage and sadness, it's possible that Lamm and Sheldon saw the killing as a sign that their program of hate was catching on in Nebraska.

It is up to the reader to decide if this timing was a concidence, or if the rally was a celebration of Teena's death, and perhaps an attempt to nudge further acts of violence.

Cyndi Lamm is unclear about when she stopped leading the Nebraska hate group affiliate; she only says she distanced herself from the national organization. In any case, she would soon join the Nebraska Family Alliance, a substantially similar organization that she remains part of today. She does not seem troubled by having a hand in creating the sort of anti-LGBT stigma that got a Lincoln teenager killed.

The special rights agenda

Aside from her time organizing rallies and giving interviews, there is Cyndi Lamm's whole legal career to consider. She assures us that she's fair-minded as a lawyer:

Lamm, a Lincoln attorney, says she has represented gay clients and personally believes in fair and equitable treatment under the law for everyone.

2018 Lincoln Journal Star

How could Cyndi Lamm, who has advocated against legalization of gay marriage and against legal protections for gay employees, possibly be under the impression that she supports equal treatment for gay people under the law?

A clue is to be found in the pamphlet that Lamm wrote and distributed (she claims) 90,000 copies of. She says that the pamphlet exposes the homosexual special rights agenda. What does that mean?

The answer is extensively explained in a lengthy Traditional Values Coalition training video, titled Gay Rights / Special Rights. (Only watch it if you are prepared for nearly an hour of emotionally taxing homophobic propaganda.)

In the video you'll see that the Traditional Values Coalition thinks of homosexuality as wrong yet extremely tempting, illustrated very many times by zooming in on young gay couples kissing. You'll also hear the explanation that everything we think of as equal LGBT rights are in fact special rights that LGBT people do not deserve. Equal rights do not include gay marriage because — and this is the real stated reason — gay people already have the right to straight marriage, thus they have the same rights as straight people. Gays should be content with that, rather than ask for the special right of marrying someone they actually love.

Cyndi Lamm was trained on this language, likely from this video. She does not include marriage legality and workplace protections in her idea of equal rights. So, when she claims to support equal rights for gay people, this is a meaningless statement.

Lamm said that State Democrat Party Chair Jane Kleeb tweeted the website message Thursday morning to get it rolling. And she would like to see the other mayoral candidates, Democrats Lerion Gaylor Baird and Jeff Kirkpatrick, denounce the deceptive tactics.

2018 Lincoln Journal Star

Lamm appears to believe that this website was created by the Democratic party, or by an opposing mayoral campaign. A reasonable guess, if not a very creative one.

Protest against the Nebraska Family Coalition in 2001. Now called the Nebraska Family Alliance, the organization was then supporting a constitutional amendment banning gay marraige. They have been an obstacle to gay families for decades.

I created this website not because I'm part of some political party, but instead because I was a young Nebraskan in the 1990s. I was mocked, physically threatened, and attacked because of my perceived sexual orientation. The people who did these things to me were just kids, responding to the stigma they saw around them in our culture. Cyndi Lamm, and people like her, intentionally created that stigma. She sabotaged the support systems that more caring adults created to help those hurt by the stigma. She undermined the education efforts that would allow people to discover their own sexuality and to avoid disease. She offers no apology for her work.

While the issues and perspectives have evolved since 1994, her values and principles have remained the same, Lamm said.

2018 Lincoln Journal Star

While the world has become more tolerant, Cyndi Lamm has not. But, gay, trans, and gender non-conforming kids of a new generation are still harassed and beaten back into the closet. When they are, Cyndi Lamm is somewhere in a room of powerful people, quietly congratulating herself.

Mark your calendar

Cyndi Lamm is the Republican candidate for mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska