Major GOP women's group opens door to biological men joining

September 4, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the 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 proposal, published in full below, effectively would bar gender-confused men living as “trans women” from joining the NFRW as voting members and leaders.

NFRW 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.

But 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 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, 2nd vice-president for the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, 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.

Republicans nominate a man for ‘Woman of the Year’?

Carlson and other state NFRW activists are outraged that prominent New Jersey NFRW leaders like Vanessa LaFranco – who was chosen by the official NFRW nomination committee as the favorite candidate to be the next national president -- have 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.

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 an interview with WND: "Bring it on.

Sobjack wrote: “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,” he writes. “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.

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