Mt. Hope Infinity: 2 Portland area queers have their email accounts subpoenaed

On Wednesday, March 16th, Google will be forced to hand over the email accounts of two queer activists from Portland, Oliver Hayes and Kat Enyeart, to the evangelical Mt. Hope Church in Lansing, MI. Both Portlanders are subpoenaed because of their alleged ties to the Bash Back. However no factual evidence has been produced to support such a relationship existing and both deny membership in the organization.

They issued this statement Wednesday:

“Today Google will have to comply with a subpoena to release our private email correspondence to a hostile far-right anti-gay organization. These emails were subpoenaed by Mt. Hope Church — a virulent and dangerous anti-gay mega church based in Lansing, MI. The subpoenas are part of a civil suit wherein Mt. Hope is attempting to sue people they allege to be part of an organization called “Bash Back.” Three years ago a group of people using that name engaged in a non-violent protest and political theater display against the anti-gay rhetoric and actions of Mt. Hope. During this non-violent protest no person was hurt and no criminal charges were filed as a result. Now, however, Mt. Hope (under the guise of the Alliance Defense Fund) is attempting to sue anyone they believe to be connected to Bash Back. In a sickening twist of fate, they are suing under the FACE Act — a law meant to protect women who seeking abortion services. It is ironic that an legislative attempt to protect women’s reproductive rights is now being used to target and harass queer rights activists.

We believe that the actions of Mt Hope are morally deplorable. While we may have political differences with Bash Back, we stand in solidarity with them in the face of this attack. We view Mt. Hope’s actions to be a direct attack on queer people across the nation, an attempt to silence queer activists, and to push back on queer voices, visibility, and spaces of self-determination. The ADF’s own literature presents these legal actions as part of their fight against gay rights.

We further find these subpoenas, and legal case behind them, to be baseless, to be an unsubstantiated, and to have dangerous implications. They are baseless because we have had no formal past or current membership in Bash Back. Getting email updates about an organization — any organization — is not sufficient grounds to violate our right to private correspondence. Mt. Hope’s lawsuit proceeds according to the logic of guilt-by-association, reminiscent of McCarthyist witch-hunts.

Furthermore, the accusations are unsubstantiated. There were no criminal charges filed, and Mt. Hope’s clinic provides no abortion services to its members. This law suit is not about seeking justice for clinic patients, but about denying justice to queers and activists. It is a legal attempt to silence queers who have the audacity to confront virulent hate — the kind of hate that has destroyed the lives of many queers; that has isolated vulnerable youths; and that has pushed some to chose suicide rather than cope with the pain of a homophobic world.

Finally, these actions are dangerous invasions of privacy. Anybody’s email account normally has hundreds of personal emails and information about friends and community members that is reasonable to not want shared with belligerent reactionary anti-gay organizations. According to the law, Mt. Hope will be required to keep the contents of our email accounts private. But what real guarantee do we have that they will not be used to aid their campaigns of harassment against queer people? How do we know that our friends won’t be forcibly outted, harassed, and physically targeted?

Today we ask our friends, neighbors, and community members to support us in our struggle against this subpoena and any future actions by Mt. Hope Church. We realize that this attack by Mt. Hope is aimed at picking off the most visible and out members of queer community and for that reason we feel it is imperative that we firmly tell Mt. Hope and anyone else with an anti-gay agenda that we will not be silenced and intimidated and we will not go away. We will fight them every step of the way to ensure that gay and queer people across the country can have full, safe, and visible lives.”

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