Reality show star-turned-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will speak to the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC today. It will be the second time that Trump has hobnobbed with anti-LGBTQ hate groups in the eight weeks since he told the Republican National Convention audience that he would be “the best for LGBTQ Americans.”
Trump spoke to a conference of 700 pastors called the American Renewal Project exactly one month ago. Today, he’ll be speaking to a much larger and more diverse gathering of right wing culture warriors.
As usual, Right Wing Watch has been paying the closest attention to this weekend’s event. They note that all of the most prominent advocates of criminalizing homosexuality will be present.
The Family Research Council, which is the chief organizer of the conference, is a case in point. In 2003, when the Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on “sodomy” in the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case, the FRC filed an amicus brief on behalf of the state. When the court ruled against Texas in the case, the FRC called it “a direct attack on the sanctity of marriage” and the group’s president, Tony Perkins, declared, “What’s at stake here is the very foundation of our society, not only of America but all Western civilization.”
Not only has Perkins defended state laws criminalizing same-sex relations, he once defended a notorious anti-gay bill in Uganda that at the time he discussed it proposed life in prison or even the death penalty for people who have sex with someone of the same sex. Perkins lauded this bill as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable,” criticizing President Obama for opposing it.
Their list of the main groups attending the Values Voters Summit is a veritable Who’s Who of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
The American Family Association will be present along with the John Birch Society, ‘ex-gay’ group PFOX, virulent gay-hater Peter LaBarbera, and Liberty Counsel, which has represented Kentucky courthouse clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in their efforts to undermine the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling on marriage equality.
The twin sons of anti-abortion activist and convicted stalker Flip Benham are scheduled to appear. Tony Perkins, the anti-gay pastor who founded the Family Research Council, will be on hand. So will his vice president Jerry Boykin, the retired general and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.
Several celebrities are also joining this grand assemblage of bigots, including actor Jon Voight, Fox News personality Todd Starnes, and the Duck Commander himself, Phil Robertson.
There are other signs of an increasing role for anti-gay hate speech in the Trump campaign. For instance, paranoid nutter Michele Bachmann, who supports ‘ex-gay therapy’ and regularly conflates homosexuality with pedophilia, has become a Trump policy adviser.
Trump also recently brought longtime Clinton antagonist David Bossie on board as deputy campaign manager. Among his many dubious, gutter-level smears, Bossie has claimed that Bill Clinton brought about the 9/11 attacks by letting gays serve in the military and US intelligence agencies.
“As your president,” Trump said in July, “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
But two months later, Trump is pandering to the violence and oppression of a hateful domestic ideology — one that clearly has a place of privilege in his campaign.
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