A few weeks back, I wrote about Evangelicals for Trump, one of the coalitions that the Trump campaign has assembled to bolster their 2020 efforts. As might be expected for an assembly of evangelical conservatives, that one is an extremely anti-LGBTQ group, with a near-unanimous track record of hostility. Equally expected is their support for the Trump administration, the most anti-LGBTQ presidential administration in recent American history.
Well now there is yet another coalition, this one called Pro-Life Voices For Trump. And even though this one is designed to target reproductive rights and women’s free choice, it is–surprise, suprise–pretty much as anti-LGBTQ as the one to launch before it.
Let’s first look at the four figures who overlap between both coalitions.
- Tony Perkins has one of the most hostile anti-LGBTQ track records around, one of the main reasons the Southern Poverty Law Center has long included his Family Research Council on its shortlist of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
- Alveda King once referred to marriage equality as “genocide.”
- Gary Bauer has insisted that marriage equality could cause God to “take his hand of protection off of our country.”
- Ralph Reed has been behind anti-LGBTQ policy for decades, and has claimed “irrefutable evidence” that same-sex couples make bad parents.
I covered those four back when I wrote about Evangelicals For Trump, and it’s certainly worth mentioning their records once again. These four individuals have all had a close association to this White House, all visiting with the president on several occasions.
But this Pro-Life Voices coalition, which includes Catholics and other conservatives who do not fit neatly into the “evangelical” box, has a whole host of other figures who are just as steadfast in their opposition to basic fairness and equality. Here are just some of the members on the Advisory Council.
- Marjorie Dannenfelser joined a shortlist of extreme conservatives on a 2013 letter to then-chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, calling on the GOP to continue to oppose marriage equality. The letter stated, “Republicans would do well to persuade young voters why marriage between a man and a woman is so important rather than abandon thousands of years of wisdom to please them.”
- Frank Pavone wrote an Op-Ed insisting the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision is a “dead-end for America.”
- Jessica Anderson was a prominent voice in support of a marriage ban in the state of North Carolina; she currently works at the viciously anti-LGBTQ Heritage Action, where she recently attacked the inclusive Equality Amendment.
- Ellen Barrosse lobbied for the wildly misnamed First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow anti-LGBTQ businessowners to discriminate against married same-sex couples.
- Christina Bennett works for Connecticut’s chief anti-LGBTQ group, the Family Institute of Connecticut, where she spends her days attacking things like Drag Queen Story Hour.
- Ken Blackwell, a longtime Family Research Council personality, has a vicious history of attacking LGBTQ people. He believes homosexuality is a “transgression against God’s law” and can be changed.
- Rachel Bovard co-wrote a book with Jim DeMint, where she argued that the inclusive Boy Scouts have “abandoned their moral and religious foundations” and attacked LGBTQ activists for seeking fair business practices among wedding vendors.
- Rebecca Hagelin earned scored all across the continent of Australia when she suggested that marriage equality for same-sex couples will lead to legalization of pedophilia and polygamy.
- Kristan Hawkins suggested the Supreme Court backed marriage equality because we no longer “respect the dignity of human life.”
- Jeff Landry has all but defined his tenure as Attorney General of Louisiana by his anti-LGBTQ actions, including recently urging SCOTUS to reject transgender workplace protections.
- Ed Martin is “adamantly opposed” to marriage equality.
- Tom McClusky once equated President Obama’s support for marriage equality to telling a depressed neighbor to commit suicide.
- Janet Morana cohosts a Catholic web show where she and her cohosts routinely encourage parents to push their gay children into repressive ministries, as well as attack “the transgender agenda.”
- Penny Nance claims LGBTQ activists “infiltrate schools” so they can “go around you and get to your children.”
- Kimberly Yee ran for Arizona senate on her opposition to marriage equality, and she recently signed on in support of a lawsuit seeking
That’s a lot of anti-LGBTQ advocacy for a coalition supposedly focused on another issue entirely. “Pro-life” may be what most overtly connects them, but making life more difficult for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people is also providing some of the glue.
Which makes me wonder: If this President were really the lowkey ally that LGBTQ conservatives and other defenders (hi, Ivanka!) keep saying he is, then why are his strongest supporters so often our community’s biggest opponents? While true that it can be dangerous to prematurely judge someone’s heart by only the company they keep, it can even more dangerous to pretend to not see what is so clearly there. With this president, anti-LGBTQ activism is ALWAYS THERE. It’s constantly around because it’s something he and his team are actively recruiting. It is enmeshed within every fiber of this administration.
To deny that is to deny reality.