The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has criticised the Trump-Pence campaign for courting anti-LGBTQ activists at the so-called ‘Values Voter Summit’ in Washington, D.C. In a marked contrast, the same weekend that Trump and Pence addressed the gathering of the nation’s top anti-LGBTQ extremists, Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine spoke out for equality at the 20th annual HRC National Dinner across town on Saturday evening.
Trump and Pence spent their time courting votes from designated anti-LGBT groups such as the American Family Association and activists organizing to defend North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2, which cost the state millions and wrote discrimination into state law. The ‘Values Voter Summit’ also included promoters of right-to-discriminate laws like the one Pence signed in Indiana, devastating the state’s economy.
“This weekend couldn’t present a more powerful contrast about what’s at stake for the LGBTQ community in this election,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“While Tim Kaine is standing alongside the Human Rights Campaign in support of full equality for LGBTQ people here and across the globe, Donald Trump and Mike Pence will be across town courting support from the most notorious anti-LGBTQ extremists in the nation.”
Last month, on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, Donald Trump courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Donald Trump has embraced an anti-LGBTQ agenda from the start — opposing marriage equality and endorsing laws that threaten the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people in their homes, schools and communities. He further doubled down on his opposition to equality by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his ‘license to discriminate’ bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people.
Over the last several months, Donald Trump has only burnished his anti-LGBTQ credentials. Recently, Trump was endorsed by James Dobson, who also attended the ‘Values Voter Summit’ and founded two of the most notorious anti-equality organisations in the nation: Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Dobson linked the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., with “turning our back on God” and the “redefinition of marriage.”
Dobson has also said that same-sex marriage is the “fall of Western civilization itself” and was part of a “master plan” for destruction of family. He even suggested marriage equality could lead to a “civil war.” Dobson has called Obama’s transgender student guidelines an effort to “sow chaos” and “impose tyranny.” Trump has also campaigned alongside Tony Perkins – the current leader of the Family Research Council, which sponsors the ‘Values Voter Summit’. Perkins also spoke at the Summit.
In addition to Donald Trump’s own views and behavior, Trump Campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, has engaged in smears against transgender people while he worked for Breitbart News.
Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is a former pollster for the National Organization for Marriage who once objected to the inclusion of openly LGBTQ people in the media, saying of one television show that featured a lesbian couple that people “…don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers.”