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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is following the example of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, after agreeing to address the “Rediscovering God in America” conference in Orlando this week. The event has been blasted by LGBT groups because of the involvement of several prominent figures known for their staunch opposition to LGBT rights.
In a speech scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, Trump is expected to express support for repealing a federal regulation that prevents pastors from openly endorsing political candidates from the pulpit, according to the Wall Street Journal.
LGBT and left-leaning groups previously criticized Rubio for attending the conference and for speaking on Friday, Aug. 12, the two-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. In response, Rubio hit back at the media and liberal activists for portraying the conference as anti-LGBT in nature, saying it is “a celebration of faith.”
Some LGBT activists say Trump’s attendance at the event sends mixed messages about his sincerity when it comes to LGBT issues. While Trump reached out to gay voters following the Pulse shooting, he continues to oppose same-sex marriage and has defended North Carolina’s right to pass its HB 2 law restricting transgender people’s access to public restrooms.
People for the American Way blasted Trump for agreeing to speak. “That the GOP standard bearer is choosing to rub shoulders with some of the most extreme anti-gay voices in the country speaks volumes about the Republican party today,” they said in a statement. “These are people who revile gay people, calling them ‘demonic,’ and who claim that LGBT rights will lead to the ‘utter destruction’ of our country. But the GOP presidential candidate seemingly has no qualms about casting his lot with these dangerous anti-gay voices.”
Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, took a more measured approach in his response.
“To me it’s all about what is the message that they’re bringing, and I highly doubt, considering their past statements, that they are going to this event to spout a bunch of hate,” Angelo told the Wall Street Journal. “If they are going to take a strong pivot to a hard socially conservative bent that involves opposition to LGBT equality, then I’d be concerned.”
Joseph R. Murray, II, the moderator of the pro-Trump Facebook group LGBTrump, criticized those who sought to attack Trump for meeting with the group or who implied that speaking at the conference was indicative of Trump’s hostility towards the LGBT community. Murray in particular aimed his comments at the Human Rights Campaign, which blasted both Rubio and Trump for agreeing to attend.
“In blasting Trump for meeting with the Florida Renewal Project, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is no different from the radical Religious Right groups that blast politicians who speak to LGBT rights groups,” Murray said in a statement. “If we are going to come together as a people and address the critical issues that threaten our way of life — trade, unnecessary wars, terrorism, and immigration — we must be willing to have an open dialogue and find common ground. The fact that Trump is meeting with the Florida Renewal Project does not mean he is no longer the best LGBT Republican in history; it means he is a leader who can build broad coalitions to make America great again.”
But the Democratic National Committee pounced on the opportunity to tether Trump to the anti-LGBT rhetoric and actions of those who will attend the conference.
“Instead of honoring the memory of those we lost at Pulse two months ago, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have come to Orlando to headline a gathering of some of the nation’s most incendiary anti-gay bigots,” said DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile in a joint statement with DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes. “We suggest Trump and Rubio disavow these anti-gay extremists who have likened gay people to Nazis and characterized HIV/AIDS as divine ‘penalties’ for being gay. Failing to do so will be yet another example of the utter lack of judgment that makes Trump unfit to serve.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include remarks from the founder of LGBTrump and the Democratic National Committee.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has promised to bring up a number of priorities embraced by social conservatives in a special session of the Texas legislature, including several bills dealing with hot-button issues such as a ban on transgender athletes.
On Wednesday, Abbott placed several items on the agenda, such as an "election integrity" bill designed to place more restrictions on when and how Texans can vote; a measure restricting what public school teachers can say about "critical race theory"; a ban on social media censorship of conservative viewpoints, allowing those banned from platforms to bring legal action against platforms; a bill seeking to prohibit people from providing abortion-inducing drugs via mail or delivery service; and a bill prohibiting transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.
Anti-LGBTQ evangelicals are panicking about "surviving the rainbow onslaught" during Pride month.
Noted hate group the Family Research Council has instructed its followers that there's "no escaping" the "sexual revolution" and complained that "Pride is the new religion."
The group's anti-LGBTQ leader, Tony Perkins, made the comments during his Pray Vote Stand webcast, Right Wing Watch reports.
“The world is upside-down when American pride is something we should apologize for, but sexual perversion is the stuff of parades," Perkins, an avowed Donald Trump supporter, complained.
Thousands protested outside Hungary's national parliament in Budapest on Monday, decrying legislation that bans discussions or depictions of homosexuality or gender transition in schools and in the media.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a right-wing populist, has ramped up political attacks targeting the LGBTQ community -- as well as immigrants and other ethnic groups -- ahead of the 2022 elections next year, in hope that an appeal on culturally divisive issues will help his Fidesz party stay in power.
Fidesz has claimed that LGBTQ activists and others are attempting to corrupt minors, employing homophobic tropes about gay men, in particular, as predators whose influence can potentially harm the "physical, mental, and moral development."
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