Donald Trump is set to appear Friday at the Values Voter Summit, a Washington, D.C., conference organized by the Family Research Council that brings together what we’ve called “some of the country’s most extreme opponents of LGBT rights, vocal conspiracy theorists and outspoken critics of the separation of church and state.”
Several of the summit’s organizers and speakers are so radical that they have even backed laws criminalizing homosexuality.
But pandering to extremists is nothing new for Trump. And he himself has found political success by promoting many of the Religious Right’s fears about supposed anti-Christian persecution in America and a pro-Muslim bias within the Obama administration.
Trump will be joining some of the country’s most hateful groups at the Values Voter Summit. Here are just 10 of the convening’s sponsors and exhibitors:
1) Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX)
PFOX is dedicated to promoting ex-gay conversion therapy and “educating society on the facts about sexual orientation in order to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against ex-gays and those trying to overcome same-sex attraction.”
The group’s materials have described coming out as “a kind of murder of the family” and railed against “homofascism.” One of the group’s top officials, Greg Quinlan, has claimed that President Obama and Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan are all secretly gay and has accused gay people of “sexual cannibalism.” Quinlan even blamed suicides among gay youth on gay “recruitment”: “We’re making martyrs out of kids that we’re recruiting to behave as homosexuals when no one is born that way, and that’s the problem and that’s the issue.”
PFOX also has ties to the FRC, the summit’s chief sponsor: FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg is a PFOX board member and the FRC has promoted PFOX’s events.
FRC President Tony Perkins, who has defended PFOX’s work giving “options” to children “struggling” with homosexuality, successfully lobbied the Republican National Committee to adopt a resolution opposing laws that seek to curb the use of ex-gay therapy on minors as part of its 2016 party platform.
2) The John Birch Society
Since its founding, the John Birch Society has been a racist clearinghouse of far-right conspiracy theories.
JBS has accused Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, Civil Rights Movement leaders and advocates of water fluoridation of advancing a communist plot…a plot that goes all the way back to the founding of the Illuminati. More recently, the group linked the Sandy Hook massacre to “the assault on white men” that includes everything “from ‘affirmative action’ to massive Third World immigration,” and attacked the GOP for turning into the “Gay Old Party.”
Jeet Heer of The New Republic writes that the Birchers’ conspiratorial nature helped set the stage for Trump’s nomination: “Far from belonging merely to the lunatic fringe, the Birchers were important precursors to what is now the governing ideology of the Republican Party: Trumpism. Bircherism is now, with Trump, flourishing in an entirely new way. Far from being drummed out of conservatism, it has become the dominant strain.”
3) Americans For Truth About Homosexuality
A former Family Research Council official, Peter LaBarbera founded Americans For Truth About Homosexuality in order to apply “single-minded determination to opposing the radical homosexual agenda” or, as he sometimes calls it, “the hydra-headed monster of the Homosexual/Transsexual Lobby.”
LaBarbera, an outspoken defender of laws criminalizing homosexuality and banning pro-gay speech , has warned about the threat of what he calls “Gayria law” and “homofascism,” calling for “civil disobedience on a massive scale” to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.
He has said that the people really being persecuted today are anti-gay activists,comparing himself and others to Jews living in Nazi Germany. He has claimed that anti-LGBT activists like himself can’t help but follow their “natural inhibition against homosexual behavior,” while gay rights advocates use “ political terrorism” to advance “like an insatiable, devouring monster” while promoting “Satan’s plan.”
LaBarbera has lamented that anti-gay violence is no longer “normal,” called pedophilia “a subset of the larger deviance of homosexuality,” said that he’d “love to see” a group organize a class action lawsuit against homosexuality and found it “reassuring” that the gay community is affected by STIs and violence.
In LaBarbera’s ideal America, the government would imprison doctors who perform sex reassignment surgery for transgender people, close the door to refugees who are gay, launch a campaign against “homosexual behavior” just as it did against tobacco products and “re-stigmatize” homosexuality.
4) Family Watch International
With a global focus, Family Watch International has promoted ex-gay therapy and laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas.
One of the most glaring examples of its activism is in Nigeria, where the group’s leadership pushed the country’s lawmakers to adopt a law that “punishes those who enter into a same-sex marriage with up to 14 years in prison” and “prohibits anyone from officiating a gay union, bans same-sex ‘amorous relationships’ and membership in an LGBT advocacy group.” The law has led to dozens of arrests.
The group has been particularly active in promoting ex-gay pseudo-science and opposing United Nations resolutions calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. For a time, FWI even worked withMartin Ssempa, an extreme anti-gay activist in Uganda, and praised Iran as “one of the strongest nations in standing up for family values at the UN.”
5) Liberty Counsel
Liberty Counsel is a conservative legal advocacy firm with close ties to Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell. The group recently gained national attention for its work representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who defied federal courts by attempting to obstruct the recognition of marriage equality in his state.
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver has called for mass disobedience against the Supreme Court’s landmark decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, warning that the ruling will lead to revolution and civil war. Staver, as we’ve reported, has also “predicted that President Obama will impose ‘ forced homosexuality’ upon the nation, regularly likened gay people to terrorists, labeled the gay rights movement as ‘demonic’ and defended countries that outlaw same-sex relationships. Gay equality, Staver warns, will lead to the end of civilization and cause America to ‘implode’ and ‘unravel.’”
Anita Staver, Staver’s wife and the president of Liberty Counsel, recently said that she would take her gun into restrooms in reaction to Target’s decision to let transgender customers use the restroom that matches their gender identity, although she was unable to connect the store’s policy to any criminal acts.
6) Thomas More Law Center
The conservative legal group the Thomas More Law Center, as we’ve noted, is “best known for its unsuccessful lawsuit against Planned Parenthood and the Shepard-Byrd hate crimes law as well as its botched defense of a Pennsylvania’s school’s Intelligent Design curriculum.”
While the group wrongly predicted that the 2009 Hate Crimes Act would “criminalize the Bible,” that didn’t stop it from similarly insisting that marriage equality would lead to the end of “intellectual liberty.” The Thomas More Law Center has also warned that Arabic lessons in school will train kids to become terrorists and claimed that Islam is not a religion but a “Trojan Horse” seeking “to destroy America.”
7) American Family Association
The American Family Association has truly earned its designation as a hate group.
It’s one-time spokesman Bryan Fischer, who still hosts a radio program on the group’s affiliate American Family Radio, has repeatedly called for homosexuality to be outlawed, while cheering on countries like Uganda that criminalize homosexuality, calling for an “Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households” and declaring that God will use ISIS terrorists to punish Americans for their tolerance of homosexuality. Upon learning that the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ban on gay members, Fischer said that the group should change its name to the “Boy Sodomizers of America.”
Fischer has also “likened homosexuality to terrorism and blamed the Holocaust on gay people, and said that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights and that non-Christian immigrants should be forced to convert to Christianity. Fischer has repeatedly defended the massacres and expulsions of Native Americans from their lands as divine justice and once lamented that welfare makes African-American women ‘rut like rabbits.’”
The AFA’s current governmental affairs director, Sandy Rios, has linked homosexuality to terrorism, train crashes and pedophilia.
8) Intercessors for America
Intercessors for America, as we’ve reported, has “prayed to stop anti-bullying laws to protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth, warning they ‘can only lead to God’s judgment,’ and that support for marriage equality ‘leads a soul to eternal damnation.’” The group also “believes that federal government is developing technology to implant microchips in all citizens as a form of mind control.”
9) Tradition, Family And Property
The Roman Catholic organization Tradition, Family and Property is a group of men who dress up like knights with trademark red capes and costumes and tour the country protesting events they perceive as anti-Catholic, as well as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The group is particularly active in its opposition to gay rights, advocating for colleges to disband LGBT clubs and protesting Desmond Tutu due to his “affirmation of the homosexual agenda.” One of the group’s board members suggested that tornadoes were God’s judgment for gay marriage .
10) Family Research Council
The Values Voter Summit’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, is far from a mainstream group.
FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg has called for bans on homosexuality and the exportation of gays from the U.S., and its executive vice president, Jerry Boykin, has promoted a wide range of bizarre conspiracy theories .
But the group’s most extreme official is its president, Tony Perkins, who has defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill, connected homosexuality to pedophilia , asserted that same-sex relationships are a government “population control” scheme, depicted LGBT rights supporters as terrorists and minions of Satan bent on murdering Christians, called for a revolution to stop same-sex marriages and denounced anti-bullying efforts for spreading “perversion.” He has also suggested narrowing the definition of religious freedom to exclude Muslims and liberal Christians, and once falsely claimed that it has been a “federal crime” to be a Christian since 2009.