WASHINGTON – Over 25,000 people have already signed a People For the American Way petition speaking out against the Republican Party for standing with extremists who have repeatedly defended the death penalty for LGBT people. The petition calls on Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal to speak out against the violent bigotry of the so-called National Religious Liberties Conference at which they are scheduled to speak this weekend in Des Moines. The conference organizer, Kevin Swanson, has openly and repeatedly defended capital punishment laws for LGBT people, said that he thinks Girl Scout cookies and the movie "Frozen" will turn young girls into lesbians, and called the death of abortion providers divine “upcommance.”
People For the American Way President Michael Keegan stated:
“It is unconscionable that GOP candidates would participate in a conference whose organizer believes gay people deserve to die because of their sexuality. We’ve seen throughout this primary campaign that Republican candidates are fighting over who can be more anti-women, anti-gay, anti-immigrant. They’ve now reached a new low.”
Kevin Swanson and other speakers at the event have a lengthy history of disturbing remarks about women and LGBT people. Here’s just a few examples from Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way:
- Swanson has called homosexuality a “death penalty crime” and defended a Ugandan measure to make homosexuality a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty, saying he was glad the country was “standing strong” by adopting extreme anti-gay laws. He has said that it’s acceptable to attend a gay couple’s wedding only if you hold up a sign telling them they should be put to death.
- Conference speaker Phil Kayser advocates instating the death penalty for gay people.
- Conference speaker Joel McDurmon likewise insists that God “revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty."
- Swanson has called HIV/AIDS “God’s retribution” and “God’s kindness” for gay people.
- Swanson has claimed that flooding and forest fires in Colorado were the result of “decadent homosexual activity” and women wearing pants and said that Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina were divine punishments of “pro-homosexual” cities.
- Swanson, who is affiliated with the Christian Patriarchy movement, although he rejects the term, has insisted that feminists — many of them “ugly” “feminazis” — and gay people “are destroying society.” He claims that women who use birth control have “little tiny fetuses, these little babies … embedded into the womb,” meaning that the “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”
- Swanson called the murder of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller divine “upcommance.”
- Swanson has warned that Disney’s “Frozen” is a demonic movie meant to “indoctrinate my five-year-old to be a lesbian.”