On Friday, Donald Trump will become the first sitting U.S. president to speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering in Washington, D.C., of the nation’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ politicians, candidates and activists.
Trump, who last year addressed the group as a candidate, will again be keeping company with extremists who have made their careers seeding anti-LGBTQ hate in the U.S. and around the world -- from Vice President Mike Pence and former presidential advisor Steve Bannon, to the racist, bigoted Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama.
The 12th annual event is sponsored by the Family Research Council, an organization that has been designated a hate group for its anti-LGBTQ agenda by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Past summits have featured cavalcades of radical speakers who have attacked marriage equality and transgender people, advocated criminal sanctions against LGBTQ people, compared LGBTQ people to pedophiles, and promoted the dangerous, debunked practice of “conversion therapy.”
This year’s gathering is no exception, serving up another agenda of bigotry and hate that includes these featured speakers:
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) argued that allowing qualified transgender Americans to serve in the U.S. military was “a domestic threat.” Her amendment on the House floor that would have blocked access to medically necessary health care for the estimated 15,000 patriotic transgender service members already protecting our country was defeated on a bipartisan vote.
- Sebastian Gorka has been linked to a Neo-Nazi group in his native Hungary. And his views on Islam have been best described as “a mixture of Islamophobia and racism.”
- Steve Bannon, the former White House advisor to Trump, is back at the helm of Breitbart, a publication he has called “the platform for the alt-right.” While running Breitbart before Trump’s election, he published countless stories attacking LGBTQ people and activists, and, most virulently, transgender people.
- U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama was suspended from the state Supreme Court after refusing to implement a ruling that brought marriage equality to Alabama. He has also argued that “homosexual conduct should be illegal.” He recently took his extremism one step further, saying that he and Vladimir Putin may be “more akin... than [he] knows,” specifically citing both of their ugly, dangerous views on LGBTQ rights.
- Phil Robertson of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” fame in a vile interview chock full of racist and homophobic comments said being LGBTQ is a sin comparable to bestiality. The comments were so alarming that A&E suspended Robertson from the reality show after HRC and the NAACP called on the network to disavow his dangerous bigotry.
Other anti-LGBTQ extremists who will be featured include Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), whose life was saved by a lesbian police office during a shooting in June, is also among the scheduled speakers.
The Values Voter Summit enshrines the Trump-Pence administration’s embrace of the nation’s most radical anti-LGBTQ voices.