The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group, has not officially endorsed Donald Trump, but they otherwise sound like they have. In the past week, the group has parroted his talking points, hosted one of his surrogates, and even defended his anti-LGBT actions.
Last week, Trump reached out to conservative Catholics, issuing a press release highlighting some of his positions, including his support for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow for religious discrimination against same-sex couples. He also hired Rick Santorum, who infamously compared marriage equality to bestiality, to join his Catholic Advisory Board.
Gregory T. Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, downplayed both of these concerns. Calling advisory councils “nothing out of the ordinary for candidates,” Angelo insisted that there’s nothing Trump has said or done that should deter his LGBT supporters. He also shrugged off FADA, calling it “DOA” (dead on arrival) in Congress and pointing out that some conservative groups have abandoned support for it because it was amended to also protect the religious beliefs of people who support same-sex marriage. That’s true, but doesn’t change the fact that many conservatives still support it — and more importantly, that it would still enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
Meanwhile, Angelo was seeking an audience at Breitbart, a notoriously anti-LGBT publication. In a column published there last week, he embraced the post-Orlando Islamophobia that Trump has tried to use to convince the “L-G-…B-T…Q community” — as Trump struggles to describe it — to support him:
Log Cabin Republicans, the organization for which I have the honor of serving as President, was the only LGBT advocacy organization to call the Orlando attack for what it was: an act of radical Islamic terrorism by an individual who was indoctrinated by the sharia teachings of an Imam who called gay people “devil worshippers.” […]
There is a new creeping theocracy in the United States: radical Islam. Regardless of party affiliation, sexual orientation, or religious background, standing up in opposition to twisted interpretations of legitimate faiths isn’t just important; it’s our duty as Americans.
Not only do these talking points reinforce stereotypes that Muslims are inherently violent, it completely erases the many Muslims who support the LGBT community — and most importantly, those who are actually LGBT themselves. Angelo did not mention Trump, but the column mirrored comments the candidate has repeatedly made, including in his nomination acceptance speech.
Though Trump uses his opposition to radical Islam to claim he supports the LGBT community, he has only increasingly taken positions against LGBT equality. He has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would reverse marriage equality, he has reversed on trans equality and now supports states refusing transgender people bathroom access, and now he has promised to sign FADA if Congress passes it.
But this record didn’t stop LCR from hosting Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich at its “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner Wednesday night. The former Speaker of the House has never taken a pro-LGBT position, but he argued that conservatives could help advance “the cause of freedom” by listening more. Really, he was just there to regurgitate more of Trump’s Islamophobia.
The Washington Blade reports that Gingrich acknowledged some would find it odd that he’d be speaking before such a group, but he said that “lives could literally depend” on the outcome of the election. “It’s always puzzled me why we haven’t been able to find some coalitional way to reach across our domestic arguments and realize that if you’re a feminist, you should be horrified by what happens to women, if you’re gay, you should be horrified by what happens to gays,” he said, referring to the so-called Sharia courts, Sharia patrols, and French “no-go zones” in various European countries, none of which actually exist.
Gingrich also tried to pin blame on Secretary Clinton for not trying to effect change in these countries (casually ignoring her famous “gay rights are human rights” speech to the United Nations and other LGBT positions the State Department took under her leadership). “When you look at a country where if you’re Christian, you’re being destroyed, if you’re Jewish, you’re being destroyed, if you’re gay, you’re being destroyed, a lot of these have common grounds to at least start a conversation that maybe these are common enemies of all of us, and maybe if you believe in freedom you want to beat all of these people.”
Angelo downplayed the fact that Gingrich’s positions remain entirely anti-LGBT. “He never came here to give any earth-shattering revelation,” he told the Blade. “He came here tonight to have a conversation with Log Cabin Republicans to show that despite our differences, there’s more that unites us as members of the same political party than divides us.”
LCR’s mission states that it supports “equality under the law for all, free markets, individual liberty, limited government, and a strong national defense.” Angelo seems content with how well the group gets along with other Republicans when they just leave out that first part. It remains to be seen if the group will once again cave and endorse the anti-LGBT candidate, as they did Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.
A poll released Monday found that 72 percent of LGBT voters support Clinton and only 20 percent support Trump.