According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a group of religious leaders urged Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to cancel his appearance at the Values Voters Summit. In an open letter posted at Faithful America, 13 Christian leaders from Louisiana reminded Jindal that the summit sponsors have a long history of anti-LGBTQ activism.
"Your deep personal commitment to Christian faith, and especially to the teachings of the Catholic Church, should preclude your involvement with FRC, which has been formally designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, because of FRC's repeated "use of known falsehoods to attack and demonize members of the LGBT community." ... the Family Research Council's leaders have a decades-long track record of making false and inflammatory comments about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."Other voices are calling for leaders to reject the Values Voters Summit. On September 24th, representatives from 7 organizations, including People for the American Way, the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD, and Human Rights Campaign, published an open letter to the Republican National Committee. The letter urged committee chairman Reince Priebus to sever ties with the organizations sponsoring the Values Voters Summit. "These groups engage in repeated, groundless demonization of LGBT people — portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation," the letter asserted.
"The Family Research Council, the summit’s host, is vigorously opposed to extending equal rights to the LGBT community. Its president, Tony Perkins, has repeatedly claimed that pedophilia is a "homosexual problem." He has called the "It Gets Better" campaign — designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow — “disgusting” and a "concerted effort" to "recruit" children into the gay "lifestyle." He has condemned the National Republican Congressional Committee for supporting three openly gay candidates.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a summit sponsor, has said the U.S. needs to "be more like Russia," which enacted a law criminalizing the distribution of LGBT "propaganda." He also has said, "Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews."
The letter argued that extremism should not be endorsed by elected officials, and that the GOP is obliged to condemn anti-LGBTQ bigotry as it has condemned racism.
Similarly, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, another summit sponsor, has compared those who do not denounce same-sex marriage to those who remained silent during the Holocaust. Marriage equality, he has said, is the "beginning of the end of Western civilization.""
As the public grows more supportive of LGBTQ equality, homophobic rhetoric at the Values Voters Summit will increasingly come under fire. When the event launches tomorrow, LGBTQ equality supporters will be watching.