President Donald Trump is to address a conference hosted by an anti-LGBT organisation that America’s leading civil rights charity has designated a “hate group”.
The Family Research Council(FRC) holds it yearly Value Voters Summit today in Washington, D.C. – and President Trump is top of the bill.
Other speakers include Roy Moore, the Republican Party’s senate candidate for Alabama, who once refused to answer a question about whether homosexuality should be punished by death.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights nonprofit which monitors hate groups, said Trump’s appearance as keynote speaker “puts the lie to his campaign promise to be a friend to the LGBTQ community”.
“By appearing at the Values Voter Summit, President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonises LGBTQ people and works to deny them of their equal rights,” SPLC president Richard Cohen told The Independent.
The arch-conservative Christian group lobbies against abortion, gay marriage and anti-discrimination laws, often in the name of religious freedom.
The SPLC lists the FRC as a hate group, alongside the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church, claiming that it uses “junk science” to further its agenda of denigrating and demeaning LGBT people.
On its website, the FRC says that “homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed”.
“It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects,” the site continues.
The FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, describes paedophilia as “a homosexual problem”, has accused gay scoutmasters of preying on children and once called an anti-bullying campaign aimed at LGBT youth “disgusting”.
In a statement earlier this week, Perkins said the group was excited to welcome Trump, the first serving president to address the conference.
“Values voters have waited eight years for a leader who puts America’s mission first and respects the values that made America into a great nation,” he said.
He also praised the president’s commitment to ”undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration”, a reference to Trump’s recent repeal of an Obama-era policy requiring employers to include birth control in their health insurance plans.
Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, who runs far-right news site Breitbart and has previously spoken of the battle to preseve “the Judeo-Christian west” is also on the list of speakers.
“Other speakers include the founder of anti-Islam group ACT for America and former Trump strategist, Sebastian Gorka,” Newsweek reports.