Trump Praises Anti-LGBT Supporters, Still Does Not Recognize Pride Month

President Donald Trump has apparently still not had time to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month. But last week he found time to say thank you to groups of his anti-LGBT supporters.

Trump delivered remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference, at which he was labeled the “keynote speaker and guest of honor” on June 8th, according to the agenda.

Trump congratulated Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Freedom Coalition, on creating “a really nationwide, beautiful movement” and on the group’s “extraordinary” achievements.

“And I’m honored by your incredible support, and grateful for your commitment to our shared cause.Thank you for all that you do,” said Trump, adding,”You didn’t let me down, and I will never, ever let you down. You know that.”

Notably, Trump made his remarks just days ahead of the anniversary of the Pulse shooting, a massacre at a gay bar and nightclub that left 49 people dead.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an anti-LGBT group, and chairman Reed has been vocal in his own anti-LGBT positions. When the National Basketball Association decided to move the 2017 NBA All-Star Game out of North Carolina amid the controversy surrounding House Bill 2 (or the “bathroom bill,” which infringed upon transgender peoples’ rights), he called it “an assault on common sense and strong families.”

“The NBA should focus on basketball, not left-wing and special interest politics,” said Reed. “Unless and until the NBA allows men to enter WNBA locker rooms, it should leave bathroom policy to state legislatures.”

Reed has also made strong, false statements against gay couples raising children. He cited inaccurate research (that he called “irrefutable”) to make his point.

“This is about what’ best for children here in the United States. And the social science is irrefutable,” he said in a 2014 interview. “And it is that a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present and they both play very unique procreative, nurturing and socializing role, they’re nine times more likely to end up dropping out of high school. They’re five times more likely to end up in poverty. And they’re three times more likely to end up addicted to drugs and alcohol.”

Research on the subject has not indicated this to be true. According to PolitiFact, “Research is still limited, butmanyreputablestudiesso far have concluded that children of gay parents, generally speaking, are just as well off as children of straight parents. What’s more important is the number of parents a child has, experts told us.” Studies have not concluded that the parents must be opposite-gendered.

When former President Barack Obama announced his support for marriage equality in 2012, Reed called him “a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans.” (At the time of his remarks, half of Americans supported gay marriage, while just under half did not, according to Gallup data.)

Reed also called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), proposed legislation that would forbid discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees, “dumb politics” and “a dagger aimed at the heart of religious freedom for millions of Americans.”

Trump also praised Focus on the Family (FOTF) and its founder, Dr. James Dobson. He congratulated Dobson, who was scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achivement Award.

“But today I also want to congratulate Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, who was with me at the beginning of the campaign right at the beginning of the campaign,” Trump said, adding, “So in advance on that recognition, James, and for everything they have both done to keep the ‘Focus on the Family,’ I just want to congratulate you.It’s just so amazing. Thank you.Great. Great people.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “Under Dobson’s tenure, FOTF was known for its strident anti-LGBT rhetoric and positions, as well as for pushing of anti-LGBT pseudoscience andmisrepresentinglegitimate research.”

FOTF supports the widely discredited “conversion therapy.” The practice is considered not only ineffective but in many cases harmful.

Many credible organizations have come out in rejection of the practice, including the American Counseling Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselors Association and the World Psychiatric Association.

In March 2016 the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) released”WPA Position Statement on Gender Identity and Same-Sex Orientation, Attraction, and Behaviours,”which says, in part:

“There is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to ‘treat’ something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical.”

Seven states (California, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont) and D.C. already have bans on conversion therapy.

In 2015, ahead of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, Dobson said legalizing gay marriage would signal “the fall of Western civilization itself.”

“I do not recall a time when the institutions of marriage and the family have faced such peril, or when the forces arrayed against them were more formidable or determined,” he wrote. “Barring a miracle, the family that has existed since antiquity will likely crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself.”

In 2008 Dobson came down hard on a proposed Colorado bill that would allow transgender people to use the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

In a statement Dobson said, “Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence.”

The Road to Majority event also listed Vice President Mike Pence as a “keynote speaker and guest of honor.”

Pence has long been an anti-LGBT figure, notably drawing criticism while serving as Indiana governor and signing a religious freedom bill that largely discriminated against LGBT people. Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), in 2015. The law allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of religious freedom. After pressure from big businesses that refused to do business in Indiana due to the bill’s discriminatory nature (includingEli Lilly and Co., No. 16 on the 2017DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversitylist), Pence signed an amendment that said businesses cannot turn people away based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, Pence’s amendment did nothing to protect LGBT people from discrimination that already existed prior to RFRA. Today, Indiana still does not protect LGBT people from discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, hate crimes, public accommodations, school anti-bullying, education and transgender healthcare, according to theHuman Rights Campaign (HRC).

Concerned Women for America (CWA) was one organization that sponsored the event. According to SPLC, “Today, CWA continues to make arguments against homosexuality on the basis of dubious claims. President Wendy Wright said this August that gay activists were using same-sex marriage ‘to indoctrinate children in schools to reject their parents’ values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.'”

CWA also spoke out against the Violence Against Women Act in 2012, Right Wing Watch reported.

“This legislation, which is normally a boondoggle for feminists groups, has become even more political this Congress,” the group said in an email, according to Right Wing Watch. “The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, creates new protections for homosexuals. In order to receive federal grants, domestic violence organizations have to agree to embrace the homosexual agenda.”

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