The Slatest

Trump to Join Titans of Homophobia at Orlando Conference

Donald Trump speaks at St. Anselm College on June 13 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Less than two months after a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando left 49 people dead, Donald Trump will be visiting the city to take part in a private conference featuring some of the most outspokenly homophobic anti-LGBTQ activists in the country.

On Thursday, 700 conservative pastors and their spouses will gather in Orlando, Florida, to attend the “Rediscovering God in America” event and Trump will be there to speak and take questions from the crowd, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The conference is being put on by American Renewal Project founder David Lane, a vocal critic of LGBTQ rights, and features speakers who have in the past taken anti-gay hate speech to remarkable extremes.

Lane endorsed Trump in May, saying that he “can be one of the top four presidents in American history.” He told Bloomberg that Trump’s proposal to change an IRS rule that prevents churches from using tax-exempt money to promote political candidates was a good “first step” in his appeal to religious conservatives, before pivoting to what he really hopes to see from Trump: a pushback against LGBTQ rights.

“Homosexual totalitarianism is out of the closet, the militants are trying to herd Christians there,” Lane said.

Right Wing Watch chronicled some of Lane’s previous anti-gay comments:

Lane, a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, has said that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2012 would cause “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa” as a sign of God’s judgment and that the “pagan onslaught” of the LGBT rights movement will lead to the destruction of America.

In his endorsement of Trump, Lane said Hillary Clinton would set the country back “for a century” by “codifying transgender bathrooms rights [that] will only be the beginning of nine unelected and unaccountable justices imposing a godless agenda, tearing America apart brick-by-brick.”

Right Wing Watch has reported that he “believes the Bible should be made a primary textbook in public schools.” In 2013, he called for Christians to “risk martyrdom” in order to be “the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see …”

As Right Wing Watch notes, other speakers at the event have said some similarly awful things and some worse ones. Here are some highlights from scheduled speakers:

  • Liberty Counsel Action’s Mat Staver called memorials for the victims of the Orlando shooting “homosexual love fests,” praised countries that outlaw homosexuality, warned that gay rights might lead to “forced homosexuality” and “another civil war,” and compared gay people to child abusers and terrorists.
  • Republican Party activist David Barton has said that God won’t allow a cure for HIV/AIDS to be discovered because the disease is a “the penalty due” gay men.
  • Conservative Bill Federer has called adoption of equal rights for gay people in the United States as a “transition phase” toward the country being “taken over by Islam.”
  • Erstwhile Trump Republican presidential primary rival and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has advocated for banning LGBT people from adopting children, calling such adoptions a “social experiment.”

Equality Florida is planning to protest the event, Right Wing Watch reports.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.