Both Members of GOP Ticket to Speak Friday at Annual Values Voter Summit
Both GOP nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will speak at Friday's 11th annual Values Voter Summit â€” the first time both members of a major party presidential ticket have addressed the confab hosted by the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group.
Trump and Pence will share the stage with several activists who've called for the criminalization of homosexuality, along with others who've falsely linked it to pedophilia or bestiality and denigrated LGBT service members, Right Wing Watch reports. Other bastions of anti-equality infamy will speak as well.
Among the confirmed guest speakers are Michele Bachmann, the Benham Brothers, Kirk Cameron, James Dobson, Reince Priebus, Rick Santorum, Todd Starnes, and members of "Duck Dynasty."
It marks the second consecutive month in which Trump, who's claimed he would be better on LGBT rights than Democrat Hillary Clinton, has appeared at an anti-LGBT event. On Aug. 12, the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, Trump spoke at a gathering for evangelical pastors in Orlando.
Trump's choice to attend the event makes him the first presidential nominee of either party to do so in person. In previous presidential election years, only one candidate - Mitt Romney - gave the far right wing gathering any credibility, and only by sending in a pre-recorded video.
Meanwhile, one day after Trump and Pence address the Values Voter Summit, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will address the National Dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT advocacy group. Both events are in Washington, D.C.
Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson writes, "the Republican presidential nominee will demonstrate his commitment to social conservatives seeking to undermine LGBT rights while the Democratic vice presidential nominee will address a largely LGBT audience seeking to advance and protect those rights."
Trump recently gave $100,000 to the church led by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. In a statement on Saturday's summit, Perkins said "there is a growing realization among voters that the future of our freedoms and even our identity as Americans hangs in the balance" in the November election.
"I am certain that Donald Trump and Mike Pence will underscore not only the importance of this election, but the important role conservative Christian voters have in influencing the outcome of the November election," Perkins said. "The fact that this is the first GOP presidential ticket to attend since the Summit's inception in 2006, demonstrates an understanding of the importance of values voters in the general election and a desire to work with them in addressing the critical issues facing our nation."
This article has been updated to note Trump's address is now Friday.
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