In March, the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group, plans to hold a “DC Christian Heritage Tour and Summit” and will hold some events at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
According to its website, from March 28 to 31, visitors can “enjoy five-star accommodations” at Trump International Hotel. The group will get dinner at the hotel on Saturday and will hold their brunch and worship service there on Sunday.
“There will be opportunities to discuss issues and policy while receiving up-to-the-minute briefings from national leaders, members of Congress and, pending approval, a White House briefing,” wrote Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC).
The FRC supports conversion therapy, a harmful practice that falsely claims to change someone’s sexuality and gender. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has said these “therapies” lack scientific credibility and increase the “risk of causing or exacerbating mental health conditions.”
In a recent email to supporters, Perkins wrote , “We must resist politicians who advocate for adults and/or children to be prohibited from seeking psychological and spiritual help when they suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.”
Perkins has also said that Trump’s immigration policy reflects Christian values. He told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour this week that Trump’s immigration policies are biblical and praised “assimilation.”
“Scripture does speak to the poor, it does speak to the immigrant, but it also speaks to the rule of law,” he said. “In fact, in almost every instance you read in the Old Testament about taking in the poor, immigrant and stranger, it is then that they have an obligation to operate by your customs and laws. It’s the assimilation, it’s the rule of law.”
FRC has called gay men child molesters, and described same-sex relationships as “more violent.”
The group is close with the Trump administration. Trump was the first sitting president to speak at the Voter Values Summit, hosted by the FRC. The Education Department included FRC in a conference on family engagement last year, which caused the National Parent Teacher Association to pull out of the event. The conference was about engaging fathers in their children’s education.
During 2017’s LGBTQ Pride Month, which the White House did not recognize, the president went to the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an anti-LGBTQ group that campaigned against letting gay people be Boy Scouts of America leaders. Trump said to Ralph Reed, founder and chair of the FFC, “In just a few years, you’ve helped turn a small organization into a really nationwide, beautiful movement.”
In 2017, the Justice Department also held listening sessions on its new guidance on “religious freedom” that essentially would make it easier for folks to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It included the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), whose affiliated attorneys have called LGBTQ rights a “degradation of our human dignity.” A “Religious Liberty Summit” at Justice Department headquarters was backed by the ADF this year. Although it’s unclear whether the Family Research Council was involved in those listening sessions, it announced a “a web hotline for those who believe that they have suffered discrimination at the hands of federal agencies based on their religious beliefs or practices” on the same day the DOJ announced the guidance.
Trump has tapped a number of people for high profile appointments who have a history of anti-LGBTQ comments. As a result, the administration has already pushed a number of policies that discriminate against and erase LGBTQ people, including rescinding Education Department guidance meant to protect trans students from discrimination and a draft memo reported on by the New York Times that’s purpose is to erase the existence of trans people under the law.