Leaked documents indicate Donald Trump is considering for his transition team candidates with histories of anti-LGBTQ animus, including Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, a hate group.
“Ken Blackwell is a man who has spent his entire career going after LGBTQ Americans. Blackwell’s leadership role in President-elect Trump’s transition team should be a major wake up call for anybody who ever had any doubt that LGBTQ people are at risk,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. HRC is the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group.
Winterhof continued, “Ed Meese and Kay Cole James, who are also reported to have key roles, have been vocal opponents of equality and other issues we care deeply about. The people President-elect Trump picks to serve in his administration will have a huge impact on the policies he pursues. We should all be alarmed at who he’s appointing to key posts on his transition team.”
Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, which was named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also serves on the board of directors of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
In addition to supporting measures to ban marriage equality, Blackwell believes being LGBTQ is a choice, saying, “The reality is, again…that I think we make choices all the time. And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one’s genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think that they can be changed? Yes.”
Meese, a former attorney general, is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, an organization that asserts that laws protecting LGBTQ people are not “necessary” and “weaken the marriage culture and the freedom of citizens and their associations to affirm their religious or moral convictions…”
According to NBC, the conservative Heritage Foundation is helping vet candidates for Trump’s cabinet.
Meese supported Indiana’s religious refusal law enacted under Vice President-elect Mike Pence, saying it “has nothing to do with refusing to serve gay people.” Meese has also said that marriage equality “shows how the culture has deteriorated over two centuries.”
Kay Cole James, president and founder of the Gloucester Institute, is a former senior vice president of the Family Research Council and a former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
She worked in the administrations of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
The Advocate reported that in her book Transforming America from the Inside Out, James compared LGBTQ people to drug addicts, alcoholics, adulterers or “anything else sinful.”