The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday, Nov. 10, released a statement expressing concern over reports that President-elect Donald Trump is considering a transition team packed with virulent foes of LGBT equality.
Among those reported to be under consideration is Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. 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 has said he believes being LGBTQ is a choice: “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.”
JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at HRC, warned that Blackwell’s leadership role in Trump’s transition team “should be a major wake up call for anybody who ever had any doubt that LGBTQ people are at risk.
Winterhof said that Ed Meese and Kay Cole James are also reported to have key roles on the transition team, and they, too, “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.”
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 … .”
Meese supported Indiana’s religious refusal law, which was passed under then governor, no 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.”
James is president and founder of the Gloucester Institute. She is also 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 both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. She has reportedly compared LGBTQ people to drug addicts, alcoholics, adulterers or “anything else sinful.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2016.