The National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) has criticised Republican Senator John McCain for endorsing the actions of anti-gay activist Jerry Falwell and for agreeing to keynote the spring graduation of Liberty University, a college controlled by Mr Falwell which routinely expels gay students.

“John McCain has embarked on a dangerous policy of appeasement that coddles the anti-gay base of the Republican Party,” said Eric Stern, NSD executive director. “No Republican can win their party’s presidential nomination without the institutional backing of Republican power-brokers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

“Over the past few months, we have seen John McCain back anti-marriage amendments, stump for anti-gay activists running for elected office and demonstrate his dependence on social conservatives.”

The Lynchburg News Advance broke the news that Republican Senator John McCain will deliver the keynote address at the spring graduation of Liberty University on May 13. The Reverend Jerry Falwell serves as the Chancellor of Liberty, which he founded in Lynchburg in 1971. The school maintains a history of aggressively investigating the sexual orientation of faculty and students, and expelling those who are found to be gay.

The Reverend Jerry Falwell told the News Advance that the Republican senator accepted his invitation after the two smoothed over policy differences during a private meeting in Senator McCain’s Senate office. “I was in Washington with him about three months ago,” Mr Falwell told the paper. “We dealt with every difference we have. There are no deal breakers now. But I told him, ‘You have a lot of fence mending to do.'”

Mr Falwell also indicated that Senator McCain assured him on his commitment to important issues. While not offering an endorsement, he told the paper that Republican Senator John McCain was a candidate that he could support for president in 2008.

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