Candidates seeking the Republican nomination to become US President have been attacked for attending an event by a man calling for the government to execute gays.

The conference, which took place last week, was organised by Kevin Swanson, and was attended by Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal.

Mike Huckabee1

Speaking at the National Religious Liberties Conference, Swanson said it would be better for parents to drown their children, instead of letting them read Harry Potter, and watch How to Train Your Dragon.

Ted Cruz4

The three were defended by Religious Right radio host Michael Brown, who wrote a column suggesting that they didn’t know Swanson’s views.

The National Liberties Conference, was closed by Swanson, who said the government should execute gay people, but of course, only after they have been given time to repent.

Two other speakers at the conference also called on the government to treat gay people as such, handing out leaflets calling for executions for gays.

Rachel Maddow covered the event, questioning why the three candidates attended the conference.

In response, Brown wrote that they must not have known.

He wrote: “The presidential candidates who attended this rally were there to identify with the cause of religious liberty, and they too would categorically reject some of the words spoken at the conference (as well as reject some of the positions advocated by at least one of the speakers outside of the conference).”

Bobby Jindal

However some have pointed out that it would not have been difficult for the candidates to find out about Swanson’s views ahead of the conference.

RightWingWatch points out that various “outlets have … extensively reported on Swanson’s record before the event took place.”

PinkNews has covered stories about Swanson for several years, including when he said supporting gay people was like axe murder, and blamed “homosexual activity” for flooding in Colorado.