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‘Gaslighting’ gay ex-Trump official joins ‘religious right powerhouse’ that fought to keep homosexuality illegal in the US

Lily Wakefield September 2, 2020
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence and current Republican National Committee senior advisor Richard Grenell

Former Acting Director of National Intelligence and current Republican National Committee senior advisor Richard Grenell. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Richard Grenell, the gay Republican who thinks Donald Trump is America’s “most pro-gay president”, has joined an anti-LGBT+ group that defended US ban on gay sex.

Grenell, who served previously as Trump’s interim director of national intelligence, has joined the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) as a special advisor for national security and foreign policy.

Described as “one of the main US religious-right legal powerhouses” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLJ is a religious conservative legal organisation founded in 1990 by televangelist Pat Robertson, with a long history of fighting against LGBT+ rights and equality, and of spreading harmful homophobic and transphobic rhetoric.

Despite this, Grenell insists that the ACLJ “isn’t anti-gay” and that those who think so are “intolerant”.

The ACLJ helped draft the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a law which explicitly defined marriage as the “legal union of one man and one woman” but was later struck down by the US Supreme Court.

In 2003, it filed amicus briefs defending US sodomy laws in the Lawrence v Texas Supreme Court case.

In its brief, organisation argued there is “an extensively documented health risk of same-sex sodomy” and said that a ban on gay sex “permissibly furthers public morality”. Ultimately it was unsuccessful, as the court ruled prohibiting private same-sex activity between consenting adults was unconstitutional.

The legal organisation is now led by father-son team Jay Sekulow and Jordan Sekulow, and under their leadership the ACLJ has doggedly worked through their offices in Zimbabwe and Kenya to make sure that “perversions” such as being gay are criminalised in African countries, according to Political Research Associates.

Robertson, the founder of the ACLJ who remains chairman of its board, has claimed that the US will face a nuclear attack if it passes an LGBT+ anti-discrimination law and insisted that gay people are willing to destroy society to protect “their weird way of doing sex”. He has also suggested LGBT+ inclusion in the Boy Scouts of America would open the organisation to “predators” and “pedophiles” and said that same-sex weddings were to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Grenell nicknamed “Gaslight Grenell” by Human Rights Campaign.

On August 20, Richard Grenell starred in a video released by the Log Cabin Republicans, the largest group of LGBT+ conservatives in the US, which claimed that Donald Trump was the “most pro-gay president in American history”.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has nicknamed the the former-Trump official “Gaslight Grenell” over the “absurd” claim and his latest actions.

HRC president Alphonso David said in a statement: “‘Gaslight Grenell’ strikes again.

“From ridiculously and errantly calling Trump the ‘most pro-gay president in history’ to now joining the anti-LGBTQ American Center for Law and Justice, it’s clear ‘Gaslight Grenell’ has absolutely no backbone and no regard for the rights of LGBTQ people.”

Alphonso added: “‘Gaslight Grenell’ has no basis in reality to claim himself a ‘spokesperson’ for any segment of our community.

“Voters will not be fooled by his role as a Trump messenger. ‘Gaslight Grenell’, like Trump, is divorced from reality. It’s no wonder they seem to get along so well.”

More: ACLJ, American Center for Law and Justice, Defense of Marriage Act, Donald Trump, log cabin republicans, pat robertson, richard grenell, sodomy, televangelist

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