VIDEO: GOP presidential candidates fundraise for anti-gay groups

(Image: Flickr Creative Commons/Stefano Brivio)

A number of Republican presidential candidates are raising money for family policy councils, state-based religious-right groups affiliated with the Family Research Council, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is an anti-gay hate group.

Many, but not all, of the policy council fundraisers are being held in early primary states. Presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain have all signed on to headline FRC-affiliated fundraisers.

The Florida Family Policy Council announced last week that Bachmann will headline it’s annual fundraising gala at the end of August. The Aug. 27 event, the group’s “6th Annual Policy Awards Dinner,” is billed by the group as the “conservative dinner event of the year,” with a theme of “Igniting a Cultural Transformation.”

The Ignite campaign, which more than a dozen participating family policy councils have refused to discuss openly, is raising millions for the state-based groups as part of a strategy to capitalize on Republican wins in 2010.

In addition to Bachmann, the Florida event will also honor Mike Haridopolos, president of the Florida Senate, and Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon.

The FFPC has been very active in Florida politics and was instrumental in getting an anti-gay marriage amendment passed. “Failing to ban gay marriage in the state constitution could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle,” the group said in 2008.

The group also used an absurd photo depicting the wrong lesbian couple when a judge overturned the state’s ban on adoptions by same-sex couples.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will be on hand for a fundraiser gala benefiting the Family Foundation of Virginia. The theme for the Richmond event is “Our time is now!”

The Family Foundation was instrumental in passing an anti-gay marriage amendment in Virginia in 2006.

The Family Institute of Connecticut is hosting its annual banquet on Sept. 30 and have signed on presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

“Same-sex marriage is being wielded as a weapon to push the gospel out of American society altogether,” Peter Wolfgang, head of FIC, recently said. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut.

Wolfgang’s group has spent considerable time this year opposing rights for transgender people in the state. FIC has hosted rallies against what it calls the “bathroom bill,” a piece of legislation that would ban discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations.

“It takes away parental rights to object to cross-dressing persons — or persons who permanently express characteristics of both sexes — teaching in the classroom,” Wolfgang said.

Wolfgang testified against the bill in March:

Wolfgang’s group lost that battle and the bill was signed into law in July.

Earlier this year, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich headlined a fundraiser for the Minnesota Family Council. Bachmann was also in attendance.

At the Minnesota Family Council event, Gingich was showered with glitter by an activist supportive of LGBT rights. The Minnesota Family Council was successful in getting a measure on the ballot in 2012 to add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.

The Minnesota Family Council has also come under criticism for statements on its website that accuse gays and lesbians of eating feces and engaging in sex with children and animals.

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