Trump brings on anti-gay former rival Santorum as an advisor

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Donald Trump reinforced his anti-LGBTQ positions yesterday with the creation of a Catholic Advisory Group including anti-gay, two-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Santorum has previously accused the LGBTQ community of declaring a “jihad” against him and has compared same-sex relationships to bestiality, incest, and pedophilia.

The group includes several other anti-LGBTQ figures including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and four sitting members of Congress: Reps. Andrew Harris (R-Md.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).

The announcement came with a statement from the Trump campaign on “Issues of Importance to Catholics,” the Washington Blade reports, which didn’t specifically address LGBTQ issues but made multiple veiled references in its emphatic support of “religious liberty.”

“Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Trump said. “It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy. If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”

Those “beliefs” Trump said he will protect included protecting people of faith from “bullying,” preventing public funding of abortion, and appointing Supreme Court justices in the image of the late Antonin Scalia.

Catholic Advisory Committee member Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, echoed that the idea that people of faith are under attack and need their religious liberties defended.

“America is on the wrong track,” he said in the statement, “as economic opportunities wane and families face a coarsened society where people of faith feel bullied, disrespected and marginalized.”

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