Yesterday several organizations, including GLAAD, spoke out against participation in the Values Voter Summit, citing the violently anti-LGBT work of two of its organizers: the Family Research Council and American Family Association.
In response to subsequent media attention, the Romney campaign shared with BuzzFeed that there were no plans for Ann Romney to attend or address the conference. Prior to this announcement, Right Wing Watch posted screen captures of more than one instance where Ann Romney was listed on official schedules as slated to speak after House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan on September 14. FRC has since told BuzzFeed that the people listed on the online program were those both invited and confirmed.
Today, Mitt Romney's photo remains on the Values Voters Summit site as an invited guest, but his wife's photo has been removed.
Rep. Paul Ryan is still listed as a confirmed speaker. He is slated to speak during a session on Friday morning which includes actor Kirk Cameron, who earlier this year shared his thoughts on gay Americans: "I think that it's - it's - it's unnatural. I think that it's - it's detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."
The coalition of human rights groups, including GLAAD, continues to call on all public officials not to attend the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. The FRC, who hosts the annual event, has spread demonizing lies about the LGBT community, and one of its co-sponsors, the American Family Association, has linked LGBT people to the Holocaust.
GLAAD joined organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF); the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF); the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); the National Council of La Raza (NCLR); and Faithful America in signing a letter which was mailed this week to all participating speakers.
"The FRC is far outside the mainstream," the letter states. "It has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization – portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation. One of its officials has gone so far as to say that homosexuality should be criminalized."
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick stated:
When reporting on this summit for so-called "Values Voters," media have an obligation to put the event into context--and that includes the violently anti-LGBT rhetoric of its organizers, including FRC's Tony Perkins and AFA's Bryan Fischer. By speaking at the conference and aligning with these organizers, elected officials are sending a dangerous message to the American people that they support their outdated and false views. It appears that the only credentials Perkins and Fischer have to speak about LGBT issues is that they hate LGBT people, but hate is not an American value.
To have Ann Romney address the conference would suggest that the Romney family is aligning itself with an extreme anti-LGBT contingent in America.
Earlier this year GLAAD launched the Commentator Accountability Project, which puts critical information about frequent anti-LGBT media interviewees into the hands of newsrooms, editors, hosts and reporters. The Value Voters Summit lists eight people who have been profiled in CAP as speakers.