Bill Donohue

President and CEO, The Catholic League (U.S.)

Said: “No one doubts that there are men who have, and want to, transition to the other sex, and vice versa, but it is not generally understood that transgender persons are a fiction—they do not exist. These people are more properly known as transsexuals—they are attempting to change their sex. I say attempting because they cannot succeed.”

Said of the Pope: “He has said that gay marriage is the work of the devil. He has said that gender ideology – you know, the trans, the trans people? He says that gender ideology is demonic. That is the Pope that I like!”

—Said AIDS is “self-inflicted”: “The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS. The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed).” 

—Claimed same-sex marriage is “one of the most bizarre ideas in human history.”

Equated married equality with Apartheid: “If people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power.” (15:15–15:36)

—Champion of the organization Courage, which tells gay people that chastity is their only option for a faithful life: “The Catholic outreach program for homosexuals, Courage, has done magnificent work seeking to help homosexuals abide by the Church’s teachings on sexuality…. Courage is not some renegade Catholic group like Dignity: it is an apostolate of the Catholic Church that has won the praise of Pope John Paul II and many others. Its goal is to ‘help persons with same-sex attractions develop a life of interior chastity in union with Christ.’”

—Said “the only legitimate national gay Catholic group is Courage.“ Courage is a group that demands gay people choose a celibate life.

—Despite the existence of gay-affirming faith groups, said: “Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady…. How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?” 

—Claimed “two men cannot get married. They cannot form a family. It’s a fiction,” and that gay people have been “disqualified” from forming a family “by nature and nature’s God.” (48:0049:00)

Claims “it has been empirically obvious that those religions which have experienced the greatest proportionate decline in membership are generally the most progressive or liberal in their teachings…. those religions whose teachings on abortion and marriage approximate the views of the New York Times and NPR are in free fall.”

Said: “The idea of two men marrying is so bizarre and so anti-marriage that it is a great tribute to the American people that they continue to respect the right of gays to participate in American life without harassment while simultaneously rejecting the extremist gay agenda.” 

—Despite worldwide trends and diversity of portrait, says marriage equality is province of “white liberals”: “This is such a bizarre idea, you go to Latin America or Africa or to the Middle East or to Russia or Asia and you ask those people about two men getting married and they’ll look at you like you’re nuts—this is the white man’s burden. This is the white, upper-class, well-educated liberals who decide this is a good idea.” (2:36–3:00)

—Authored a booklet geared at keeping gays out of the Boy Scouts.

—Likened the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage act to an “asocial vision” where “all we have are unhinged individuals, men and women who go about their business willy-nilly, creating and recreating their world, without any collective end.

—In a mid-1990s debate, suggested AIDS was punishment for going against the “natural order” and likened those seeking a cure to AIDS to smokers seeking a cure for lung cancer. (3:505:10)


The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.