Robert Destro

Robert Destro

Former Asst. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

Appeared on a “religious freedom” panel for the aggressively anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.

On transgender people: “So the question becomes: What exactly is the obligation of someone who doesn’t buy it?” said Destro, speaking of transgenderism. “Do people have to treat it as a norm and treat people according to their gender identity? Then you run into serious questions, like [about who can use or join] locker rooms and sports teams. The same thing has happened in the military, with the whole idea of the government having to pay for [sex-change] surgery, and there is some debate [over] whether or not that surgery is even ethical.”

His personal objection to homosexual “behavior”: “In sum, the first big battles are going to be within the Church itself over the meaning of the Catechism’s teachings about chastity and homosexuality (¶¶ 2357-2359). As I read that text, it says: “Love the sinner, but the Church cannot accept or affirm the behavior.”

Insisted that marriage limited to a man and woman is the “very institution on which the entire natural, legal and social order depends.”

Deliberately misgenders Cailtlyn Jenner: “Consider the Bruce (Caitlyn) [sic] Jenner case. Legally, your “name” is “what you call yourself,” so Jenner certainly had the legal right to change his name from Bruce to Caitlyn and to ask the state and his fellow citizens to respect that choice.  But that’s not what the debate was about. People change their names every day. Jenner also has the right, as a human person, to demand that the state provide him “equal protection of the laws” and that his fellow citizens respect his rights to life, liberty and property. But what about his right to define his own “identity”? Does Jenner have the right to demand that those who comment on his case use the pronoun “she,” or to affirm the proposition that his choice to present himself as a woman requires others to accept and affirm publicly that he is one? If so, it will not be enough for those who have contrary views simply to keep quiet. These are the free speech and religious freedom battles of the future.”

Framed employment nondiscrimination rights for LGBTQ people as an end to rational discussion: “It raises other questions like: Do you have to cover in vitro fertilization for same-sex couples so they can have kids? Do you have to cover a sex-change operation?” Destro said. “Once it becomes an issue of ‘These are my rights,’ then rational discussion goes out the window.”

—Created a project to resist marriage equality because, he insisted, “This is a battle for one of the most important cultural symbols: The definition of a family.”

Signed onto a petition to Congress that called on Congress to pass a federal amendment banning marriage equality.

Serves on the Board of Advisors Bill Donohue’s viciously anti-LGBTQ Catholic League.

Was board member of the anti-equality Marriage Law Foundation, alongside notorious anti-LGBTQ activist Maggie Gallagher.

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.