Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, spoke at a gala Saturday held by the virulently anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice Family Foundation, Blue Virginia first reported. And on Friday, the Republican hopeful will speak at the Pray Vote Stand Summit hosted by the Family Research Council, another anti-LGBTQ organization so extreme the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed it a hate group.
Youngkin appeared at the Family Foundation event alongside GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Winsome Sears and the hard-right Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, who posted to Facebook a photo of herself and Youngkin in attendance. Among the sponsors of the event was Alliance Defending Freedom, a multimillion dollar litigation-and-legislation shop for the religious right that has attacked a women’s right to choose and LGBTQ rights.
Like ADF and FRC, the Family Foundation has fought against same-sex marriage for years, suggesting after Virginia’s 2014 marriage equality decision that allowing same-sex couples to marry would harm children. The group has also supported so-called “conversion therapy,” harmful practices that seek to change a person’s sexual or gender orientation. A blog post from June declares, “OBJECT TO THE LGBTQ+ AGENDA, GO TO THE CLOSET!” while encouraging readers to vote for executive and legislative candidates who would block Virginia schools from teaching more comprehensive sex-ed and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. A promotional video on the group’s website showcases the hostility toward the LGBTQ community that the group fosters; a pastor of the Smith Memorial Baptist church said it shocked and angered him when he was notified of an “LBGTQ”—his spelling, not ours—“person coming to speak to all of our elementary schools.”
At the heart of the Family Foundation’s mission is to instill government policy with its fundamentalist views.
“We believe there is no square inch in all the universe over which God has not claimed ‘Mine’, and that includes the arenas of civil government and public policy where we spend much of our time,” the Family Foundation’s website reads. “We advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level.” Those “biblical principles” in The Family Foundation’s reading include the following:
1) Human life, from fertilization until natural death, is sacred, and the right to life is fundamental to all other rights.
2) Marriage, as a lifelong union between one man and one woman, is an institution of God and a foundation for civil society.
3) Gender, beautifully expressed as either male or female according to God’s immutable design, is an important biological and social reality that must be respected by all.
Youngkin has tried to portray his candidacy as moderate, but his courting of groups like Family Foundation and Family Research Council in addition to his refusal to say whether he supports marriage equality suggest that his candidacy is more extreme than he would let on.
Indeed, his political ally Chase—a Trumpian Republican who called on former President Donald Trump to declare martial law, hobnobbed with the Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes before the insurrection, and attended the so-called Stop the Steal rally held on Jan. 6 before praising the insurrectionists as “Patriots who love their country”—has been campaigning for Youngkin since she failed to win the GOP nomination for governor.
Pushing Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, Chase created a national “election integrity caucus” of state legislators to push for “forensic audits” of election results in all 50 states, following the model of the notorious “audit” carried out in Arizona. Just days before Chase joined Youngkin at the Family Foundation event, Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery reported that Chase joined the religious-right group Intercessors for America to encourage its followers to elect Youngkin and continue to push the big lie that the election was stolen: “the best number one solution for Virginia to have better election integrity is to elect a Republican governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and replace all the members in the House so that we have a Republican majority.”