Earlier this week, we here at People For the American Way called on the Republican presidential hopefuls who are scheduled to speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit to denounce the unmitigated bigotry of the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer.
We singled out Mitt Romney because he is scheduled to speak directly before Fischer on Saturday and Fischer has recently begun asserting that the First Amendment does not apply to any “non-Christian religions,” including Mormonism.
Given that Romney is going to be directly preceding Fischer on stage at the Values Voter Summit, you’d think that he might have something to say regarding Fischer’s extreme views – but today the New York Times’ Erik Eckholm took note of our effort and reached out to the Romney campaign for a statement and, not surprisingly, the Romney camp has so far refused to comment:
The liberal advocacy group People for the American Way has called on the presidential candidates, and especially Mr. Romney because he will share a stage, to publicly disassociate themselves from Mr. Fischer and what it called, in a statement on Wednesday, his “unmitigated bigotry.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has made similar appeals to the candidates.
Mr. Fischer has stood out for his harsh statements on his daily radio show, likening gay rights advocates to domestic terrorists, arguing that gay men and lesbians should be barred from public office and repeating the far-fetched theory that homosexuals built the Nazi Party. He has said that American Muslims should be banned from the military and that Mormons, let alone Muslims, should not enjoy First Amendment protections because these are reserved for true Christians.
“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium,” said Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way.
The Romney campaign did not immediately comment on the call to distance the candidate from Mr. Fischer.