Trump Campaign's New Hire Has Long History of Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday January 14, 2020

It is perhaps no surprise that Donald Trump's election campaign has hired a senior legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, who has a past with Fox News. Just as unsurprising is Ellis' long history of anti-LGBTQ commentary.

NBC News reported that Ellis' social media history is fraught with vitriol against sexual minorities, including a claim that the 2016 designation of national monument for the Stonewall Inn - ground zero for the modern civil rights movement, when, in June of 1969, gay and trans patrons of the bar staged an uprising in response to a police raid - was a "celebration of sin."

Ellis has hammered on that rhetorical theme of gay people being "sinful"
(unlike heterosexual people, perhaps?) on other occasions, NBC News reported, as in a 2017 Facebook post in which she declared:

"Whether or not homosexuals are nice, wise people, or misunderstood, or mean is not the issue — God's Truth is the issue.

"Sin is always sin, even if nice people commit it."

At another point, the NBC report noted, Ellis' shopworn anti-gay talking points veered from "sin" into another familiar homophobic narrative: The insinuation that GBTQ representation constitutes some sort of all-eclipsing takeover, as if showing a gay, lesbian, or transgender individual necessarily meant erasing a heterosexual or cisgender person.

"This overwhelming need to have LGBT 'representation' everywhere shows the falsity of their cry for equality. They want absolute subjugation of culture."

Of course, what LGBTQ people actually want is full equality under the law, and with it full participation in civil society. Ellis, however, pointed at an LGBTQ town hall last year with accusations of "hate," inexplicably claiming that the town hall was, in some mysterious way, "attacking the constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion."

Perhaps by way of explaining that non sequitur, Ellis posted a snippet of one of her Fox News appearances, in which she once again purported to speak for LGBTQ Americans, saying that they were "trying to target the church and the family" -- though it was unclear from the NBC report exactly what purpose Ellis though non-heterosexuals were targeting those things for.

LGBTQs, as a matter of historical record, have been targeted for specific and quite real constraints on their rights and liberties, from a wave of ballot box initiatives in the 1990s and 2000s seeking to curtail their legal rights by exempting them from legal marriage to the Trump administration's various attacks on LGBTQ rights and protections in the three years since Trump took office.

According to the report, Trump took Ellis' Fox News appearances as a sort of resume, hiring her on based on those appearances.

Axios reports that Trump began asking about Ellis "about a month ago."

Ellis, Axios reported,

...spent a year as the head of the Dobson Policy Center, which is part of the James Dobson Family Institute. Dobson is a prominent evangelical Christian leader, and Ellis has written about the intersection of faith and politics.

When an evangelical publication came out with an editorial last month decrying Trump's failures of moral leadership, Ellis blasted the magazine, the Associated Press reported.

The editorial appeared in "Christianity Today,": and was written by Editor in Chief Mark Galli, who - not unlike many non-believers - questioned the staunch support that Trump has been given by a certain stripe of self-described Christians.

Galli warned that the uncritical, unquestioning alliance of evangelicals with Trump could backfire, writing:

Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump's immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.

Ellis promptly took to Twitter to excoriate the editorial, the AP noted. Tweeted Ellis:

"Pious 'Never Trumpers' who feel morally justified about this #impeachmentcircus are as morally reprehensible as Democrats."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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