Some of the biggest opponents of LGBTQ rights don't want to believe they'll no longer have a White House sympathetic to their bigotry.
Many leaders of the religious right are refusing to accept that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and is the president-elect of the United States.
Over the past few days, a who's who of religious leaders close to Donald Trump, along with the leaders of anti-LGBTQ religious organizations, have claimed that the election isn't truly over or that it has been stolen.
A Biden administration would constitute a problem for these people, who are outspoken opponents of equality for LGBTQ people and have had a friend and ally in Trump.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a group designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, tweeted on Tuesday, "There are a number of steps—under the Constitution, federal, and state law—that still need to occur in the presidential election process."
He shared a link to "Election FAQs" on the Family Research Council website that begins: "While much of the media is acting like Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has already won the election and is starting with that assumption in every piece now being written, that's a faulty assumption. Candidate Biden has not yet been elected president."
In the past few years, Perkins has made transphobic remarks and continued to oppose marriage equality. In 2018, speaking about transgender people, Perkins said: "You say, 'Well, I'm not a male. I'm a female.' I mean, what's to keep you from saying that you're an animal?"
That same year, he said that marriage equality was about "obliterating every moral and cultural boundary humans have ever known."
Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, a nonprofit that requires its employees to agree to an anti-LGBTQ "statement of faith," tweeted on Monday, in a statement drawing attention to the runoff races in Georgia, that the courts will "determine who wins the presidency."
In 2017, in a tweet condemning North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for an executive order on access to public restrooms, Graham warned of "pedophiles & sexually perverted men" using bathrooms designated for women. Last week, Graham spoke of the Obama administration's "gay lesbian agenda" and claimed that the Biden administration would "be looking for businesses and ministries to target and to shut them out of business or even put them in jail."
On Sunday, Paula White-Cain, a televangelist who acts as Trump's spiritual adviser, said Biden has a "demonic agenda."
"He said the first thing he's going to do is refund Planned Parenthood. ... There's multiple lawsuits in action right now ... that process must take place now to preserve the integrity of the election," she told her followers.
She added, "We need to pray over the legal process. We need pray over the judicial process."
In July, White-Cain said during a sermon, "It's not okay to marry the same sex."
Biden's support of the LGBTQ community has evolved from voting for the anti-LGBTQ Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to coming out in favor of marriage equality as vice president in 2012, before President Barack Obama had expressed support for it.
During the Democratic National Convention in August, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, thanked Biden for the "political courage" that he said made his marriage possible and said that the Democratic nominee had "stepped out ahead of his own party."
During the last stretch of the campaign, Biden continued to do interviews with LGBTQ publications and make statements in support of the LGBTQ community. Biden said in October that he would make the Equality Act, a federal bill prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing, public accommodations, and more, a top legislative priority in his first 100 days in office.
In a town hall event that same month, he told the mother of a transgender girl that he would reverse harmful anti-LGBTQ Trump policies and decried the killings of transgender women of color. On Saturday, after the media called the election for the Democratic ticket, Biden made history as the first president-elect to thank transgender voters in a victory speech.
Other conservative religious leaders denounced Biden's win by accepting it but praying that his presidency failed or telling their followers why God allowed him to win.
Their continued insistence on fighting the outcome of the election is not unexpected, given the Trump administration's deference to their views and goals. The administration has attacked LGBTQ rights at every turn, arguing against LGBTQ equality in the courts and proposing rules to roll back Obama-era protections for LGBTQ people.
Dave Daubenmire, a conservative Christian activist who last year railed in homophobic terms about Buttigieg's run for the Democratic presidential nomination, called Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "enemies of the cross" and said he will pray that Biden "fails at what he does."
Chris McDonald, a religious right-wing conspiracy theorist, said that he would not "submit" to a Biden presidency. McDonald has tweeted rants against a supposed "LGBTQ Agenda" in schools, and responded on Twitter to news of an LGBTQ-inclusive reading event with "WTH is wrong with this nation!!!!!!!!!!! FIGHT against this Patriots, FIGHT!"
Richard Land, the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, who has called the affirmation of transgender children "child abuse," said that God may have allowed Trump to lose and that "it could be that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are a judgment of God on the United States."
One notable exception to the pastors and conspiracy theorists refusing to face reality is Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Trump ally who on Wednesday wrote: "When Joe Biden becomes president, we should commend him for the things he does right. We should condemn the things he does wrong. And above all, we must pray fervently for our president."
In an op-ed for Fox News, Jeffress told Christians that God was behind the outcome of the election: "Human governments and rulers change at God's direction and design. Our faith and our salvation lie not in any human ruler, but in the ruler of rulers, the King of kings. We have to remember that even though the occupant of the White House is changing, the One who occupies the throne of Heaven hasn’t changed.
"The fact that God has established authorities means that by obeying the government, we obey God."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.