GOP congressman thanks hate group for endorsing his campaign

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The Family Research Council is known for its repeated attacks on the LGBTQ community.

Republican Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte on Wednesday praised an anti-LGBTQ hate group, thanking the organization for endorsing his campaign for governor.

"I'm thankful for the support of Family Research Council Action and all the work they do to protect our values of faith, family, and freedom!" he wrote on Facebook, alongside a quote from the group's president Tony Perkins, calling Gianforte "the leader that Montana needs."

FRC Action is the political arm of Perkins' Family Research Council. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Family Research Council a hate group, based on its "claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science."

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"Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects," FRC says on its website. "We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools."

Perkins falsely claimed in 2010 that there is an "overlap" between pedophilia and homosexuality. "While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two," he said. "… It is a homosexual problem."

Experts have said that claim is false and that there is no scientific evidence that supports such theories.

FRC Action also published a blog post in February attacking "Sesame Street" for "inviting drag queen Billy Porter on to teach kids the virtues of gender confusion." This, it claimed, made "the best case for defunding PBS yet."

In a press release that same month, FRC Action PAC praised Gianforte for his record of voting against abortion rights and LGBTQ equality. According to its most recent scorecard, Gianforte votes in line with the group 95% of the time.

Gianforte is currently running for his party's nomination to replace term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock. The vote-by-mail primary is set to take place on June 2.

The Montana congressman is perhaps best known for a May 2017 incident in which he violently assaulted a reporter from the Guardian, breaking his glasses and sending him to the hospital, on the eve of his special election victory.

After initially lying about the incident, Gianforte took responsibility in a June 2017 apology issued as part of an agreement to avoid a civil lawsuit. He also pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management, and was forced to pay a $385 fine.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.