The Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock says of same-sex marriage, 'That's against stuff I believe in.'
On Tuesday, Georgia Republicans selected former pro football player and unsuccessful "Celebrity Apprentice" candidate Herschel Walker to be their Senate nominee — despite his long record of lies, multiple allegations against him of domestic abuse, and his anti-LGBTQ views.
Walker will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign as a "strong ally of the LGBTQ+ movement" and is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, a bill that would explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Calling himself a defender of "conservative family values," Walker has not backed LGBTQ rights legislation and has repeatedly attacked the transgender community. His campaign website calls him a "compassionate conservative who is pro-life and pro-family."
Transgender and nonbinary people don't really exist
Though an estimated 1.4 million American adults identify as transgender and 1.2 million as nonbinary, Walker cites his religious beliefs to insist such people do not exist.
"It is sad that right now we're trying to determine what is a woman," he said in an April 11 appearance on the right-wing network Newsmax. "It's written in the Bible what's a woman is [sic]. You have two: There's a man and a woman, and that's it."
Transgender girls are really men and should be barred from school sports
Walker has been a vocal opponent of letting transgender kids participate in interscholastic sports competitions in teams based on their gender identity.
In March, he misgendered Lia Thomas, a transgender college student-athlete, after she won a NCAA swimming competition. "This is totally unfair," he tweeted. "Allowing men to compete in women's sports sets back the women's rights movement 100 years."
During a news conference in March at which Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced a "Defend Title IX" initiative to keep transgender kids out of sports, Walker appeared via video link and said, with nothing to back up the false claim, "At my age today, now I could classify myself as a woman and go and compete in the Olympics, and I probably could win a gold medal in certain events in the Olympics today saying I'm a woman."
At an April Rally with former President Donald Trump, who rolled back many LGBTQ rights during his one term in office, Walker told an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, "I'm going to give you a sound bite real quick. We need to get men out of women's sports."
"I don't think men should be competing in women's sports," he said in the Newsmax appearance on April 11. "I don't know who decided to let that happen. And now they're threatening if you speak out against it, but Herschel Walker gonna speak out against it."
States should determine the legality of same-sex marriages
On Saturday, Walker was asked at a rally, "Can we stop the gay weddings?" He answered: "Gay weddings is something that you have to work with the Congress. I think that each state gotta determine that. Not yet, but that's against stuff I believe in. So that each state can just stop all of that."
The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country under the U.S. Constitution.
The Walker campaign quickly tried to clean up his comments. A spokesperson told the Journal-Constitution, "Herschel understands that the Supreme Court has ruled on same-sex marriage and respects the authority of the courts. He didn't mean to imply anything else."
Ties to an anti-LGBTQ conversion therapist
Walker has close ties to Jerry Mungadze, a prominent anti-LGBTQ doctor who falsely claims to be able to make gay people straight by "healing" their brains. Mungadze, who told the American Independent Foundation last year that he had recently had dinner with Walker at his home, has infamously claimed that he can tell if someone is gay or "demonized" by giving them a box of crayons and seeing which colors they use.
Silence on key issues
Walker's campaign website does not include any positions on LGBTQ rights legislation.
The American Independent Foundation reached out to his campaign to ask whether he supports the Equality Act, Trump's ban on transgender military service, and Republican "Don't say gay" bills that prevent school teachers and students from acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ people.
Campaign communications director Mallory Blount responded by sending the same statement about same-sex marriage that the campaign gave to the Journal-Constitution over the weekend.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.