A Fox News Radio Anchor Is Headlining A Hate Group's Anti-LGBTQ Briefing

Fox News radio host Todd Starnes is headlining a special “pastors’ briefing” at the Texas Capitol on March 6 and 7 whose sponsors include the anti-LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council (FRC). Other speakers at the event include FRC’s president and vice president of church ministries and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are also listed as unconfirmed speakers at the event, whose attendees will also go to a March 7 public hearing on the anti-transgender Senate Bill 6 (SB 6).

Fox News Radio Host Todd Starnes Is Headlining The “Pastors’ Briefing At The Capitol”

“Pastors’ Briefing At The Capitol” Will Focus On “Legislation Protecting Women And Children, Religious Freedom And The Future Of Our State.” The “special briefing for pastors” at the Texas Capitol on March 6 and 7 will reportedly focus on pending bills “protecting women and children” as well as “religious freedom.” Event attendees will “hear from special guests” including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and “get to talk with ... legislators and participate in the hearing.” The “hearing” the event refers to is likely the March 7 public hearing on Senate Bill 6, also known as the “Texas Privacy Act” or the anti-LGBTQ “bathroom bill.” [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; Texas Legislature Online, accessed 3/6/17]

Fox News Radio Host Todd Starnes Is One Of The Special Briefing’s Six Confirmed Speakers. Fox News radio host Todd Starnes is listed as one of the six confirmed speakers for the pastor’s briefing. Starnes is the host of the radio show Fox News & Commentary and frequently appears on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; toddstarnes.com, accessed 3/3/17; radio.foxnews.com, accessed 3/6/17]

Starnes Has A Long History Of Attacking LGBTQ People And Peddling Extreme Lies About Reproductive Rights. Starnes has long served as Fox’s mouthpiece for anti-LGBTQ hate groups, often uncritically parroting bogus anti-gay horror stories designed to gin up right-wing fears about the LGBTQ community and its alleged agenda. Most recently, Starnes attacked a same-sex kiss on a Disney XD cartoon as part of the “LGBTQIA agenda” to “indoctrinate American children,” and predicted that future Disney films might feature “Tinker Bell’s torrid lesbian affair with Snow White.” Previously, Starnes has also peddled extreme lies about Planned Parenthood -- in 2015 on Fox Business Network, he claimed that “little girls” have “their arms and their limbs ... auctioned off to the highest bidder.” [Media Matters, 4/6/12, 3/3/17; RawStory, 7/29/15]

Event Speakers Include Anti-LGBTQ And Anti-Abortion Extremists In Addition To Hate Group Leaders

The Event Is Partially Sponsored By The Family Research Council, An Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group. The Family Research Council (FRC) is listed as one of the briefing’s five sponsors. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated FRC as an anti-gay “hate group” since 2010 due to its dissemination of “disparaging propaganda and falsehoods” about LGBTQ people, such as the claim that gay men molest children at vastly higher rates than straight men. [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; Southern Poverty Law Center, 11/23/15, 2/15/17]

FRC’s President And Vice President Of Church Ministries Are Scheduled To Speak. FRC president and prominent anti-LGBTQ extremist Tony Perkins is scheduled to speak at the event. In addition to leading the hate group, Perkins has a long history of making inflamatory anti-LGBTQ statements, having called pedophilia “a homosexual problem,” accused gay people of recruiting children, and compared gay advocates to terrorists. Perkins has also peddled the lie that Planned Parenthood sells “aborted baby parts,” once claiming that the organization opposes 20-week abortion bans because the “parts” are “more valuable.” FRC’s vice president of church ministries, Kenyn Cureton, is also speaking at the briefing. [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; GLAAD, accessed 11/18/15; Right Wing Watch, 6/20/15]

Anti-LGBTQ Extremist Jonathan Saenz Also Speaking And Sponsoring Briefing. Jonathan Saenz, president of the anti-LGBTQ group Texas Values -- another sponsor of the event -- is also scheduled to speak at the event. Saenz has previously said that gay sex is a “dangerous and risky sexual activity that can fiercely jeopardize a person's well-being”; advocated for discredited and harmful “ex-gay” conversion therapy; and agreed that gay activists are trying to put Christians in “concentration camp[s].” [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; Media Matters, 1/9/17]

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Confirmed To Speak; Gov. Greg Abbott And Attorney General Ken Paxton Not Yet Confirmed. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is listed as a confirmed speaker at the briefing, while both Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have yet to be confirmed as event speakers. Patrick has been an ardent public supporter of SB 6 and other anti-LGBTQ legislation. [eiseverywhere.com, accessed 3/3/17; Salon, 1/26/17]

SPLC Has Documented Patrick’s Recent Work With FRC To Pass Anti-LGBTQ Legislation. SPLC has highlighted Patrick’s work with Perkins to pass SB 6. In a February 16 post, SPLC noted that Patrick had met with the hate group leader twice in the previous two weeks to promote SB 6, once live in studio with Perkins and a second time on Perkins’ “Washington Watch Live” web-based radio show. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 2/16/17