Really?

Donald Trump’s Platform Committee: Gay Sex Deadlier Than Smoking

The Republican platform committee is peppered with individuals with questionable credibility when it comes to LGBT issues and tax policy.

Donald Trump may be the most gay-friendly GOP presidential nominee of all time. The committee writing the platform on which he’s supposed to run is filled with anti-gay bigots.

The committee, which is currently meeting in Cleveland, is charged with crafting an overarching document that describes the general principles of the party. Until mid-week, they will be voting on America’s tax policies and the party’s orientation toward LGBT issues—but there are legitimate questions about their previous words and deeds.

For example, Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia once compared the gay rights movement to efforts “in pre-Holocaust Germany, as far as propaganda and presentation and swaying the whole mindset of a nation.”

Hardy Billington, of Missouri, took out an ad in a local paper saying that homosexuality is killing people at “two to three times the rate of smoking.”

The committee also features members such as Mary Forrester, of North Carolina, who wrote an op-ed in 2008 that alleged that the “homosexual agenda is seeking to change the course of Western Civilization” and that “most societies that condoned homosexual behavior did not survive past one generation.”

And David Barton, a committee member from Texas, believes that God is preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, and claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes.

Barton told The Daily Beast that these statements did not represent his views, and this was “an example of something taken out of context and mischaracterized. I’m an advocate for faith-based conservative values, which include love, grace, and truth, focusing on traditional family values.”

The Daily Beast reached out to all the delegates in this article for comment, but many did not immediately respond.

Meanwhile, other members of the Republican Party’s platform committee will consider the party’s national policies on taxes—while being themselves delinquent on taxes according to a review of public records.

Gayle Ruzicka, head of the Utah Eagle Forum, has failed to pay over $135,000 in federal and state taxes since 1998. Ruzicka told The Daily Beast late Monday night that the federal taxes have now been paid in full, and that they are refuting the outstanding state taxes. “They will be paid in full as soon as the amount is determined,” Ruzicka wrote.

James Crawford, a member from Alaska, has been hit with nearly $1.5 million in federal tax liens in the past decade and a half. A real estate broker in Alaska, Crawford has been the defendant in over $1.2 million worth of judgments, with the majority of cases involving money owed to Alaskans and Alaskan small businesses—as of this year, more than $1 million remains unpaid.

And Sandy McDade, head of the Louisiana Eagle Forum, had a political consulting firm with some outstanding tax issues. She and her firm owe more than $30,000 in unpaid taxes.

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And that’s just the outstanding issues on the matters of gay rights and taxes. Still other members have made outrageous statements that in other settings would have been utterly disqualifying.

Alan Clemmons, a member from South Carolina, once replied “amen” to a racist email after he helped author the state’s voter identification law.

“I don’t buy that garbage that if a poor black person or an elderly one, that these people won’t be able to get one,” a supporter wrote, regarding voter identification. “It would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon” if you paid them one hundred dollars to get an ID, the individual continued.

Clemmons, who is a state lawmaker, later acknowledged that his affirmation was “poorly considered” and that there was a “shade of racism” in the email.

Plus, there’s the platform committee member who is hoping the convention will not rule out bribery to delegates.

“This is a great country,” Marti Halverson of Wyoming told a foreign reporter. “We give presents to our friends. No, I would not vote for a rule that said candidates cannot ‘woo’ delegates. I wouldn’t do that. It’s not the American way.” Gifts for delegates, she said, was part of the “free market of politics.”

“This is a free country. This is a free country despite what a lot of people would like to turn it into. This is still a free country,” she added.

Reached Monday afternoon while in the platform committee, Halverson told The Daily Beast she hadn’t received any swag or favors yet.

“No gifts,” she wrote. “Don’t expect any.”

—with additional reporting by Alexa Corse.