Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel faced backlash from both sides of the political aisle last week for celebrating LGBT Pride Month in a controversial tweet that some are calling "tone-deaf."
“Happy #PrideMonth!,” McDaniel, the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, tweeted last Wednesday. "@GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs.”
The tweet drew a range of responses.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading national conservative Christian lobbying organization, condemned McDaniel’s tweet. He said it was “tone-deaf” and “offensive” since it applauded “the woke agenda her base is trying to combat.”
“A handful of days into this rainbow deluge, the air of LGBT pride is so suffocating that people could choke. It's plastered across social media, corporate logos, cereal boxes, even big box stores' pandering displays. …,” FRC’s Perkins, one of the nation's leading evangelical lobbyists, wrote in an op-ed.
“But one place conservatives thought they were safe from all this nonsense was the Republican National Committee. Turns out, their chairwoman is just as happy as anyone to pull on the LGBT jersey."
Perkins pointed out the influx of Pride Month initiatives, including the San Francisco Giants baseball team wearing rainbow-colored Pride patches on their uniforms and corporations altering their logos during the month.
“At a time when dozens of states are racing to stop LGBT extremism, the last thing any political strategist would advise is pitting yourself against them,” Perkins wrote. “And yet, that's exactly what McDaniel did on Wednesday.”
Contrary to McDaniel’s tweet, Perkins pointed out how conservatives “have decided to rise up and fight back” in recent months since the “Georgia election law fiasco.”
“And instead of harnessing that momentum and meeting Republicans where they're at, the RNC sends out an alienating tweet that irritated everyone,” Perkins wrote.
McDaniel also received criticism from LGBT activists, who claimed her statement did not align with her party’s stance on LGBT issues.
Perkins said, “the Left will never be pleased by these half-baked GOP olive branches."
Chasten Buttigieg, an LGBT activist and husband of Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, criticized McDaniel’s tweet by claiming it contradicts the Republican party’s platform.
“Those with ‘deeply held religious belief’ are often the parents who force their LGBTQ children out of the home and onto the street,” Buttigieg tweeted on June 3. “… Re-visit your party's platform before you open your mouth about #pride.”
The official Twitter account of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration & Parade responded to the tweet and called the Republican Party "nothing more than transphobia, performative faux-outrage, and conspiracy theories."
"LGBTQ+ people should not be fooled, and the overwhelming majority aren't," the organization argued while claiming that it doesn't "endorse candidates or parties."
Perkins, a conservative Baptist, encouraged Republicans to support candidates who fight for principles they believe in until the “RNC gets its act together” and supports “real conservative values." The FRC president said the tweet could hurt the GOP’s “record-breaking fundraising.”
“Look for men and women who won't compromise when it comes to free speech, religious freedom, and common sense,” Perkins wrote. “We should have no part in supporting organizations that think they can play Eeny, meeny, miny, moe with our First Freedoms.”
McDaniel’s tweet comes as some Republicans have pushed for The Fairness for All Act, a bill seen as a Republican response to the far-reaching and Democrat-backed Equality Act.
The Fairness for All Act would codify discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity into federal law while also providing exemptions for religious viewpoints and teachings.
The bill was introduced to Congress in December 2019 and has the support of some Christian groups like the National Association of Evangelicals and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
However, some conservative Christian organizations, such as Alliance Defending Freedom, the Heritage Foundation and FRC, claim the bill is “ill-advised." Critics argue that Fairness for All would “codify a radical gender ideology” and “shares many of the dangerous characteristics of the Equality Act.”
Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization that fights to "build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party," supports the Fairness for All Act. The group also endorsed former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, saying his policies "benefited not just LGBTQ individuals but all Americans."
Republican legislators across the nation have introduced bills that push back against pro-LGBT political advancements, including measures to ban trans-identified males from participating in female sports and bills banning hormone therapy for children.
Among the many bills passed by states, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation blocking biological males who identify as females from participating in female sporting events on the first day of Pride Month.
For Pride Month, the Biden administration authorized U.S. embassies worldwide to fly the rainbow flag on embassy flagpoles along with the American flag. The new policy is a break from Trump-era rules that only permitted the American flag to fly at embassies.
June is recognized as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, known by many as one of the beginning moments of the gay rights movement.
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org