Gaining 42 percent of the vote, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the presidential straw poll at the 2013 Values Voters Summit—a conservative right-wing conference which took place October 10-13.
Republican presidential candidate and former Senator of Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson, a Maryland surgeon, both gained 13 percent of votes.
Hosted by the Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins, the Summit draws conservative change-makers from across the United States to speak on the state of the nation.
Popular speaking points included, defunding ObamaCare, protecting religious values, anti-abortion laws, and the protection of traditional marriage.
Fox News reported that in a conversation about abortion, Dr. Carson rejected the notion “war on women” and responded to Democrats by saying it was “[a]war on their babies.” Carson was also quoted as saying that marriage between a man and woman was a “sacred institution.” He also once said that supporting the gay community was the same as endorsing pedophilia or bestiality.
The Values Voter Summit had a line-up of conservative speakers to fill the room. National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher spoke, as well as Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.).
The Values Voter Summit stands as the “high holiday of extremism,” according to president of the People for the American Way, Michael Keegan.
“They are extremists that have pushed vicious smears against progressives, against immigrants, against non-Christians, and, I think, most importantly, and most frequently, members of the LGBT community,” Keegan explained.
“If a pastor or church member asks you to partner with that message coming from those anti-gay religious organizations, tell them that you do not want to make a mockery of your faith,” executive director of Faith in America Brent Childers said. Adding, “because the message that would cause that type of harm cannot be sanctioned by the Christian faith.”
In a turn of events, Christian faith leaders came out in support of the gay community just one day before the Summit took place. The pro-gay group “Not All Like That” is made up of Christian followers who are in support of the LGBT community.
On October 10, “Not All Like That” participated in a news conference at the National Press Club to speak out against the anti-gay beliefs usually affiliated with the Christian community.
Dean of the National Cathedral in D.C., Rev. Gary Hall, expressed his support for the LGBT community through his decision to officiate same-sex marriages and for encouraging other Christians to embrace their gay brothers and sisters.
“It’s really important for the church to say, first, that sexuality is good and that sexuality is a gift, and that human beings are called to live out their sexuality freely and responsibility and creativity and compassionately and ethically with other people,” Hall said, as reported by the Washington Blade.
Leader of the conference was executive director of Truth Wins Out, Wayne Basen, who showed his support by asking, “…are politics in America more civil, more humane, dare I say more Christ-like since the infusion of the religious right?. The answer is clear: Washington, and much of the country, is angrier, more dysfunctional and more fractured than ever. It’s time for change.”
Below is a video of the first openly gay Reverend Gene Robinson speaking on behalf of “Not All Like That.”