With Donald Trump racking up delegates needed to cinch the GOP presidential nomination, the country’s leading gay Republican group is pressing their party’s frontrunner to untangle what it says are his conflicting positions on marriage equality.
“Where do you really stand on marriage equality, Mr. Trump?” asks a video released Monday by the Log Cabin Republicans, which juxtaposes comments by Trump that are friendly to LGBT rights to his comments that appear hostile.
On one hand, the one-minute web ad features Trump saying he respects the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. “The decision’s been made, and that is the law of the land,” Trump said in interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Trump is also seen telling a reporter that if he's elected, LGBT people could expect forward motion on equality.
Those comments and others have led some to see Trump as LGBT-rights trailblazer among Republican candidates.
But in the video, Trump is also seen on the Christian Broadcasting Network being asked if evangelical voters can trust him to oppose same-sex couples’ marriage rights. Trump replies, “I think they can trust me on traditional marriage.”
Trump has also said that he backs “traditional marriage.”
More pointedly — although this is not included in the video — Trump told Fox News in January that he would "strongly consider" appointing Supreme Court justices to reverse the Obergefell decision if elected.
Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, told BuzzFeed News in an interview Monday, "I don’t know that we can take Mr. Trump on his word because the statements he has made about LGBT issues are all over the place."
"I think they are contradictory," Angelo continued. "I don’t understand how overturning the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision could be considered forward progress for LGBT rights."
Last year, Angelo had cited Trump's gay-friendly comments to say Trump would be the most pro-gay candidate in the GOP field. He then asked the Trump campaign in November to clarify where he stands.
“But I have not heard back from them," Angelo said. “I understand being out on the campaign trail can be hectic, but we are getting to the point where time is short, and if Mr. Trump does emerge as our party’s nominee, I would like some assurance from his campaign — or the man himself — that the Log Cabin Republicans can trust him to do no harm to the progress we have already made in this country.”
Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the other front runners in the GOP primaries, have both taken hardline positions against same-sex marriage.
“Mr. Trump is an outlier in that he is the Republican frontrunner for the nomination,” said Angelo. “He has attended a same-sex wedding … and donated tens of thousands of dollars to gay charities — what other Republican candidate for president has done that in the past?”
Asked if he thought that Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, would be better on LGBT rights, Angelo said, “I can't answer that question until I recieve a response from the Trump campaign.”
The group also ran a web ad in January that said Clinton was "wrong on gay rights when it mattered."
Trump’s campaign did not respond to questions from BuzzFeed News about his positions on same-sex marriage.