Senate

Kevin Smith Pushed Anti-LGBTQ Legislation 12 Years Before Ron DeSantis

According to a new report from the American Independent, New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Smith pushed an anti-LGBTQ, book-banning, “Don’t Say Gay” agenda 12 years before it was adopted by Ron DeSantis and Republicans focused on targeting, marginalizing, and discriminating against LGBTQ Americans. 

As noted by the American Independent, Smith likes to call himself “a kitchen table conservative with local, New Hampshire values.” But, in reality, he has “led the charge to stop public schools from acknowledging and affirming the existence of LGBTQ people.” 

As executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research — New Hampshire’s leading anti-LGBTQ organization — Smith pushed an out-of-touch, far-right agenda that targeted public schools, teachers, and LGBTQ youth. During his tenure, he attempted to ban “pro-gay” curriculum and even opposed anti-bullying policies meant to keep children safe. 

In 2011, Smith even led an unsuccessful effort to repeal New Hampshire’s marriage equality legislation.  

The American Independent: New Hampshire Senate candidate was pushing ‘Don’t Say Gay’ agenda 12 years ago

By: Josh Israel | April 07, 2022

Key Points: 

  • “Republican Kevin Smith is campaigning for his party’s nomination to run in the 2022 general election against New Hampshire incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan as a longtime local town manager and what his campaign website calls “a kitchen table conservative with local, New Hampshire values.” The website fails to mention that, 11 years ago, Smith led the charge to stop public schools from acknowledging and affirming the existence of LGBTQ people.”
  • “From 2009 to 2011, Smith served as executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research and its Cornerstone Action lobbying arm. Affiliated with James Dobson’s religious-right Focus on the Family empire, Cornerstone has been one of New Hampshire’s leading anti-LGBTQ organizations for decades.”
  • “During his tenure at the helm, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported, Smith pushed to keep ‘pro-gay’ curriculum out of New Hampshire’s public schools. In February 2010, the newspaper reported on Feb. 14, he led opposition to the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in an anti-bullying proposal, which Cornerstone called a ‘bill mandating gay and transgender material in school curriculum’ and said was being used ‘as a tool for political activists to inject their sexualized agenda into the classroom.’”
  • “In June of that year, according to a publication under the title ‘Parents beware: ‘Anti-bullying’ initiatives are gay activists’ latest tools of choice for sneaking homosexuality lessons into classrooms,’ issued by the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, Smith was. quoted as saying, ‘Anti-bullying policies in and of themselves are not bad things, but parents have to be aware they are being co-opted by these political activists who are using it as a vehicle to infuse their own agenda into the public school curriculum.’”
  • “In June 2009, Smith had pressured his local school board in Litchfield, New Hampshire, to remove material from its high school curriculums that he did not think had ‘good, wholesome values to it,’ including David Sedaris’ ‘I Like Guys,’ about his experiences as a gay adolescent.”
  • “‘We are not Cambridge, Mass., or L.A., or even Hanover,’ he told the school committee. The Union Leader reported on June 18, 2009, that Smith was considering taking legal action over the issue.”
  • “Republican lawmakers in Florida and across the country are today using a similar strategy, pushing ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills to bar school teachers and staff from so much as mentioning to kids that some people and some families are LGBTQ.”
  • “Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill into law that bars elementary school educators from teaching about ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’ before the fourth grade in a way that is ‘not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.’”
  • “Cornerstone’s website during Smith’s tenure included links promoting harmful ‘conversion therapy’ that purportedly could change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The now-scrubbed ‘homosexual issues’ section contained links to groups that included Exodus International, which shut down in 2013 and apologized to the LGBTQ community for ‘years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.’”
  • “Two years after New Hampshire became one of the first states to adopt marriage equality by legislation, Smith spearheaded an unsuccessful 2011 effort to repeal it. He promised to push every 2012 presidential candidate to sign a ‘pledge sheet for candidates saying whether they support marriage being only between a man and a woman.’”

Read the full report here

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