The president of the national LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, and a transgender Republican activist from San Diego were among the speakers at a gun rights rally on Tuesday on the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Second Amendment Institute, which organized the event, said it was called to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Supreme Court decision D.C. v. Heller, which held that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense.
The ruling struck down a provision in D.C.’s decades old gun control law that prohibited the possession of handguns by private citizens and required that firearms in the home must be stored unloaded, disassembled, or bound by a locking device.
“If you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects us all,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo told about 150 people that turned out for the gun rally and several hundred others attending a separate rally protesting the court’s decision that same day upholding President Trump’s ban on immigrants and visitors from several Muslim countries.
“And within the Bill of Rights no amendment protects us more than the Second Amendment,” Angelo said. “If you are part of the LGBTQ community as I am, you are more likely to face physical violence and to be targeted for who you are and for who you love,” he continued.
Noting that Log Cabin Republicans has supported hate crimes legislation, he added, “You can pass all the hate crimes legislation you want. But the best way to stop a hate crime from ever happening is to have a would-be homophobe question whether the gay man or the transgender woman he is about to attack is able to adequately defend themselves and exercise their Second Amendment constitutional rights.”
Also speaking at the rally were gay businessman Gene Truono, who’s running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat in Delaware currently held by Democrat Tom Carper, an LGBT rights supporter; and Gina Roberts, a transgender woman, gun rights advocate, and Log Cabin member from San Diego, Calif.
Truono told the Washington Blade after delivering his remarks at the rally that he’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment as well as the First Amendment.
“I’m a constitutionalist and a state’s rights person,” he said. “I believe Delaware needs change because we are currently represented by three representatives on the U.S. level that are all against the Second Amendment.”
Truono began his Senate race unopposed when the only other GOP candidate dropped out. But another Republican has since entered the race, Sussex County Council member Robert Arett, who is challenging Truono in the Republican primary in September. The winner of the primary is expected to face off against Carper in the November general election.
Roberts said she came to D.C. this week as part of a group of 50 women who are members of a group called the D.C. Project, which advocates for gun rights.
“My point is the Second Amendment applies to everybody, not just white single people or sis people,” she said. “And for the LGBT community it is especially important because we are targets of opportunity for a lack of a better word for a lot of criminals because they think we’re typically not armed and we’re typically sitting ducks.”
Many of the participants at the rally protesting the Trump Muslim ban shouted down and heckled speakers at the gun rights rally, with some shouting “Lives matter, not guns.”
Among those participating in the protest against the Muslim ban were members of the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign.