Mango Peels off Support from Pro-LGBT ‘Republican’

Congress may be grabbing all of the midterm headlines, but there’s a lot more at stake this November than the House and Senate. In Pennsylvania, the race to face-off against Governor Tom Wolf (D) has huge implications for Christians — and not just in that state.

When Republicans squared off in a candidate forum this past weekend, Pennsylvanians got a good look at how conservative front-runner Scott Wagner is. The answer? Not very. In a primary that might come down to a single issue — privacy — Wagner’s mask finally slipped. Before Saturday’s debate, voters probably knew about the state’s bathroom bill. But not many of them probably guessed that a Republican was behind it. In a column about Wagner’s not-so-secret radicalism, American Principles Project’s (APP) Frank Cannon called on conservatives to wake up.

“The leading Republican candidate in the race, Scott Wagner, openly supports so-called SOGI ‘non-discrimination’ legislation — code for discrimination against Christians — and opposes religious liberty. He even voted down an amendment that would have provided protections to people of faith and protected girls and women’s privacy in showers, locker rooms, battered women’s shelters, and bathrooms.” Although Wagner’s numbers are slipping because of his transgender extremism, the media is doing everything they can to keep voters in the dark about it.

“Wagner is straight-up lying about what the bill he has supported actually does,” a frustrated Cannon writes. “That’s the only way he can win — he needs GOP primary voters to either never hear about it, or never have enough information to know the truth.” Both will be much harder after his embarrassing showing at the GOP’s forum. The state senator must have gone to Nancy Pelosi’s school of public policy, where you have to “pass a bill to find out what’s in it,” because Wagner had no clue what his bathroom bill even does! (Or so he told Pennsylvanians.)

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Pressed about his controversial sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) language, Wagner didn’t even know what “sexual orientation” was! “I’m an employer,” he said in the video (privacy portion begins at 1:12:15). “I employ hundreds of people. [My bill is] about discrimination. Housing, employment, public accommodations. What you talked about — the — what was your term, the orientation?”

It was a jaw-dropping moment, and hopefully, a defining one. Not only does Wagner seem ignorant about the most basic parts of his legislation, but he told one whopper after another about its impact. “I keep hearing ‘bathroom bill…’ There is no such thing. There is no such thing,” he told the moderators. “I’m a cosponsor on a bill that has to do with anti-discrimination for housing or discrimination.”

That’s interesting, since our friends at the Pennsylvania Family Council spend 12 pages describing how the “Fairness Act” would destroy privacy and religious liberty. Not to mention, Frank argues, this isn’t exactly Wagner’s first try on the issue. “Scott Wagner has introduced SOGI laws three times and voted against an amendment that would provide protections for privacy and religious liberty.”

His opponent, true conservative Paul Mango (R) blasted Wagner’s legislation for “treat[ing] people of faith like bigots, subjecting people of faith to lawsuits and worse” and “infring[ing] on the privacy and security of our children, as well as parental rights. I will not,” Mango vowed, “let people, by gender identity, come into our girls’ locker rooms in schools in the name of generating business in Pennsylvania. I’m going to keep our kids safe and secure. I’m not going to advance that bill, his bathroom bill, at all.”

Maybe, Frank writes, “you don’t take this threat seriously. After all, this is America. It could never happen here. But it is. It’s happening in Maine. In California. In Illinois. In Michigan. And yes, in Pennsylvania… [I]f we continue to stay disengaged and hope for the courts to save us, religious liberty in America will be lost. Not in some distant theoretical future, but right now. In 2018. Pennsylvania is ground zero.”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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