UPDATE: In an email sent to Breitbart News, Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said, regarding the quote from the Wagner campaign that Wagner has “been praised … by the Pennsylvania Family Institute,” that his organization has “not endorsed a candidate in this race (the Institute is prohibited by law from doing so) and did not make any statements regarding a 100% pro-life voting record.”
“The Wagner campaign previously invoked our name in a Facebook post and tweet to make it appear that we were tacitly endorsing the candidacy,” Geer stated. “At our request, they removed it.”
Pro-family constitutionalists say the man who has been the leading Republican in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary may say he is conservative but is actually backed by a transgender rights megadonor who ultimately hopes to undermine religious liberty.
Scott Wagner, who, to date, has been the leading Republican running in the Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial primary, claims to be a conservative candidate, yet the Washington, DC-based American Principles Project (APP) and others have, for months, been alerting conservatives and constitutionalists to Wagner’s support for a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) bill in the state that could undermine common-sense privacy norms in public restrooms and other spaces, as well as religious liberty.
Those sounding the alarm say the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race is the most important race in the country, particularly in light of the fact that Wagner has received campaign contributions from the foundation of Tim Gill, the wealthy LGBT philanthropist.
Rolling Stone described Gill as the “Megadonor Behind the LGBTQ Rights Movement.” One of the activist’s main political arms is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) whose goal during the 2018 midterm election season is to “replicate what happened in North Carolina,” i.e., the unseating of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, “in Senate, House and governor’s races across the nation.”
In 2016, PennLive.com reported the transgender protections bill was “getting a jump start … from the unlikeliest of all places: A committee chaired by Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York County.”
Wagner, however, has minimized concerns about his support for the bill by pointing out that towns and cities across the state had enacted similar ordinances without concerns. He says the bill is focused on protecting transgender individuals from discrimination in renting homes and seeking employment.
The legislation “changes absolutely nothing about the way that bathrooms are dealt with, in spite of claims to the contrary that are full of legalese and references to court decisions from states with laws that are very different from Pennsylvania’s,” he wrote, according to PennLive.com.
In response to a request for comment from Breitbart News, Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for the Wagner campaign, said, “Scott is a strong family values conservative. He has a 100 pro-life voting record that has been praised by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Pennsylvania Family Institute. He does not support special rights for anyone. He supports legislation to ensure everyone is treated equally in terms of trying to rent a home or land a job.”
“Wagner is straight up lying about what the bill he has supported actually does,” wrote Frank Cannon, APP president. “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.”
Anna Anderson, APP’s director of religious freedom, wrote in December the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race is “the most significant race in the country” for several reasons.
“HRC is trying to protect an incumbent Democrat governor who has pushed radical LGBT policies,” Anderson noted at Townhall, observing that the LGBT lobbying organization had come out against Wagner’s conservative opponent Paul Mango. In a statement that points to the true purpose of the Pennsylvania bill, HRC states Mango’s “support for discriminatory laws that would bar transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity” is “outrageous.”
“Paul Mango is very concerned this bill is going to have serious implications not just for the religious liberty of Pennsylvania residents, but for their safety and security as well,” Mango campaign adviser Matt Beynon told Breitbart News. “When Sen. Wagner actually had the chance to fix the problems with his bill with a proposed amendment, he was actually the deciding vote against the amendment. Sen. Wagner has taken a very liberal and, in our eyes, a very concerning position that infringes on the safety and security and religious liberty of Pennsylvania residents.”
Cannon emphasized this point at Townhall when he wrote Wagner “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.”
Anderson has further observed the Pennsylvania GOP primary has shaped up to be “a showdown between a pro-family candidate and a sell-out”:
The Republican responsible for bringing an LGBT bill to the PA Senate floor is running, giving HRC a stake in even the Republican primary. State Senator Scott Wagner has claimed the mantle of LGBT “rights” while claiming that the bill has no effect on bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. There are plenty of reasons that this is a bold faced lie, but you get the picture.
Indeed, Wagner tries to present as a “Trump-type conservative” on other fronts, aiming to unseat liberal Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf.
However, his press to pass a transgender rights bill does not jive with the agenda of President Donald Trump, who has been praised by pro-family organizations whose mission is religious liberty and protection for women and children in public places.
Family Research Center PAC has endorsed Mango. The group’s executive vice president, Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin zoned in on the difference between Mango and Wagner.
“Pennsylvanians are looking for leaders who will keep their word in establishing a culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives,” he observed, pointing out Mango’s support for smaller government, a free market economy, an end to Obamacare, and support for the sanctity of human life.
Unlike his opponent Scott Wagner, he has vowed to protect the safety and privacy of Pennsylvania’s citizens by refusing to advance “Bathroom Bill” legislation. Senator Wagner has sponsored this concerning legislation which puts women and children at risk in intimate areas like showers, bathrooms, and locker rooms and allows the government to punish those who disagree with this policy. We are confident Mr. Mango will work faithfully to represent the people of Pennsylvania as the only true conservative running for governor.
Pennsylvania-based conservative groups like “Moms for Mango” are alerting Republican voters to Wagner’s leftward push on transgender rights:
Cannon wrote the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race is “ground zero” for pro-family constitutionalists who are the base of the Republican Party.
“Elections have consequences,” he asserted. “If Scott Wagner wins, the GOP will permanently shut down on religious liberty and transgender extremism. The Human Rights Campaign will roll, unopposed, with its plan of creating an America in which it is unacceptable to oppose gay marriage or transgender ideology.”