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Perry Meets With Christian Right Leaders

Perry Meets With Christian Right Leaders

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Texas governor Rick Perry (pictured), making a splash in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, did some further courting of the antigay religious right with a gathering of conservative Christian leaders at a ranch last weekend.

The meeting, which received little public attention, was held at the Austin-area ranch of James Leininger, a medical-supplies entrepreneur and longtime Perry supporter described by the Los Angeles Times as "a major advocate for school vouchers and tort reform and a stalwart opponent of abortion and gay marriage."

The attendees included many leading lights of the antigay right: Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Bishop Harry Jackson, head of a D.C.-area African-American megachurch and activist for repeal of the district's marriage equality law.

"Virtually anyone who is a significant player in the social conservative movement either was there or had a representative there," an attendee, who declined to be named, told the Times.

The paper further reported, "Perry proclaimed his fealty to Christian conservative positions on abortion, gay marriage and schooling." He also backed away from positions that some conservatives have criticized. In 2008 he supported the presidential campaign of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a social moderate; he assured the gathering he would not consider Giuliani as a running mate. And he repeated a recent statement that he had been wrong to endorse the mandatory vaccination of adolescent girls against the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer.

The event came just weeks after Perry hosted a huge rally of Christian conservatives in Houston. "By all accounts, the Texas governor is making inroads with leaders of this key political constituency," the Times reported, quoting an attendee as saying, "I don't see how it could have gone any better for Gov. Perry -- he had all the right answers. People came wanting to be impressed and wanting to have a candidate to coalesce around. And as one leader said, 'This guy sounds and looks like a combination of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.'"

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.