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RFK Jr. makes California ballot by collaborating with political party with a bigoted, anti-LGBTQ+ past

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr
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The son of the former Democratic attorney general under President John F. Kennedy accepted the American Independence Party’s ballot spot in California. The group has a problematic history.

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced his acceptance of a spot on the California ballot for the November 2024 presidential election under the American Independence Party on Monday, which immediately raised eyebrows given the party’s historical opposition to LGBTQ+ rights.

Known for its far-right affiliations, the AIP notably opposed marriage equality as recently as 2021, staunchly advocating that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, according to an archived version of its website.

This affiliation with the AIP is particularly concerning given the party’s 2008 endorsement of figures like Alan Keyes, who is notorious for his strong conservative stance on LGBTQ+ issues.

During his failed Senate campaign against Barack Obama, Keyes made derogatory comments about Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, describing her as a “selfish hedonist.” In an unsolicited comment, he expanded on his views, saying that if his daughter were a lesbian, he would regard her relationship as rooted in “selfish hedonism” and sinful, necessitating divine intervention. His daughter, Maya Marcel-Keyes, found these remarks particularly jarring, noting the discomfort in her father using such a hypothetical scenario about her publicly, which she described as both strange and unpleasant, the Washington Postreported.

Keyes later disowned his daughter after she came out as a lesbian, according to the Post.

In his announcement video on X (formerly Twitter), Kennedy attempted to portray the AIP as having undergone significant changes, claiming it now represents “compassion and unity” rather than its historical “bigotry and hatred.”

“It’s been reborn as a party that represents not bigotry and hatred, but rather compassion and unity and idealism and common sense,” he said.

However, Kennedy’s campaign response to inquiries about his current LGBTQ+ stances was vague, offering little reassurance to those concerned about his alliance with the AIP. When The Advocate requested clarification on Kennedy’s specific LGBTQ+ policies, his campaign responded by redirecting to his video announcement and saying, “We have no connection to any of the party’s former positions.”

The AIP did not respond to The Advocate’s request for comment on its current stance on LGBTQ+ rights or its endorsement of Kennedy.

Over a dozen members of the Kennedy family recently endorsed President Joe Biden. According to NPR, while endorsing Biden, Kennedy’s sister, Kerry Kennedy, highlighted the dichotomy in the 2024 race, stressing that only Biden or his Republican opponent could win.

Furthermore, Kennedy’s remarks in 2023, falsely suggesting that chemicals in water could be affecting the sexuality of children, added another layer of controversy. According to CNN, his campaign asserted that his comments were mischaracterized and that he was calling for more research into the effects of endocrine disruptors.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).