In a surprising move, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson recently embraced Moms for Liberty, a conservative group known for its staunch opposition to transgender rights. Robinson compared the group to historical icons such as Betsy Ross, Rosie the Riveter, and even civil rights champion Rosa Parks.
The Moms for Liberty are in Raleigh to push for legislation prohibiting transgender girls and women from competing in female sports and to ban gender reassignment surgery for minors. They warmly greeted Robinson, proclaiming, “We love you, Mark!” to which he enthusiastically reciprocated.
The group has been building its political prowess by waging culture-war battles at local school boards across the country. Their efforts range from opposing pandemic restrictions to advocating for book bans. During a recent reception, Robinson joined forces with other speakers, including a lobbyist for Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing Christian legal group dubbed as a “hate group” by a well-known extremism watchdog.
Robinson, the Republican frontrunner for North Carolina’s 2024 gubernatorial election, drew stark parallels between the nation’s current political climate and the Civil War.
Since his election as lieutenant governor, Robinson’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from church pulpits has drawn severe criticism. His assertion that LGBTQ “issues have no place in a school” and his scorn for churches that welcome LGBTQ people, stating, “I’m going to fly a rainbow flag out front and spit right in the face of God”, is a testament to his controversial stance.
Blue Miller, a transgender individual and one of the few protesters present at the event, critiqued the Moms for Liberty’s hypocrisy as they proclaimed, “We do not co-parent with the government” whilst lobbying on the governor’s mansion lawn.
Alliance for Defending Freedom, the conservative group represented at the gathering, has a controversial track record, including its support for a Texas law criminalizing sodomy, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an extremism watchdog, has labeled the Alliance as a hate group.
Robinson’s alliance with Moms for Liberty is eerily reminiscent of the group’s ties to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another potential presidential contender in 2024. DeSantis successfully leveraged the group’s “parent’s rights” messaging during his reelection campaign. Robinson seems set to follow suit, with the Moms for Liberty slated to feature him as a speaker at their national summit later this year.
In the end, this alliance raises several concerns about the future direction of the GOP and the potential implications for the rights and well-being of the LGBTQ community. One thing is certain, the battle for inclusion and equality is far from over.