The NRA just appointed a president who compared LGBT+ rights to slavery

The NRA just appointed a president who compared LGBT+ rights to slavery

It has been a tumultuous few months for the National Rifle Association.

Since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 people in February 2018, the organisation has faced unprecedented opposition to its pro-gun agenda. Survivors of the attack have led a national movement for gun reform in the weeks and months since.

To counteract this, the embattled NRA just appointed a new president to steady the ship.

But their selection is likely to ignite even more controversy.

As companies sever ties with the group, Oliver North is set to take the helm of the NRA. Despite the NRA's high hopes that North will be able to revive its reputation, he brings his own set of baggage.

In a 2014 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the new NRA head compared LGBT+ rights to slavery.

Speaking at the right-wing gathering, he said:

Some say that we must ignore social issues, like the definition of marriage and the sanctity of life, [and] religious freedoms. I say those are not social issues. They are deeply moral and spiritual issues and they should be a part of America's elections

North then linked the fight for these issues to the Republican Party’s historic opposition to slavery.

If we as conservatives cease to be a place where people of faith and those who believe in strong moral values can come, we will cease to be a political force in America

He also denounced the Obama administration for allowing gay and lesbian troops to serve openly in the military with the repeal of “Don't Ask Don't Tell", asserting that soldiers aren’t “laboratory rats in some radical social experiment”.

This is far from the first time that NRA staff have expressed anti-LGBT+ views.

NRA board member Ken Blackwell once blamed the 2014 Isla Vista shooting, in which "men’s rights" activist Elliot Rodger murdered six people, on attacks on “natural marriage”. Blackwell also predicted that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to paedophilia. Fellow board member Ted Nugent once referred to homosexuality as “despicable”.

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More: Father of Parkland victims on the NRA: If their videos were put out by terrorists we would be raising the threat level

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