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Capitol insurrectionists' vicious anti-LGBTQ agenda on display
At an upstate New York far-right conference, a call to put gays on "an island"
photo: Tyler Merbler, license: CC BY-ND 2.0
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We’re only beginning to see the breadth of the extremist groups that took up Donald Trump’s call and attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. We’ve seen hundreds of people, mostly white and male, arrested across the country for breaching the Capitol, stealing property, invading offices, threatening lawmakers and brutally attacking police officers.
While some among the mob have been involved in militia and anti-government groups, others have been immersed in white supremacist organizations, which promote hate against Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, women and LGBTQ people, and still others have been followers of the twisted QAnon cult.
The insurrectionists who’ve been arrested include military veterans and law enforcement officers from localities around the U.S., as well as some right-wing Republican elected officials, such as Derrick Evans, who resigned from the Virginia House of Delegates shortly after his arrest.
The people arrested so far still represent only a handful of those present that day, and a tiny fraction of those who are involved in these groups across America. These individuals are still organizing, plotting and promoting hate and violence.
And so, here we have a far-right conference that occurred just this week in the sleepy village of Voorheesville just outside Albany, NewYork. And it was there that Republican County Legislator George Langdon IV unleashed a homophobic rant attacking gay relationships and suggesting gays be put on “an island.”
The event, “A Return to Liberty Under the Constitution,” held at Camp Pinnacle, a Bible camp and retreat, was partially organized by a local far-right activist who stormed the Capitol with thousands of others on January 6th, and who was arrested this week. There’s no question that this four-hour seminar attended by 180 people — which you can watch on YouTube — was about promoting the very anti-government, extremist hate that led to the insurrection.
The man who helped organize the event and was charged this week for rioting at the U.S. Capitol, William Tryon, leads a local group, the Liberty Bell Alliance 76, that has organized in the past few years, holding rallies at the New York State capitol.
Tryon, of Selkirk, New York, is seen on video at the Capitol insurrection, screaming: “This is our country. This is our Capitol building. All we want to do is enter and tell our representatives that we want our country back. We’re not gonna take this!” His arrest came a few days after the “Return to Liberty” seminar he helped organize.
At his “Return to Liberty” event, Tryon introduced various speakers, including Lewis County Sheriff Michael Carpinelli, a Republican who’s let it be known he may be running for governor in New York, and George Langdon IV, a GOP county legislator from the town of Coeymans.
According to the Albany Times-Union, Langdon’s speech began with a call on pastors and religious leaders to use their influence in local politics.
“I know you have to have that so-called ‘separation of church and state,’ that’s bogus,” he said.
Then he went on to attack gay relationships and made his “island” remark:
Everything God does is sustainable, it’s sustainable. it’s perpetual….Sorry, when you have homosexual relationships, it’s not perpetual. Give them an island, they’ll be gone in 40 years. Because God created us this way. There’s so much common sense that needs to be applied to our policies, our procedures that we do in our government.
After the remarks became public — and after the arrest of Tryon brought more attention to the event — local Democrats called on Langdon to resign. Langdon put out a statement, saying, “I deeply regret my foolish, off-the-cuff remarks,” and claimed not to be homophobic:
I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community and all others for the hurtful remarks recently made at a conference. I have never been homophobic nor do I think any individuals should be placed on an island.
The deeply homophobic comments can’t be excused, and Langdon surely should resign. But just as alarming is where he made the comments — at an anti-government event organized by a man arrested for storming the Capitol —and how elected officials are now openly cavorting with and embracing the insurrectionists.
It also underscores how the religious bigotry and anti-LGBTQ hate that infuses the Christian nationalist movement is very much a part of the insurrectionist army that Donald Trump has inspired and which attacked this country on January 6th and is still out there planning and plotting.