A pastor with ties to Republican Senator Ted Cruz has claimed that God created the deadly wildfires in California to punish the state for accepting gay people.
Kevin Swanson has a history of making anti-LGBT statements. Last year, he claimed that Hurricane Harvey was a ‘punishment’ from God for Texas rejecting an anti-trans law and that public schools will turn kids into “transgender communists.”
And in 2016, he said that Girl Scouts leaders should be drowned for being too pro-gay.
Most experts have agreed that the ferocity of the wildfires, which have so far killed 11 people, injured 10 and caused more than $400 million worth of damage, is down to climate change.
But speaking on his Generations radio show this week, Swanson said it was actually a divine punishment.
The Colorado preacher began with a slightly inaccurate and bad-spirited recounting of the ways in which California has led the change for LGBT equality, according to Right Wing Watch.
“If you look at the history of California, they have been at the forefront of this… The first gay pride march occurred in San Francisco in 1970,” he said, incorrectly, “and then San Francisco legitimised homosexuality in 1972.
“In 1982, Laguna Beach, California elected the first openly homosexual mayor in United States history. In 1999, California adopted a domestic partnership law; I believe it was one of the first in the nation to do that.
He continued: “In 2005, California state legislators became the first in the nation to pass the same-sex marriage law… In 2008, the California Supreme Court then struck down Prop 22 in regard to marriage cases, and Prop 8 also was struck down later on that year, I believe.
“In 2011, California became the first state to mandate homosexual indoctrination classes for K-8 students and then in 2012, California became the first state to sign a ban on therapy that was attempting to convert homosexuals into non-homosexuals.
“And then, in 2017, the California state schools implemented the homosexual indoctrination programme… and that was the kickoff for the biggest fires California has ever seen in its history, last year. And those fires continue in 2018.
“So God is burning down California in 2017 and 2018 after about 25 years of leading the pack to legitimise the sin of homosexuality in that state,” he concluded.
California has continued its progress towards LGBT equality, regardless of what anyone says.
The state currently has its first ever lesbian Senate president after Toni Atkins assumed the role earlier this year, also becoming the first woman to hold the position in the process.
Atkins wrote the bill which, when it was turned into law last year, legally recognised non-binary people on official documents for the first time in California.
The non-binary recognition law Atkins wrote – which means that in addition to ‘F’ and ‘M’, Californians will be able to choose ‘X’ – is set to come into effect in 2019.
Until this law was passed, Californians wanting to change their gender on government documents had to submit a physician’s sworn statement that they had undertaken medical treatment.