Donald Trump to speak at anti-LGBT, anti-abortion conference

Donald Trump has attended the conference three times before.
Donald Trump has attended the conference three times before. Photo credit: Reuters

Donald Trump is no stranger to controversy, and he's courting it again after it emerged he'll become the first US President to attend a highly controversial conference run by an anti-LGBT hate group.

The former real estate mogul will attend the Value Voters Summit in Washington DC on Friday (local time), an annual event he has attended three times previously - even last year, in his role as Republican presidential candidate.

The conference is run by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby group that campaigns against pornography and divorce, but also same-sex marriage and civil unions, LGBT adoption, abortion and stem-cell research.

The organisation is officially classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), and its president Tony Perkins has been quoted claiming homosexuality is "harmful" and "unnatural".

Mr Perkins says he's thankful that an American leader is now allying himself with them, saying his appearance represents an end to the "eight years of relentless assault on the First Amendment".

However, SPLC president has sharply criticised the president for endorsing a hate group's event by participating as an official speaker at it.

"By appearing at the Values Voter Summit, President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonises LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights," he told The Independent.

"His appearance puts the lie to his campaign promise to be a friend to the LGBT community. Bigotry is not an American value, and our president should speak out against it."

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon and aide Sebastian Gorka are also scheduled to deliver speeches at the event.