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12/31/2015 08:09 am ET

Here Are 15 Of The Worst Anti-LGBT Villains Of 2015

Kim Davis and Sweet Cakes and Ben Carson, oh my!

2015 was, without a doubt, a milestone year for mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Still, social and political advances like same-sex marriage rights were offset by aspiring politicians, business owners and conservative pundits who were actively speaking out and working against the LGBT movement.

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis dominated headlines for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses after the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling on marriage equality, while Sylvia Ann Driskell filed a federal lawsuit against all homosexual people on the planet for breaking “religious and moral laws” in Nebraska. 

Oregon's Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Indiana's Memories Pizza sparked controversy for publicly opposing same-sex weddings, while a number of pastors sent waves through the blogosphere with anti-LGBT sermons. 

Let's take a look back at 15 of the worst anti-LGBT villains of the past year.

  • Kim Davis
    The Kentucky county clerk became a veritable martyr for the right-wing after she<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/
    JAMES LAWLER DUGGAN / Reuters
    The Kentucky county clerk became a veritable martyr for the right-wing after she staunchly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling on marriage equality. 

    Davis, who is a Apostolic Christian and attends church three times a week, was eventually jailed after she continued to defy the Supreme Court's ruling. Although the clerk was freed after six days, the headlines didn't stop there. Anti-gay politicians like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz flocked to her, while right-wing groups like the Family Research Council held dinners in her honor and gave her awards. She was even briefly greeted by Pope Francis, although the Vatican was quick to distance themselves from the meeting. 
  • Pastor Kevin Swanson
    Swanson, who is a pastor at the Reformation Church of Elizabeth, Colorado and also hosts a weekly radio show, has a history of making homophobic remarks. This year, he sparked the ire of the LGBT community when he suggested that parents drown themselves instead of allowing their children to read Harry Potter. His issue with J.K. Rowling's iconic series stemmed from the author's 2007 revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore the wizard as a gay man.

    Later, he took aim at Hillary Clinton, arguing that the 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful would turn children gay if she's elected. 
  • Aaron and Melissa Klein
    The owners of Oregon's Sweet Cakes by Melissa violated the state's anti-discrimination laws when they cited their religious beliefs in turning away a lesbian couple who sought a wedding cake in 2013. 

    Still, the couple, who shuttered their storefront in 2013 when the controversy first broke, continued to make headlines throughout the course of the year. At first, they refused to pay $135,000 in state-ordered damages, even though they'd broken records with an online fundraiser in support of their cause.  
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt
    The Colorado-based ex-Navy chaplain turned Republican state representative has made no secret of his opposition to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over the years. 

    In August, he blasted the Boy Scouts of America's newly-revised policy on openly gay adult leaders on his "Pray in Jesus Name" radio program. 

    Having accused the Boy Scouts of "thumbing their nose at God" by promoting "homosexual men to mentoring and camping with your boys," he said, "All the child molesters in the Boy Scouts are homosexual. And how can I tell that? Very simple, it's logical. There were no girls in the tents."
  • Ben Carson
    The&nbsp;Republican presidential hopeful has been a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ben-carson-gay-marriage_5631
    Bloomberg via Getty Images
    The Republican presidential hopeful has been a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, but he doesn't believe that makes him a homophobe. 

    Instead, he thinks it's the people who criticize opponents of same-sex marriage who are the real problem.

    Carson has previously said prison makes people gay, compared same-sex marriage to bestiality, joked that Christian bakers might poison cakes for gay people and said Congress should remove judges who rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • Memories Pizza
    This family-owned pizza parlor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/indiana-pizza-gay-couples_n_6985208.html">re
    Tim Clayton via Getty Images
    This family-owned pizza parlor reportedly became the first business to publicly reject catering to same-sex weddings in the wake of Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    Arguing that the eatery was a "Christian establishment," owner Kevin O'Connor said, "They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?”

    Although Memories Pizza was closed for eight days after the news broke, a crowdfunding campaign started by supporters reportedly raised more than $842,000 for the restaurant with donations from 29,160 contributors in 48 hours.
  • Louie Gohmert
    In November, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) took his opposition to same-sex marriage to an entirely new level during a speech at Virginia's Liberty University.

    Gohmert, who previously compared the treatment of marriage equality opponents to how Nazis persecuted Jews during World War II, argued that even Americans who don't believe in God should be able to see that same-sex relationships aren't natural. He went on to suggest conducting a "totally secular" congressional study that would prove it, too. 

    "How about if we take four heterosexual couples, and put them on an island where they have everything they need to live and exist, and we take four couples of just men and put them on an island where they have all they need to survive," he said. "And then let's take four couples of just women and put them on an island, and then let's come back in 100 years and see which one nature favors." 
  • Casey Davis
    Although Kim Davis dominated the lion's share of media coverage, another Kentucky clerk was also outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

    In an Aug. 24 interview on West Virginia’s The Tom Roten Morning Show, Casey County's Casey Davis (no relation to Kim) vowed to continue to defy the Supreme Court even if it costs him his life. 

    "Our law says ‘one man and one woman,’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected," he said. "If it takes my life, I will die ... because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do."
  • Scott Walker
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)&nbsp;<a href="http://wbay.com/2015/06/26/reactions-to-supreme-court-ruling-on-gay-marriage/"
    Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) condemned the Supreme Court for legalizing gay marriage, calling their ruling for Obergefell v. Hodges "a grave mistake."

    "As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage," he said in a statement.

    He later said he “doesn’t know” whether being gay is a choice or if people are born gay.
  • Pat Robertson
    The conservative Christian media personality has become nearly synonymous with homophobia over the years.

    In 2015, he argued that gays will force Christians to like anal sex and told a mother to treat her gay son the same way she'd treat a drug addict

    He also argued that same-sex marriage was still illegal despite the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling on marriage equality. 

    "Congress didn’t pass any law," he said. "Your state legislature didn’t pass a law. So you’re not under anything. It’s a decision of the court having to do with a couple of people. Now they would like to make it bigger than that but, in terms of the Constitution, it isn’t."
  • Sylvia Ann Driskell
    Driskell, a 66-year-old Nebraska resident, filed <a href="http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/nebraska-woman-files-suit-in-fed
    Chris Ryan via Getty Images
    Driskell, a 66-year-old Nebraska resident, filed a federal lawsuit against all homosexual people on the planet for breaking “religious and moral laws” in May. 

    In a seven-page, handwritten petition delivered to the U.S. District Court of Omaha, Driskell argued that “homosexuality is a sin and that the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “Why else would they have been hiding in the closet(?)”

    In the end, however, the case was dismissed
  • Pastor James David Manning
    In 2014, James David Manning of ATLAH World Missionary Church made headlines for claiming that Starbucks flavored its coffee drinks with "sodomites' semen."

    The New York pastor doubled down on those claims this year, and also warned heterosexual women about a "sodomite demon," which can be contracted through sexual intercourse with men who have had sex with other men. 

    Describing a man's semen as the "cream of the blood" that is "even more powerful than blood," he said, "If demons are in him... you're gonna get penetrated by demons."
  • Bill Flores
    Texas Rep. Bill Flores made a bizarre link between <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/congressman-links-baltimore
    Bill Clark via Getty Images
    Texas Rep. Bill Flores made a bizarre link between same-sex marriage rights and recent turmoil in Baltimore, Maryland, arguing that "breakdown of the family" has contributed to income disparity across the country.

    The Republican congressman made the controversial claim in an April 28 "Washington Watch" interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, noting, "The single best indicator of whether or not a child is going to be in poverty or not is whether or not they were raised by a two-parent household or a single parent household."

    "Look at what is going on in Baltimore today," he said. "You see the issues that are raised there. Healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in a way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective."
  • Pastor Steven Anderson
    In May, Anderson of Arizona's Faithful Word Baptist Church took a surprisingly defiant stance against conservative entrepreneurs who spoke out against same-sex marriage.

    Arguing that those businesses are actually "being too nice" to the LGBT community and, as such, "are not standing for the word of God," he asked, "Who thinks it's a hard decision if some faggot wants you to make them a wedding cake? Anyone struggling with that right now?" 

    Anderson, who "holds no college degree but has well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word" according to his church's website, is no stranger to controversial declarations. In early December, he argued that "we can have an AIDS-free world by Christmas" if gays were "executed."
  • Bryan Fischer
    The conservative host and former Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association is no stranger to anti-LGBT declarations. 

    This year, however, he adopted Lady Gaga's pro-equality mantra and twisting its message for his own, anti-gay argument. 

    "Who would choose, at this time in our nation's history, to be a Christian? You're ridiculed. You're mocked. You're made fun of," he said. Pointing to the case of Kim Davis,  he added, "Who would choose a lifestyle where you are the unending subject of ridicule, mockery, and contempt by liberals in society, by elites, by professors, on the media, by politicians? Who's going to choose that?"

    "So our defense is, hey, I was born that way," he said, citing what he described as an "inner revulsion" to homosexuality. 


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