ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, who founded the Traditional Values Coalition, a lobbying group that was largely known for opposing homosexuality and gay rights, died Friday. He was 85.
Sheldon, a former Anaheim resident, died in Southern California of a longstanding condition, son-in-law James Lafferty said. He did not provide details.
An unapologetic Christian conservative, Sheldon lived in California but commuted weekly to Washington and was close to political leaders, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Lafferty said.
He founded the Traditional Values Coalition in 1980 to uphold conservative positions, including opposing abortion and homosexual rights. The group had a significant impact in anti-gay rights circles in the 1980s and 1990s. Sheldon and his daughter visited the White House nearly 70 times and personally met eight times with President George W. Bush, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which in 2010 designated the Traditional Values Coalition as an anti-LGBT hate group.
Sheldon contended that there was a “homosexual agenda” to not only promote acceptance of gay rights but to recruit children into homosexuality.