Standing behind a pulpit at an Alabama church on Wednesday, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore blamed the "malicious" sexual misconduct allegations against him on liberals, socialists and the LGBTQ community.
In a speech at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama, Moore — who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women — told the audience he is still leading in the polls but said "they" are trying to "change that."
“When I say 'they,' who are they?” he said. "They're liberals; they don't hold conservative values. They’re the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered who want to change our culture. They're socialists who want to change our way of life."
Eva Kendrick, the Alabama state director for LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said Moore's comments did not surprise her.
“Bottom line is Roy Moore has used the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat for years,” Kendrick told NBC News. “This most recent incident is about Moore deflecting blame by placing it on one of his favorite targets: our community.”
Moore has a long and well-documented history of openly declaring his aversion to the LGBTQ community.
In a 2002 child-custody case involving a lesbian mother, for example, Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, wrote that homosexuality is "an inherent evil against which children must be protected."
In a 2005 interview on CSPAN-2’s “After Words” program, Moore said homosexuality should be punishable by law. “Homosexual conduct should be illegal” Moore told the show's host, Bill Press. “It is immoral, it is defined by the law as detestable, it was against the law in most states until the Supreme Court … said that it wasn’t.”
Moore later reiterated his opinion that "homosexuality should be illegal" in a 2015 YouTube video posted by Lone Star Q.
In September 2016, Moore was suspended for the second time from the Alabama Supreme Court — where he had served since 2001 — after instructing probate judges to continue enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, in defiance of Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark Supreme Court case that legalized the practice nationwide.
"There’s no reason to believe given a higher office that he would act any differently and protect the rights of [LGBTQ] persons,” Kendrick said. “Roy Moore is fundamentally unfit for public office,” Kendrick added, “which is why he was forcibly removed from office twice, and we hope Alabama voters will keep that in mind when they go to the polls on election day.”
Moore, who faces off against Democrat Doug Jones on Dec. 12, did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.