Tony Perkins Revives Role as GOP's Hate-Whisperer

Tony Perkins

The Republican Party can count on some deeply antigay input at its national convention this year — Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has been elected as a delegate and a member of the platform committee.

Perkins announced his selection in a press release posted this week on the website for Family Research Council Action, the FRC’s lobbying arm. Perkins was also a delegate from his home state of Louisiana and a member of the platform committee in 2012, when the party amped up the platform language opposing marriage equality.

Perkins takes much credit for this escalation of official antigay rhetoric. “In 2012, my role as a delegate gave me the opportunity to play a key role in amending the marriage plank, which led to the committee approving a much stronger version than 2008’s,” he says in the press release. “We also tightened language on obscenity and pornography, protected conscience rights, explained how abortion hurts women, and supported the Second Amendment in D.C.”

In 2012, the platform reiterated the party’s support for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but the antigay language was far more intense than in the 2008 platform. It also added a denunciation of the Obama administration’s decision to cease defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

The FRC has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, because of the damaging misinformation it spreads about LGBT people. Perkins has a long history of anti-LGBT rhetoric, recently claiming that marriage equality has led to “havoc in our homes and blood in our streets.” He has predicted that the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws will lead to Christians being sent to “reeducation camps” and claimed that allowing gay men to serve as Boy Scout leaders will endanger children.

His group also supports the discredited and harmful practice of so-called conversion or ex-gay therapy, has claimed that transgender people are a threat to the safety of women and children, has blamed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” for sexual assault in the military, and has asserted that suicides of LGBT teens can be prevented by discouraging them from identifying as LGBT.

Perkins has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination (a personal endorsement, not from FRC) and is a member of Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council. This week, notes the Human Rights Campaign, Perkins briefed Congress on the proposed First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect individuals and institutions from government penalties for violating antidiscrimination laws if they were acting “in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction” against same-sex marriage. 

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