CNN Interviewer Challenges Tony Perkins on Antigay Views

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com May 25 2012 2:03 PM ET

CNN reporter Brooke Baldwin pressured antigay activist Tony Perkins on his opposition to marriage equality in an interview Thursday, asking pointedly, “Why do homosexuals bother you so much?”

Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, claimed gay people don’t bother him, but said, “I’m not going to be silent while they try to redefine marriage in this country, change policy what my children and taught in schools and what religious organizations can do.”

Several pro-LGBT organizations have criticized other journalists for giving Perkins a platform and failing to challenge his views, but Baldwin “gave an almost textbook example of how to tell a complete story when dealing with an anti-gay activist,” Aaron McQuade, director of news and field media for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, wrote in a blog post.

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Baldwin asked Perkins if he had ever been to the home of a married same-sex couple, and he said he had not. She also cited support for marriage equality from Republicans such as Gen. Colin Powell and former vice president Dick Cheney as well as polls that show a majority of Americans in favor. Perkins responded with his usual claims about marriage being “devalued” by the inclusion of same-sex couples and “social science” indicating that it’s best for children to be raised by heterosexual couples.

McQuade pointed out that Baldwin could have gone further and challenged Perkins on his statement about social science. “This is absolute garbage. ... Every single mainstream study that has ever been conducted, comparing kids raised by two gay parents to kids raised by two straight parents, has found absolutely no difference,” McQuade wrote.

He added: “But aside from this, Baldwin did the best job we’ve seen from anyone at CNN since the Obama announcement [of support for marriage equality] of showing her audience exactly who Tony Perkins is, exactly who he speaks for, and most importantly, that he doesn’t speak for them.”