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02/17/2011

'I'm a big fan of Tony Perkins": Is that really a 'no labels' stance, Mr. McKinnon?

by Jeremy Hooper

If political strategist Mark McKinnon wants to say admirable things like this...

"To grow our party, the GOP must get right on the issue of gay rights...I’m saying it loud: I’m a Republican who supports gay rights. And I’m proud of Ted Olson for having the cojones to make the conservative case for same-sex marriage." [SOURCE: Daily Beast]

...and wants to move beyond usual partisan lines with his new "No Labels" project, then he's going to have to stop talking about all of the "good work" that the "talented" Tony Perkins is doing for our country:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Because if we had to pick one single American who is most aggressively, most prominently fostering harm for LGBT people and their families, Tony Perkins would be on the mind's immediate shortlist, if not at the top. Regardless of personal affection or his individual strengths as a human (which we don't deny Tony, on certain levels), his targeted advocacy work is thoroughly undeserving of respect. Let's examine.

Tony Perkins is a man who paints the national gay rights conversation as a battle of "good versus evil," and who goes into churches and tells congregants that his political opponents are "held captive by the enemy." A man who wrote that this nation's Commander in Chief is "willing to jeopardize our nation’s security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby," simply because of the president's push for DADT repeal. A man who claimed that gay teens kill themselves because they know, at heart, that they are "abnormal." A man who writes that same-sex marriage will be "opening the door to all manner of moral and social evil." And worst of all: A man who uses every media tool available to encourage others to follow his lead. Because again: It's about the work for us, not the individual.

And beyond just the man himself: Tony heads an organization where subordinates have called for gays' criminalization and/or deportation, printed brochures that liken same-sex marriage to men having sex with horses, used grim reaper graphics to illustrate what non-discrimination will supposedly do to America, and recruited even more incendiary figures like Bryan Fischer to speak on their pet issues. Actions that have landed FRC on the Southern Poverty Law Center's "hate groups" list -- a list that the conservatives love to paint as broad and unfair, but one that is in truth highly selective. It doesn't take a long search to see why FRC was able to exceed the SPLC's high bar.

GOP strategists like McKinnon want to keep the tent as full as possible, since at the ballot box, every person, from far-left to far right, works under the label of "voter." So okay, fine, we get that. But at some point, Mr. McKinnon will have to make a choice. Because not gonna lie: It's hard for equality-minded people to see how one can say things like this...

"Republicans constantly claim to be the party that defends the Constitution. We have no legitimate right to that claim until we get right on gay rights. Sometime in the not too distant future, denying gays the right to marry will be viewed as historically corrupt—as corrupt as denying slaves their freedom." [SOURCE: Daily Beast]

...and this...

"It’s way past time for the GOP to get out of the Dark Ages on this fundamental issue." [SOURCE: Daily Beast]

...and this...

"Thankfully, common sense still exists, as shown by Sen. John Brueggeman (R-MT), who said: 'I looked at that and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Should it get taken out? Absolutely. Does anybody think we should be arresting homosexual people? If you take that stand, you really probably shouldn’t be in the Republican Party.'" [SOURCE: Daily Beast]

...yet also profess to be a fanboy of a man who has an aggressive hand on the downturned GOP light switch.

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