Video: Tony's never been to the homes he daily decries (cc: @tperkins @brookebcnn)
CNN's Brooke Baldwin asked a great question of guest Tony Perkins.
BALDWIN: "Have you ever been to the home of a same-sex couple, Tony?"
The Family Research Council president's predictable answer: "No." He, a man who dedicates an inordinate amount of time and energy towards robbing countless same-sex couples' homes of peace of mind has never been privy to what his target actually looks like. By his own admission.
CNN and Baldwin are to be applauded for this question, and for putting Tony on the record on this deeply personal issue. I really do believe we have reached a tipping point, thanks in large part of projects like the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project. Anti-equality pundits know that those of us who value LGBT Americans are connecting dots both publicly and behind the scenes, and that we are not going to stand for the unfair debating structure that has plagued the media for far too long.
But then, in a followup question, Baldwin highlights the work that still needs to be done in terms of what needs to be done to inform the American public.
BALDWIN: "Why do homosexuals bother you so much?"
Tony's sidestep answer: That they don't bother him. Tony said, quite plainly: "We don't have any dislike for homosexuals." Presumably by "we," he means FRC.
For LGBT Americans who heard Tony say this, the eye rolls and groans were nothing short of instinctual. The truth is that there is no single organization working in the United States that more fully expresses contempt for LGBT Americans and their rights than the Family Research Council. And to be perfectly frank, there is no single human being working in the "culture war" today who has recorded more undeniable animus towards LGBT people than Mr. Tony Perkins.
Let's glance at Tony's CAP profile for just some of what Tony, on his own time and volition, has said about us:
- Says about gay people: “They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful...pawns of the enemy.” (See 0:43 mark.)
- Says many gays have an "emptiness within them" (:55) because they are "operating outside of nature" (1:09)
- Says that gay young people “have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict; homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.”
- Despite what health experts have said, insists that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.”
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that erroneously depicts gay men and lesbians as physically and mentally ill pedophiles who can be cured.
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that begins by likening the logic behind same-sex marriage to the logic behind man-horse marriage (complete with horse graphic)
- Compares gay people to terrorists (at 0:31 mark): “[B]ack in the 80s and early 90s, I worked with the State Department in anti-terrorism and we trained about 50 different countries in defending against terrorism, and it’s, at its base, what terrorism is, it's a strike against the general populace simply to spread fear and intimidation so that they can disrupt and destabilize the system of government. That's what the homosexuals are doing here to the legal system.”
- “The truth is that we cannot redefine marriage without opening the door to all manner of moral and social evil.”
- Called the It Gets Better project "disgusting," claiming it tells children "that it's okay to be immoral" and constitutes a "concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle."
- Claims "blood of young marines" is on hands of legislators who voted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.
- Claims "people know intuitively that [homosexuality] is morally wrong"
- Says "it's a fact" that homosexuality leads to "eternal damnation"
- Linked Secret Service prositiution scandal directly to open service: "[O]ver the weekend we saw the news of the President’s Secret Service detail in Colombia and the issue of them hiring prostitutes and now the White House is outraged about that. Actually in a meeting this morning my staff asked, ‘why should the President be upset’? It was actually legal; it was legal there to do that, so why should we be upset? Well, the fact is we intuitively know it’s wrong, there’s a moral law against that. The same is true for what the President has done to the military enforcing open homosexuality in our military. You can change the law but you can’t change the moral law that’s behind it. You can change the positive law, the law that is created by man, but you can’t change the moral law, it’s wrong. So what you have is you have a total breakdown and you can’t pick and choose. Morality is not a smorgasbord; you can’t pick what you want. I think you’re absolutely right, this is a fundamental issue going forward because if we say ‘let them do what we want,’ what’s next? You cannot maintain moral order if you are willing to allow a few things to slide."
Tony Perkins [GLAAD CAP]
And again, that's just some of Tony's hyperbole, most of it culled from the past two or three years. We could, quite literally, assemble twenty pages or so dedicated to just Tony's slights alone; hundreds of pages if extending it out to all of FRC.
Tony and other FRC staffers are not booked on CNN *despite* this kind of engagement. In fact, this is the *very* thing that Tony has done to build the kind of national profile that lands one on a producer's booking list! I've already talked today about how FRC is unduly focused on LGBT issues. This anti-LGBT rhetoric is the very reason why Tony is enough of a known entity to sit in the pundit chair. He has said and done this stuff for a paycheck and access. It's more than newsworthy.
So the next phase for anchors who are increasingly tough on the idea that condemning LGBT humans is enough of credential to make a policy expert is to start holding them accountable, during the appearance, for the very thing that landed the pundit on-air to begin with! Those of us who fight this fight have shorthanded the work there. All we are asking is for news outlets to tell the public the kinds of things that people like Tony have been saying about us so readily when on less mainstream outlets.
Personally, I think it'd be a great followup for Brooke Baldwin to pursue!
**MORE: Another perspective from my pal and colleague Aaron McQuade: GOOD JOURNALISM: CNN'S BALDWIN PUTS PERKINS' ANTI-GAY VIEWS IN CONTEXT [GLAAD]
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