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Tiny tent: Tony Perkins versus gay Republicans who see themselves as equal

by Jeremy Hooper

If any special interest group is harming the Republican party as it tries to find a path to the future, it's the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins and his staff are determined to alienate anyone who doesn't subscribe to their extreme views about wanting to export gays from the United States, claims that gay people are "pawns in the hand of their malevolent master...the devil," or any of the number of despicable claims that the FRC president himself has made about LGBT people. In a world that's embracing equality, FRC is a throwback to a dark, Falwellian era that most pragmatic Republicans are more than ready to leave behind.

Yet the FRC keeps doing its thing. Things like going after moderate Republican candidates who happen to be gay simply because these men have the "radical" belief that they too are equal under the law:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 At 9.49.19 Am Unfortunately, voters are getting a front row seat to that trend this year, as the [National Republican Congressional Committee] stakes its money -- and its credibility -- on three anti-marriage candidates that reject the party's own platform. Insisting it has to "compromise" to conquer, the NRCC is backing the liberal trio in a misguided move that could cost the party a lot more than three seats. The NRCC has been quick to bite back at conservatives that oppose the move, claiming that its decisions to back candidates aren't based on sexual orientation. Nor should they be.

The problem here isn't that Dan Innis (N.H.), Carl DeMaio (Calif.), and Richard Tisei (Mass.) identify as gay -- the problem is that they are anti-marriage activists, openly fighting their own party on an issue that most Republicans still strongly believe in. DeMaio told reporters that it isn't about imposing a viewpoint but "protecting equality." "If you don't support gay marriage, don't get gay married," he said. "[But] if someone in government tries to get you to recognize or perform a gay wedding, I will be at the front of the pack to defend your right."
When these candidates champion the fact that they want to overturn America's marriage laws, then they're responsible for making sexual orientation the centerpiece of their campaign -- not us. Establishment Republicans like to fall back on Ronald Reagan's famous quote that if you're with us 80% of the time, you're my friend. Well, that's true -- unless the other 20% of the time you're trying to undermine the core positions of your so-called allies.

FULL: The GOP's Party Planning on Marriage; Tony Perkins' Washington Update [FRC]

That closing statement from the above snip tells you everything you need to know. Tony (or his ghostwriter) admit that these candidates agree with majority GOP positions 80% of the time. And yet that doesn't matter. That 20% is enough to cast them out of the tent. With the dogmatic Family Research Council, it's 100% purity or its political abandonment.

I mean, look, I'm an out and proud Democrat—that's no secret—so I'm not going to jump in and stop FRC from doing damage to the right. But those whose RNC-branded calendars run forward and whose demographic charts are accurate might want to step in an stop the rabid far-right, pro-discrimination, anti-LGBT crowd before the GOP's approval rating falls even further. Groups like FRC have overstayed their welcome; they don't really have to be part of American politics, no matter how used to them we may be. We can do better.

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