Considering that today is the day the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the Defense Of Marriage Act, we think it's important to remind folks that one of the most openly hostile anti-gay groups working today is responsible for DOMA's very birth. I'm talking about the Family Research Council, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center now deems a "hate group" and is, if not the most prolific (NOM), then probably the most hostile group we track here at GLAAD's Commentator Accountaiblity Project.
Back in the mid-'90s, that very same FRC (which was then headed by GLAAD CAP subject Gary Bauer) led the super coalition of social conservatives that pushed this horrible idea into law. Here's current FRC president Tony Perkins talking about the roots:
"we took it back to our policy shop at FRC and formulated
the policy and actually gave it the name Defense of Marriage
And "took it back to our policy shop" they sure did. FRC hosted a big DOMA rollout press conference back in July of 1996 filled with names you now know. In addition to the aforementioned Bauer, there was Peter LaBarbera, Robert Knight, Jeffrey Satinover, late professional "ex-gay" activist Anthony Falzaranno, and others who are still fighting us today. The video from that press conference is no longer embeddable for me to share with you in this post, but you can watch it on C-SPAN's own website. Because, you know—who doesn't want to watch a biased baby like DOMA take its first discriminatory steps?
After taking it public, FRC proceeded to do all it could to see the bill become law. I have rounded up all kinds of vintage testimony that these mid-'90s FRC staffers offered to both Congress and the American public, all of it written by the same openly anti-LGBT individuals (and GLAAD CAP subjects) who I mentioned above:
--THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
--WHY WE NEED THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT [FRC(via Wayback Machine)]
--THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: EXPERT TESTIMONY [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
--THE IMPLICATIONS OF GAY 'MARRIAGE' [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
--THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS ON EDUCATION CURRICULA AND POLICY OF HOMOSEXUAL 'MARRIAGE' [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
--DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: HOW ADOPTION POLICY IS AFFECTED [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
--THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: A SOCIAL WORKER'S VIEW [FRC (via Wayback Machine)]
As we know, these folks ultimately succeeded, bolstered by the reactionary Congress that existed in 1996. The lawmakers of that Gingrichian day sided with FRC's chicanery, which is the primary reason why we are in front of the Supreme Court today.
Of course we now know what FRC is really all about. Tony Perkins has one of the cruelest quote banks of any anti-equality activist. FRC Senior Policy Fellow Peter Sprigg has called for gays to be "exported" and/or criminalized. Religious outreach guy Kenyn Cureton has referred to gays as "simply pawns in the hands of their malevolent master" (the Devil) and claimed that FRC's is a fight against "the forces of evil directed by the prince of darkness himself." FRC has produced pamphlets that begin by comparing same-sex marriages to man-horse marriages (complete with horse graphic). And so much more.
Yet despite our heightened awareness of this group and its obvious animus, FRC is still helping us connect the historical DOMA dots. In a recent press release about the current DOMA case (Windsor vs. United States), FRC's press department reminded the public of the outsized role this lone special interest group played in bringing forth this horrible policy:
I, for one, am fully ready to let FRC take the credit and to ensure that the Supreme Court justices know this history. In fact—I wish we could submit this post into the Supreme Court's evidence bank!