In an open letter to Tony Perkins published in Huffington Post on Monday, LGBT advocate and talk show host Michelangelo Signorile asked anti-LGBT activist Tony Perkins to have a discussion about the word "hate" and why it applies to Perkins' organization, Family Research Council. Southern Poverty Law Center has listed FRC as a hate group, citing numerous examples of the organization disseminating known (and harmful) falsehoods about the LGBT community. Signorile writes:
Without providing any facts, you claimed that the Southern Poverty Law Center's labeling your group a "hate group" gave the alleged shooter a "license to shoot." You went on to obscure why you were put in the hate group category, implying that it was because of your position against same-sex marriage.
Signorile cites several examples from Perkins' profile page on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project. He then asks Perkins to discuss an issue broader than this singular incident - the rhetoric being used by those fighting against LGBT equality.
It's vitally important to have this dialogue now if you agree that we've all got to bring down the temperature, and if you sincerely want to clear up what you believe are misunderstandings. Let's take this instance, this latest tragedy, and turn it into a moment of understanding and insight.
Southern Poverty Law Center's director of publications and information Mark Potok has already addressed Perkins' claim that the hate group designation gave a "license to shoot" - calling it "outrageous," and pointing out "The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people."
Last week GLAAD joined dozens of other LGBT equality organizations in condemning the shooting and wishing the victim a swift and complete recovery.