Of all the profiles on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project, Tony Perkins is probably the most high-profile. He is the president of the Family Research Council, which has been certified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its continuing lies and misinformation about LGBT people.
Now, Tony Perkins has an additional feather in his cap: the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement. Perkins was appointed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to the commission that will train and shape how the police in the state operate, specifically in regard to LGBT people.
This appointment comes at a time when Louisiana continues to make it illegal to be gay and police arrest gay men, despite such laws being struck down by the Supreme Court.
Equality Louisiana’s Legislative Co-Coordinator Matthew Patterson questions, “In light of the recent revelations of the illegal enforcement and potential repeal of Louisiana’s ‘crimes against nature’ law, could Jindal be abusing his authority to put influential people in place who will push to maintain the current discriminatory status quo?”
Patterson says, “Louisiana deserves to have serious, qualified professionals in charge of watching the watchers. Tony Perkins is neither, and he needs to go.” He said Louisiana citizens have more than one reason to oppose Jindal’s latest appointment.
How will Tony Perkins shape law enforcement's interaction with LGBT people in Louisiana? Well, if his past history of statements is any indication, it will not be well. Here's a sampling of Perkins' statements regarding the law and LGBT people:
-- Compares gay legal advocates 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.”
-- Lumps together Aurora shooting, kidnapping, and openly gay soldiers as three examples of a "nation gone under"
-- Despite what health experts have said, insists that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.”
-- Says: "It doesn't matter what society does, I think within the homosexual, most of them know that this behavior, it's just not right, it's not what we were created to do and it's against God's plan and it's contrary to our nature and the way were were created."
-- Claims "blood of young marines" is on hands of legislators who voted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.
-- Equates LGBT pride with drunkedness and adultery: "The month of June is Gay Pride Month. Now, I have not yet seen where they have declared Adultery Pride Month, I have not seen where they have declared the Drunkenness Pride Month."
-- Claims Uganda bill (with death penalty attached) simply "upholds moral conduct"
-- Claims court-tested marriage equality will lead to a "revolution" in America
Perkins's new job won't take him away from the Family Research Council. So while he is shaping how the police in Louisiana treat LGBT people, he will also be in Washington, DC, trying to pass laws that directly harm LGBT people.
"Not only has Tony Perkins demonstrated clear anti-LGBT animus, but now is in a position of power to act on this animus," said Ross Murray, GLAAD's Director of News. "Mainstream media needs to keep all of his anti-LGBT statements and actions in mind when booking Tony Perkins as a guest to talk about LGBT issues."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, who has classified the Family Research Council as a hate group, has written a blog post on Perkins' appointment, providing even more context and background to his appointment. Key facts include:
- Perkins is already a member of the Commission on Marriage and Family, but records indicate that he’s failed to attend for at least the past three years. He was appointed in 2008, and, according to meeting notes from 2011 to present, Perkins is listed as absent for 7 of 7 meetings.
- Perkins was suspended from his job as a reserve police officer in 1992 (and subsequently quit) when he failed to report an illegal conspiracy by anti-abortion activists to his superiors
- Perkins was caught covering up the purchase of David Duke’s mailing list in 1996 – and the campaign he was managing had to settle with the FEC and pay a fine.As Joe My God notes, “The FEC originally fined the campaign $82,600, the same amount of the payment to David Duke, but the fine was reduced after mediation. The fine, it should be noted, was for attempting to cloak the payment on federally required campaign expenditure forms.”