President of Anti-Gay Hate Group Appointed to Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Sept. 25 2013 11:10 AM

President of Anti-Gay Hate Group Appointed to Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tony Perkins has worn many hats throughout his life: television reporter, police officer, Louisiana state representative, head of a certified hate group. But the president of the viciously homophobic Family Research Council earned a new title this week when Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed him to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, which awards grants, trains officers, and regulates law enforcement throughout the state.

Given that homosexuality remains criminalized in Louisiana and that gay men are still arrested simply for having sex—in direct violation of the U.S. Supreme Court—one might think that things couldn’t get any worse for Louisiana’s LGBT population. (And don’t even think about same-sex marriage.) But Perkins’ tenure on the commission may well drag the state to new, even darker depths of anti-gay enmity. Perkins’ brand of homophobia has an almost retro tinge of hysteria to it—and he’ll now have a chance to inflict it on the entire state’s law enforcement officers.


Why is Perkins’ bigotry so uniquely toxic? Mostly because it’s so intensely insane. While most anti-gay activists have moved onto vague prattle of defending marriage and protecting family, Perkins still clings to the most appalling (and thoroughly disproven) component of homophobia: the charge of pedophilia. According to Perkins, pedophilia “is a homosexual problem” that seeks to “recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of the new sexual order.” Gay men are “more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men”; in fact, “homosexuals have entered the [Boy] Scouts in the past for predatory purposes.” What’s worse, “homosexual activists”—those “intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” and “spiteful” predators—aren’t just content to engage in pedophilia: They’re also “part of a concerted effort” to “recruit ... kids” into the gay “lifestyle.”

And that’s really only the start of the lunacy. Perkins has also compared gay rights activists to terrorists (“it’s a strike against the general populace simply to spread fear and intimidation”), supported Uganda’s death penalty for gays, and linked mass shootings with the repeal of  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s more, but you get the idea. Perkins isn’t a member of the modern, almost apologetic anti-gay movement. He’s a relic from the Reagan-era culture wars, fixating on debunked obloquy, tossing off discredited calumnies with the conviction of a very passionate dolt. Until now, Perkins’ twisted gospel has mostly echoed around his own increasingly disreputable fringe. But Gov. Jindal just put him in the driver’s seat of an entire state’s law enforcement. We should all brace for the crash.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 9:19 PM The Phone Call Is Twenty Minutes of Pitch-Perfect, Wrenching Cinema
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.