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.

Advertisement

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.