Few elected Republicans have been willing to go on the record this week about President Obama’s support for marriage equality, which has created an opening for religious conservatives to speak out to media news outlets. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has made numerous appearances, including at least three on CNN over the past few days. GLAAD’s Herndon Graddick took CNN to task for ignoring the vitriol Perkins stands for as the leader of an anti-gay hate group:
But when Perkins gets interviewed, a responsible journalist needs to tell the audience exactly who Perkins is speaking for. Based on his own statements — Tony Perkins represents people who believe supporting LGBT equality is akin to being a terrorist. Who believe marriage equality is the same as bestiality. Who say that gay people are “vile,” “hateful,” “spiteful” “pawns of the enemy.” Tony Perkins does not represent people who oppose marriage equality. Tony Perkins represents those who oppose LGBT people — period.
If CNN wants that side represented in this discussion, then Perkins is absolutely the right man for the job. But they need to make it clear to the audience that that’s what he’s there for. And by not doing so, they have not told the whole story.
GLAAD created the Commentator Accountability Project for exactly this reason, to make sure that anti-gay voices are properly identified and contextualized when they’re amplified by the media. After several appearances in which Perkins’ views went unchallenged, he finally faced his comeuppance in an appearance on MSNBC’s Harball yesterday evening. Both Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and host Christ Matthews took Perkins to task for teaching his children that being gay is wrong and for preventing children in need from being adopted by same-sex couples. Watch it: