Tony Perkins: Employment Protections Fair For Chosen Religion, Not For Innate Sexuality

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has launched a new daily radio show on American Family Association radio, and Jeremy Hooper is tracking it closely. On the second episode Tuesday, Perkins addressed a listener’s question about nondiscrimination protections, asserting that the existing protections for people of faith are fine, but creating protections for LGBT people would be problematic:

PERKINS: Actually, religion is a protected class, So right now under existing law, you can’t use that as a component to discriminate against individuals. […]

This administration — the Obama administration — wants to push the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. What is that? It sounds nice. But it is actually providing special protections to people — employment protections and benefits — based upon their sexual behavior. So let’s say an employer at a day care, an elementary school, or a church does not want to hire someone who is openly engaged in homosexual behavior. They would be forced to either defend themselves in their decision or could suffer legal consequences as a result.

Listen to it:

As Hooper points out, Perkins is peddling a significant double standard. He voices no objection to the protections his Christian faith already enjoys, yet claims that protections for LGBT people would be “special” and violate Christians so-called “religious freedom.” As conservatives do, he only referred to “homosexual behavior,” erasing gays and lesbians and framing their identities as a choice. But not only are same-sex orientations (or non-conforming gender identities, which ENDA also would protect) not chosen, but religious beliefs are. So if Perkins argument is that people should not be protected based on their lifestyle choices, by his own logic religion should not be a protected class.


Of course, Perkins motivations are not rooted in logic, but in animus against LGBT people and an expectation that one group of people enjoy a superior status in society over another.