As the hours tick down until Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announces his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, many outlets are speculating as to whether or not he will win the vote of the religious right with his vocal social conservatism. Just last month, he stirred up controversy with various Christian groups by flip-flopping on whether or not gay marriage should be legal. But Perry’s anti-gay record should speak for itself:
1. Perry has come down fiercely against gay marriage, both in Texas and nationally.
“Gay marriage is not fine with me,” Perry told Tony Perkins of the anti-gay Family Research Council last month. Contrary to his states’ rights rhetoric on issues like health care and education mandates, he is in favor of a federal amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. While serving as governor, he pushed for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Texas. After voters approved the amendment, he signed it symbolically at a Christian school, declaring that now gay marriage is “beyond the reach of activist judges.”
2. He supports a Texas law that criminalizes sodomy, even though it has been unconstitutional since 2003.
When asked for his views on the 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling an anti-sodomy law unconstitutional, Perry responded with, “I think our law is appropriate that we have on the books.” He later blamed the decision on the Supreme Court’s “nine oligarchs in robes” in his second book, Fed Up! Texas lawmakers have introduced legislation to repeal the statute during three separate legislative sessions, and yet Perry has not supported any of them. In 2010, he even ran for re-election on a GOP platform explicitly supporting the criminalization of gay sex.
3. Perry criticized President Obama for signing hate-crimes legislation in 2010.
When running against U.S. Senator Kay Hutchinson in 2009, his campaign conducted a series of robocalls calling out Obama for “making homosexuality a protected class” by signing hate-crimes protections for the LGBT community into law. Instead, he is looking to hire Robert Black, one of his former staffers who is prone to hateful speech himself. Black made the papers in 1998 for likening the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay conservatives, to the Ku Klux Klan and characterizing the organization as “deviant.”
4. He is cultivating relationships with anti-gay hate groups.
As has been widely reported, the American Family Association — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an “anti-gay hate group” — organized and funded in large measure Perry’s Aug. 6 prayer rally in Houston. The Response, which drew around 30,000 attendees, was also affiliated with pastors who described the gay movement as coming from the “pit of hell” and who blamed Hurricane Katrina on gays. He has also reportedly spoken with several members of the New Apostolic Reformation in a June closed-door meeting aimed at developing a counter-strategy to Obama in 2012. Rachel Maddow described anti-gay sentiment as “prominent in NAR preaching, where hurricanes, tornadoes, dead birds and the rise of the Nazis are all blamed on gays and lesbians.”
5. And if you don’t agree with him, Perry thinks you should live elsewhere.
When asked by a local NBC anchor for his response to the gay veterans protesting the new constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2005, Perry retorted, “Texans made a decision about marriage and if there’s a state that has more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that’s a better place for them to live.”