May 28th, 2012
05:36 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – A conservative Christian leader who opposes same-sex marriage has agreed to the idea of dining at the home of a married gay couple, after saying he had never done so in an interview with CNN.
Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council in Washington, received the invitation after telling CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Thursday that he’d never been to the home of a married same-sex couple.
"My wife and I will be glad to respond when we receive the invitation to find a time that works," Perkins said in a statement to CNN on Monday, referring to the invitation.
The Family Research Council has helped lead a national movement to ban same-sex marriage, helping pass anti-same-sex marriage laws in dozens of states.
The invitation to Perkins came from Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of a gay rights group called Family Equality Council. Chrisler and her wife have twin 10-year-old boys, with another child on the way.
“I would like to extend an open invitation for you and your family to visit my home and have dinner with my spouse and children with the full hope that you will witness the love that exists in our families,” Chrisler wrote in her invitation, which was sent to the Family Research Council by certified mail on Friday, according to a spokesman with Family Equality Council.
“While I recognize it may not change your mind, I hope that it might soften your heart,” Chrisler said in her invitation, which was sent to news media. “As Christians, I think we can both agree that ours is not to judge and that we must live by the golden rule.”
In an interview with Baldwin on Monday, Chrisler said she was surprised that Perkins accepted her invitation. She said she had been inspired to send it after seeing President Barack Obama announce his personal support for same-sex marriage earlier this month.
She noted that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden said that getting to know same-sex couples who are raising kids played a big role in their decisions to support same-sex marriage.
“I tell my 10-year-olds, if you’re having problems with somebody, if you don’t understand them and they don’t understand you, talking to each other is the first step,” Chrisler said Monday.
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