Evangelical leader Tony Perkins knocks Rand Paul's 'gay' remark
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says the issue of same-sex marriage is not "a laughing matter."
May 14th, 2012
03:09 PM ET

Evangelical leader Tony Perkins knocks Rand Paul's 'gay' remark

By Becky Perlow, CNN

Washington (CNN) - You may disagree with it, but you shouldn’t make fun of it.

That’s what conservative Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told CBS’s "Face the Nation" on Sunday about U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s arguably derogatory use of the term “gay.”

“The president, you know, recently weighed in on marriage,” Paul, a Kentucky Republican, remarked to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative group, on Friday. “And, you know, he said that his views were evolving on marriage. And call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure that his views on marriage could get any gayer.”

The audience burst into a laughter that echoed all the way to the Sunday talk show tables, where opposing sides weighed in, from gay rights activist and singer Clay Aiken to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

But Perkins’criticism of Paul’s comments was noteworthy because Perkins is one of the nation’s best-known opponents of same-sex marriage and of gay rights more broadly.

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Condemning Paul’s remarks on Sunday, Perkins said the debate over homosexuality and same-sex marriage is not “a laughing matter.”

“I don’t think this is something we should joke about,” Perkins said on "Face the Nation." “We are talking about individuals who feel very strongly one way or the other, and I think we should be civil, respectful, allowing all sides to have the debate.”

While Perkins’ comments caught many by surprise, Aaron McQuade, director of news and field media for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said he doesn’t believe Perkins was defending the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“I think he was saying that he takes this issue so seriously that it’s not okay to make light of it, even if you also oppose it the way he does,” McQuade said in a phone interview.

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“This is not a man who represents the 40-whatever percent of the country that does not support marriage equality,” McQuade said. “This is a man who represents a tiny, tiny, fraction of Americans who believes, as he does, that gay people have an emptiness within them. That they are abnormal.”

The Family Research Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

McQuade also said it was hard to tell what Paul meant by using the word “gayer.” “If that same comment was made by someone with a more pro-LGBT history, it likely would not be taken negatively,” he said.

On CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday, Perkins told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley that opposition to same-sex marriage shouldn’t be the “central point” of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign. But Perkins also admitted frustration with Capitol Hill Republicans who are portraying the issue as a political distraction.

“Defending the family, the cornerstone of civilization, is not a distraction,” he said, while stressing that the economy and jobs are also key issues in this election. “It should be a priority, and it should be a part of what Mitt Romney talks about.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Gay marriage

soundoff (414 Responses)
  1. keeth

    Well, that goes to show Rand Paul's level of intelligence and compassion. He's just a hater.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Frank Tillery

      Unfortunately, he is a hater with followers.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  2. MiketheElectrician

    Come follow me and I will make you fishers of Men!, hmmm.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  3. JJC

    Tony Perkins is not an 'Evangelical Leader'...he is the leader of the Family Research Council....designated a HATE GROUP. Callin him by any other name legitimizes his and his group....it is no different then labeling the grand wizard of the KKK a 'Political Activist'...it distracts from the truth of who and what this man is.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  4. me138

    This article is gay.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  5. Mateo

    A bigot is a bigot...

    May 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  6. SokrMom

    It's nice to know that the Right is beginning to appreciate the value of political correctness, but even people who "respectfully" refuse equal rights to gays are, in my book, motivated entirely by bigotry. As for Rand Paul, anyone who decides to modify his name (which is Randy) for purposes of courting conservatives is a serious lightweight.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  7. millmaster

    Conservative should not = use of government force to break up stable families. This anti-American do-gooder wants to defile the American promises of liberty and equality in order to suit his religious choice.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  8. ray

    priebus the nazi is back. look at this guy face and tell me the honest truth if he is not a racists. any honest, smart voter on the right vote for romney has no integrity or dignity.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  9. feckless

    The Family Research Council has been designated a HATE GROUP by MLK's organization the SCLC.

    But yeah, just because he's a political terrorist with strong ties to actual terrorists who murder Doctors, why not give him a platform CNN!

    Its right that CNN honors MLK only one day a year, because the other 364 CNN does nothing but glorify the ideology of the people who called him a communist and aplauded when he was murdered.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  10. Matteo

    Perhaps he meant "more gay" rather than gayer?

    May 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  11. Carly

    To make light of this issue was what racists did to the movement for black equality forty years ago. Pathetic. Our government is run by God or the Bible. But is by elected MEN of the people and they people are generally accepting. Its only this incredibly vocal minority full of hatred and cruelty that would hold equal rights from their fellow Americans. Real patriotic.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  12. SFC Mike

    Interesting bit about "defending the family." Let's see, I'm a southern white male, married (to a woman), have 2 kids, (and a whole bunch of dawgs and cats). If every gay couple in the US got married tomorrow, it wouldn't affect my family (or anyone else's but the people getting married) one bit. Not one bit. It's a bad joke that this is even an issue. If they're freely consenting adults, it's their business and nobody else's.

    Since when did being "conservative" mean having your snout in how other people live their private lives if they are doing no real harm to anyone?

    May 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Keyboard Cat

      That's a good question but with a seemingly dumb answer...politics. The right wing politicians ran further right and that's where we are now. The politics driven by the few don't reflect the reality...most voters, even many conservatives, are fine with gay marriage. That doesn't mean they necessarily support it – many are just indifferent and could care less either way. The extremists driving the politics behind the anti-marriage issues are just cracking the whip at their politicians.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • SokrMom

      You are confused. What you are describing is not conservatism, particularly in recent years. What you are describing is libertarianism. It's actually a mystery to me what conservatism is these days beyond religion. There are people who believe that there is a such a thing as a "fiscal conservative," but all the Republican administrations of the last 30 years ran huge deficits, so there is certainly a huge gap between Republicans' words and actions in that respect.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  13. Donald "ORANGE JULIUS" Trump

    President Obama, a man of extraordinary courage, came out in support of fundamental human rights. Something no one in the republican party has enough integrity to do. The most weak minded among them, like Rand Paul, look like barnyard pigs laughing about basic human dignity.

    Although Mr. Perkins lacks Mr. Obama's courage and integrity, he is at least able to understand that having pigs like Rand Paul laughing about basic human rights on television, doesn't do the republican party any favors.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • LaTuya83

      I love how everyone is prasing Obama about this, but he has done absolutely nothing and will do nothing to change or put in legislation that will allow gays to marry. He just talks a big game and the Libtards love it.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Trill

      Rights? Dignity? They have none, we have tolarated, they keep pushing. Maybe its time to play the old game smear the.....So they shut up.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  14. Tr1Xen

    This article is so gay. lol

    May 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  15. ME II

    Is the family really "the cornerstone of civilization?" or even a foundation?

    May 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • sam

      The trouble starts with the definition of 'family'.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  16. jms58

    Ir's mine and you can't hav it. This is so ridiculous. I am learning that most of this country is inhabited by idiots.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • ME II

      Learning that just now, are you?

      May 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  17. bk

    We don't need a President telling us to accept gays or how we should think, the bible does that for us and its a union between a woman and a man to make one flesh. Everyone knows that hole is for exit only. Come on people.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Joeoc2002

      Go back to your cave.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "We don't need a President telling us to accept gays or how we should think, the bible does that for us"

      The bible tells you how to think? Wow.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • SFC Mike

      "...or how we should think. The bible does that for us." Not to burst your bubble, but if something "tells you how to think" then you're not thinking, you're simply following directions, not thinking.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • ChristopherM

      Bless your heart, you probably think the earth is only 6,000 years old too.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      LOL the bible tells you what to thing, eh? You do know it was men who wrote and edited that book, right?

      May 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • alex chapman

      I don't follow 'your" Bible. I choose to follow the Four Gospels of Jesus Christ which is ABSOLUTELY SILENT on the subject. Jesus does say many times to love each other as the Loving Father loves each & every one of his creations.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • jnpa

      The president isn't telling us any such thing. All he said is that he is in favor of gay marriage. That does not mean anyone has to agree with him, nor does it mean he has the power to authorize it. So everyone should really get over it and get on with their lives!

      May 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Gustavo Flores

      So if the bible tells you to think, then you think the Sun moves around the Earth and the Earth is flat, slaves should listen to their masters and women are least than men, the list goes on.. men!! are you on something..

      May 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • sgurdog

      That's exactly the problem with your religion, you end up using it as an excuse for your own personal hatred and insecurities. That's why we are a SECULAR nations a$$hol e.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • steven harnack

      The President told us how HE thinks. If you think that means that you are being told how to think then gays getting married should be the very least of your problems. First you need to figure out HOW to think, then practice for a while, then maybe you'll be ready to form some opinions.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • LaTuya83

      According to your bible God created men in his own image, yet there are gay people in the world. What does that say about your God? Hopefully you're not too dumb to follow the logic here.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Janine from TX

      "The bible does it for us". You go ahead and let your bible tell you what to do with your own life, but leave it the heck out of our government and especially my life. Therein lies the problem with the extreme right today; trying to impose their narrow view of the world on the rest of us. How is that any different from the Taliban? Blind faith is trouble.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • netofunk

      You're obviously joking around. I refuse to believe you are serious. Did you know that 2 verses above the one in the book of Leviticus where it demands we kill gay people, there is instructions on how much silver to collect when selling your daughter in to slavery. So, I'm guessing according to your logic, that too, is okay. After-all, the bible says so!

      May 15, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Dilly

      Back to the cave? So you are saying that inserting a .... into a... is evolution hahahahahahahahha! maybe you should go back to YOUR cave!

      May 15, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  18. Denise

    He can't be a real evangelical con man. He doesn't have the plastic hair. The shiny shark teeth fit though.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  19. momoya

    You don't say.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  20. Queen Gertrude

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
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