Head of Anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, Appointed to International Religious Freedom Commission

By Adam Polaski • May 15, 2018 • 6:43 pm

Today, May 15, Tony Perkins, the president of the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, was appointed for a new post on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The federal agency has existed since 1998.

The appointment was made at the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Perkins, who will maintain his leadership role at the Family Research Council, has a lengthy history of promoting anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and falsehoods. The USCIRF is a bipartisan entity tasked with monitoring breaches of religious freedom abroad — but Perkins has a history of falsely invoking religious freedom, among other tools, as a means to advance discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Perkins is the latest in a long line of anti-LGBTQ leaders who have taken high-profile, prominent positions within the United States government.

Masen Davis, Freedom for All Americans CEO, said today:

“Tony Perkins does not embody the values that many Americans would associate with religious freedom – values like treating others the way we’d like to be treated ourselves, respecting those with whom you disagree, and demonstrating a reverence for the many different faiths and types of people who make our country so strong. It’s unfortunate that this appointment to the USCIRF will provide Tony Perkins and his colleagues at the Family Research Council yet another platform to spread deceptive and, often, hateful messages about many people – including LGBTQ Americans.”

Tony Perkins played a leading role in shaping the GOP’s 2016 platform, which emerged with numerous virulently anti-LGBTQ planks. In his capacity as head of the Family Research Council and beyond, Perkins has:

  • Insisted that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem”
  • Called efforts to tackle anti-LGBTQ bullying “disgusting”
  • Referred to the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in apocalyptic terms, saying it’s “literally about the entire culture: it’s about the rule of law, it’s about the country, it’s about our future.”

“There are many conservatives who understand that securing freedom and opportunity for LGBTQ people is consistent with conservative values,” added Davis. “Tony Perkins is absolutely not one of those individuals. His appointment to USCIRF does not advance religious freedom, and goes against the values that so many Americans from all walks of life hold dear.”

Learn more about anti-LGBTQ activists in our Eye on the Opposition series. 

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