BATON ROUGE, La. — The leader of an anti-gay hate group has been appointed to the Louisiana state Law Enforcement Commission, a group which oversees awarding grants, training of police officers, and regulates law enforcement activity across the state.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an organization designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its deceptive propaganda targeting LGBT Americans, was appointed to the commission by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.
A spokesperson for Jindal confirmed Perkins’ appointment Wednesday, and said Perkins’ appointment had also been confirmed by the state Senate.
Perkins, who maintains a part-time residence in Baton Rouge, had previously served two terms as a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, and is a former police officer and television reporter.
The 50-member commission is comprised of persons appointed by the Governor, and meets quarterly.
Since becoming president of the FRC in September 2003, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” opposes marriage equality and adoption by LGBT people.
Perkins continues to advocate and lobby the U.S. Congress to pass a federal marriage amendment to overturn state laws where same-sex marriage is legal, and to define marriage in the U.S. as between one man and one woman.
Under his leadership, the FRC was classified as an anti-gay hate group by the SPLC, which characterized the group as a source of “anti-gay propaganda,” including repeatedly conflating sexual orientation and gender identity with pedophilia.
Louisiana — which still maintains an unenforceable anti-sodomy law 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down sodomy laws across the nation — recently came under national scrutiny after the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s office used the law to arrest gay men for agreeing to have private, consensual sex in their homes with undercover agents.
The local District Attorney later threw out the arrests.
“The problem is that Governor Jindal is appointing a person who still believes in sodomy,” said Adrienne Critcher, the Political Director for Shreveport based PACE, a bipartisan LGBTQ equality organization. “This almost sounds like an owed political favor.”
Article continues below“The Governor’s office has tried to fly this under the radar,” said Critcher, noting that the only public announcement of Perkins’ appointment was made in a “public notice” in the local Baton Rouge daily newspaper.
Matthew Patterson, a political coordinator for Equality Louisiana who has been working with local law enforcement on training with emphasis towards sensitivity for LGBT issues, told LGBTQ Nation that Perkins’ appointment to the Commission is of “great concern.”
“Tony Perkins is one of the country’s loudest and most hateful anti-LGBT ideologues, so his presence on a commission that oversees training standards for Louisiana’s peace officers seriously undermines the credibility and quality of any training they might receive,” said Patterson. “He has no business on this commission.”
Perkins did not respond to a phone call and email request for comment from LGBTQ Nation.