WASHINGTON — Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, has accepted — somewhat — an invitation to dinner in the home of a married, same-sex couple and their family.
The invitation, from Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council, a group that advocates for LGBT families, came in response to Perkin’s appearance on CNN last week in which he said he had never been to the home of a gay couple.
In a letter sent to Perkins on Friday, Chrisler wrote, “I was struck by your steadfast opposition to full equality for the 1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents who are raising 2 million children in our country today. It is especially concerning given your lack of meaningful and personal interaction with those families.”
I, like you, am a parent. Like you, my spouse and I have shared many years together committed to our family, our community, and to making the world a better place. I imagine we share many of the same joys and struggles in doing the important work of raising our children and contributing meaningfully to our community.
We attend church regularly and our children attend Sunday school weekly. We love our children intensely and feel a deep desire to protect and nurture them as they continue along their journey to adulthood. We are also anxiously awaiting the arrival of our third child, due in August, and have worked since his conception to ensure his health and welfare. This is the face of the one million families you have taken no time to get to know.
I think if you could spend meaningful time with any of us, you would find we share many of the same values that you have worked to teach your own children.
So it is with that in mind that I come to you with this sincere offer. 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. While I recognize it may not change your mind, I hope that it might soften your heart. As Christians, I think we can both agree that ours is not to judge and that we must live by the golden rule. I open my table to you and invite you to get to know me and my family.
Even if nothing comes of the experience, at least you can say you spent time with our families and knew us and still deny us our equality. But I know you will find that our families have much in common and share the same hopes and dreams for our children.
— Jennifer Chrisler
Perkins, in a curiously worded statement sent to CNN on Monday, responded to the invitation, saying, “My wife and I will be glad to respond when we receive the invitation to find a time that works.”