WASHINGTON — Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, on Tuesday fired back Tuesday at critics who claim his recent appointment to the Louisiana state Law Enforcement Commission is political payback by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Perkins, whose organization has been designated as an anti-gay “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was quietly appointed to the commission earlier this year by Jindal.
Perkins said “the SPLC has a cozy relationship with the U.S. Department of Justice and leverages that connection to intimidate local school boards into adopting pro-homosexuality policies.”
He claimed that the SPLC uses similar tactics with local law enforcement.
“I know a lot about the Southern Poverty Law Center, and I’m sure it’s not comforting for them to know that I can share that information with the law enforcement community,” Perkins said. “This is a very dangerous group.”
Perkins said he plans to expose the center, although he refused to detail how he plans to do so.
Josh Glasstetter, Campaign Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that Perkins’ “veiled threat about somehow exposing us to law enforcement is laughable.”
“Tony Perkins has made it clear that he knows nothing about the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Glasstetter. “We work with law enforcement agencies to protect officers and the public at large from violent extremists. We also work with schools to help prevent bullying and provide equal protection for students. “
“Perkins thinks it’s hateful for us to point out his own group’s hatred of gays and lesbians. He’s shamelessly exploited a tragedy to help advance this false equivalence,” he said.
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.
Article continues belowUnder 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.
Jindal, a Republican, stayed out of the dispute, and issued a prepared statement Tuesday that he is “confident that Tony will work diligently to fulfill the mission of the board and serve the people of Louisiana well.”
The 50-member commission oversees awarding grants, training of police officers, and regulates law enforcement activity across the state.
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.