Tony Perkins, head of the antigay Family Research Council, is “saddened” by the news about former GOP heavy weight Ken Mehlman coming out as gay, according to an email to supporters he sent during a break from his vacation. Perkins (pictured) says that Mehlman has “chosen” to identify himself as gay. I guess Perkins didn’t read Mehlman’s interview with The Atlantic or skipped that part where it took Mehlman 43 years to “choose” that identity.
But there are so many other interesting tid-bits in Perkins’ email. Look at the phrase “unfortunate confirmation” – now what does Perkins mean by that? That he, too, knew that Mehlman’s sexual orientation was an “open secret” in Washington DC and Republican circles? If that’s true – why didn’t Perkins reach out to Mehlman, whom he says he “cares about as a person,” and invite him to join an “ex-gay” ministry with which FRC is connected? Hmmmm? Might he have thought that Mehlman’s sexual orientation was none of his business? A personal matter? But wait – Perkins thinks every other gay person’s personal life is his business so why make an exception for Mehlman? Or perhaps if Mehlman had said yes and then the “cure” failed – and Mehlman, having been exposed for trying – exposes the truth about “ex-gay” ministries – that they don’t work? Geez – and then he trots out the old homosexual-”conduct”-causes-disease trope – long discredited but still a money-maker with his unquestioning crowd.
But best of all is Perkins’ conspiracy theory – that Mehlman having been closeted all this time “helps explain the scandalous failure of many in the Republican establishment to vigorously uphold the values and policy positions expressed in the party’s platform in 2004 and 2008, particularly the need to protect the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman nationwide.”
Yup – that’s it: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and all the other top right wing GOP leaders were afraid of blowing Mehlman’s secret or hurting his feelings so they refused to do the “grassroots” bidding. Never mind that that GOP team under Mehlman was responsible for antigay marriage constitutional amendments in 11 states in 2004 and 8 states in 2006. Not good enough.
I would love to be a fly on the wall when Mehlman and Perkins encounter each other again.
Here’s Perkins email to supporters:
The Update remains on Summer break and will return next week, but I wanted to respond to inquires and concerns that have been expressed about the news that former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has now chosen to identify himself as homosexual.
First, I am saddened by this announcement. I’m saddened because I know Ken and care about him as a person. Homosexuality not only has negative implications for society, it also has profound, well-documented negative physical and mental health consequences for those who engage in homosexual conduct as well.
This unfortunate confirmation helps explain the scandalous failure of many in the Republican establishment to vigorously uphold the values and policy positions expressed in the party’s platform in 2004 and 2008, particularly the need to protect the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman nationwide. While grassroots activists succeeded in passing marriage amendments in dozens of states across the country, they received little support and even outright resistance from Party officials at the national level, which contributed to the GOP’s electoral failures in 2006 and 2008. Now we know one of the major reasons why.
With this announcement about his homosexuality, Ken also announced that he would join those who have mounted the assault on marriage through the activist courts. Not only does this run counter to the historical principles of the Republican Party, it stands in direct opposition to the Party’s platform which is clear on the importance of marriage and family. The Party’s unequivocal stand on life, marriage, and family is why many social conservatives have made the GOP their political home.
It is important for the conservative movement that the Republican Party remains committed to its longtime stance on core social issues. The Party and the movement will suffer if the GOP adopts a foolish strategy of seeking votes by pandering to the two-percent of the population who are homosexual or bisexual–and thereby alienating the majority of conservative voters.
** When the news about Mehlman hit the wires this morning, FRC’s two Kens–Blackwell and Klukowski–tackled the tough road ahead for the Republican Party in a brand new column. “If Republicans flinch on marriage,” they write,” America could have eight years of President Obama.” You can check out their op-ed, “Disaster Looms If GOP Changes Course On Gay Marriage,” on Fox News now.