GOP rel. rt. leader: Gay marriage caused Santa Barbara murder rampage

Ken Blackwell, a high-profile representative of the officially-designated “hate group” Family Research Council, and a former lead Republican party voice, declared last week that the brutal mass-murders at the University of California Santa Barbara were due, in part, to gay marriage.

Speaking with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on an FRC radio show, Blackwell explained that, in the context of the Santa Barbara massacre, guns don’t kill people, gay marriage kills people.

Via RightWingWatch, here’s Blackwell’s explanation for the shooting rampage:

Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

As you may have heard, 22-year-old UC Santa Barbara student Elliot Rodger stabbed his three roommates to death, then went to a nearby sorority and shot three women, killing two of them. He then went to a deli and shot another student to death.  And then he drove down the street shooting as many pedestrians as he could, finally shooting himself in the head.

All of Rodgers’ guns were legally obtained.

Understandably, the Rodgers rampage is a bit of a black eye for the pro-gun movement, so the FRC, doing what it does best, tried to blame the mass murder on gays.

Gun via Shutterstock

Gun via Shutterstock

There’s a reason that the Family Research Council has been officially declared a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And there’s a reason that civil rights advocates criticize CNN and NPR and other media outlets that treat FRC, and like-minded religious right activists, as if they’re simply “family values” voices in the larger civilized discussion over politics in Washington. FRC’s record is anything but civilized.

I started tracking the Family Research Council back in 1993 when I was volunteering late-nights in Senator Kennedy’s office. My job at the time was to take every single FRC anti-gay “report,” find the original sources for their voluminous multi-page footnotes, and check whether the citations were real. They weren’t. I was shocked at the depth and breadth of deception.

The FRC would include the most heinous accusations, and condemnations, of gays in their reports and then include a footnote, making it clear that they had “hard facts” to back up their claims. In fact, the footnotes would often be to things like the minority opinion in a court case we actually won. Or some convoluted “analysis” of a legitimate study, reaching a “conclusions” that simply wasn’t born out by the study itself.

Then there was my favorite. It was a damning “fact” that FRC included from some august study. I don’t remember the quote or the study now, it was 20 years ago, but I remember the deception, clear as day. In a nutshell, FRC was going off about how bad gays were, and they included a super-damning quote.  The text read something like this (again, I’m making up the actual text I’m using here):

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell

Study after study shows how dangerous the gay lifestyle is. The Regis study from Harvard was particularly damning about the dangers of being gay. “We looked at thousands of individual gays and analyzed the health risks associated with their sexual practices. It was clear from the research that gays are diseased pedophiles who will stop at nothing to practice their depravity.

A second study backs this up. From the esteemed Blahblah institute…..

It was a particularly damning quote from a particularly high-brow, reputable study. I kept pouring through the source document, the original study itself, and could only find the first, benign, half of the quote. I just couldn’t find the second half, the damning half. Keep in mind that this was pre-Internet, so in order to find such quotes you had to actually read through the entire paper copy of each study. I figured I must have missed the quote, so went back again.

Finally it dawned on me. That second half of the quote wasn’t there. Why?  Because FRC “forgot” to put an end quote after the phrase “sexual practices.” The damning part of the quote, the second part of it, was FRC’s own conclusion, not the study’s. The part of the quote that actually came from the study was benign. But since FRC “forgot” to include the closing quotation mark, you were misled into thinking there was a damning quote from an esteemed study.  Trust me, visually it was extremely difficult to figure out that the quote wasn’t a quote.

Now, did FRC do this on purpose? Did they intentionally mislead by quoting from the minority opinion of a court case in order to make it appear that a high-level court was on their side in a case that gays actually won? Has the organization’s two decades of “misinterpreting” the actual results of legitimate research been wilful?

There’s a reason the Family Research Council has been officially designated a hate group. There is a fundamental dishonesty and animus that oozes from these people. And at some point, more in the mainstream media need to start treating FRC accordingly.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Janell Elizabeth Meyer

    “You have to be some kind of ultimate loser when you can’t get laid by any woman at all in a college town in spite of the fact that you’re a “gentleman” driving a daddy-bought black BMW 3-series.

    He wasn’t trying very hard. I mean just cruise the bars around 1:30 a.m. and look for any unattached young woman you can find and tell her you think she’s hot. If you’re 22 and still a virgin, you can’t be all that picky. Gotta start somewhere.”

    Maybe he really was socially awkward. It DOES seem a little weird that having money and being able to buy nice clothes and have a nice car couldn’t help him socially in California, but appearances aren’t everything. I see people I consider extremely unattractive, but they have girlfriends/boyfriends. I don’t think what he did was right, but I understand what it’s like to be lonely. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 39. Didn’t get laid until I was 39. I was gainfully employed, have a four-year college degree had drive and ambition, and there are a hell of a lot of women fatter and uglier than I am. Does that make me a loser? Maybe we need to be a little kinder to each other. And maybe people (men especially) should be more open to getting help if they are socially awkward.

  • BillFromDover

    How can gay marriage find time for this when it it already consumed with hurricanes and tornadoes?

    And isn’t all its spare time already allocated to floods of Biblical proportions and burning down the western half of the country?

    Obviously, this guy is full of shit.

  • KentPerry

    The “Real Reason” Buddy?? What would THAT be?

  • fry1laurie

    I’ll always remember Blackwell as being at the forefront of voter suppression efforts in his tenure as Ohio Secretary of State. His influence in that matter is now nationwide, to the country’s detriment.

  • Henry Owen

    Thanks Duke, and TF.

  • The_Fixer

    Yeah, but John doesn’t get the ad revenue. Like this site? Keep the ads. Otherwise it will be impossible for John to carry on here. He’s not one of the Koch brothers, he can’t afford to do this without the ad money.

  • The_Fixer

    There is an easy solution. In the upper-right corner of the picture in the ad, there’s a little X. Click on it, and it will then it will ask you what you found wrong with the ad. I clicked on “inappropriate” (in my mind, it is) and it will stop appearing in the future. Of course you need to have cookies enabled (which is by default in most browsers).

    Do note that every time you clear your cookies, and if you have your browser set to clear all history and cookies on exit, it will reappear.

    Setting your ad preferences is the best solution I can think of. It allows John to get sorely-needed ad revenue, but you don’t have to look at that disgusting picture (or any other disgusting ads).

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    Meh, I generally can’t stand proselytizers. I only gave these two guys the time of day because they were so polite, kind, and clearly conscientious.

    Their neutral reaction to learning I was an atheist was a major plus too.

  • Badgerite

    They ( the anti gay organizations ) are losing their court cases for a reason. The ‘good of society’ arguments are along these lines and get more ridiculous the closer you look at them.
    What is left is, as John says, animus. And that is not an constitutionally acceptable basis of law.

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    Add Ad Block Plus to your browser. Ads gone!

  • Duke Woolworth

    It’s “poring,” not “pouring.” Damn spell check.

  • chrislib

    I thought it was because Obama’s weather machine made girls run away from that dorky kid.

  • Henry Owen

    Could you PLEASE not have that Nail Fungus ad on your site? The photo is utterly disgusting. Thanks.

  • Ninong

    In other news: With 98% of precincts reporting, Sarah Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel leads 6-term Republican Senator Thad Cochran by 2,500 votes in the Mississippi Republican party primary for US Senate. Either way, the Republican candidate is virtually guaranteed to win in November but if it’s McDaniel, that will make for a much more interesting race. Much more interesting!

    All of the GOP establishment backed Cochran and all of the “conservative” PACs backed McDaniel. A couple of weeks ago four McDaniel campaign-affiliated men were arrested and charged with conspiracy related to an earlier trespassing incident involving one of them slipping into Senator Cochran’s wife’s bedroom at the extended care facility where she has been living for the past dozen or so years and taking video of her. She suffers from advanced dementia.

    The Democratic candidate will be able to run an unrestricted race against McDaniel, something he wouldn’t have been able to do against Cochran, who has been in the senate for the past 36 years and is a relatively moderate Republican. It’s Mississippi, so the Republican candidate will almost certainly win but you never know. At least it will be interesting to watch to see if Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and take a strong stand for McDaniel. The entire GOP will rally around him if he’s the GOP nominee but let’s see just how close they’re willing to get to a genuine Tea Party guy who defeated their guy.

  • Ninong

    Ken Blackwell is the guy who rigged the vote in the state of Ohio in the 2004 presidential election back when he was Ohio Secretary of State, as well as the state’s chief elections official, as well as co-chair of the Bush re-election campaign.

  • 4th Turning

    Maybe I’m just seeing what I’m hoping/looking for but agree there is much positive
    coming from very many gay and straight millennials. I guess I’d feel better if the same
    tide was lifting boats elsewhere, too. These posts often wind up leading me far afield-
    happened across a story/interview about michael lucas on another blog and was
    reminded of last feb.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnuo9IGZqkU

  • Ninong

    Elliot Rodger went on his killing rampage because he wanted revenge on all the women who wouldn’t have sex with him, especially blondes, as well as all the jock types they found more attractive than him, even though he was a “gentleman.” You have to be some kind of ultimate loser when you can’t get laid by any woman at all in a college town in spite of the fact that you’re a “gentleman” driving a daddy-bought black BMW 3-series.

    He wasn’t trying very hard. I mean just cruise the bars around 1:30 a.m. and look for the drunkest unattached young woman you can find and tell her you think she’s hot. If you’re 22 and still a virgin, you can’t be all that picky. Gotta start somewhere.

  • 4th Turning

    I’m crazy pro-irish, pro-palestinian, etc. Heart-rending news out of Ireland today
    re mass graves of children. mormon, evangelical, etc. shit will never equal
    catholic. Sikhs in this country can’t get justice for on of their own.
    Anyway, thought you might find this amusing?

    http://a.disquscdn.com/get?url=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent-b-ams.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-xap1%2Ft1.0-9%2F10314739_338381549620450_1414349441153416023_n.jpg&key=ZGpCxULy3gsC2gbTfOOQxw&w=600&h=311

  • pappyvet

    This man is a first class gilt edged butt munch with undoubtedly questionable cooking skills and a bad moustache .However , you are beautiful when you are angry. And I truly hope some idiot reads this and is disfigured by my blatantly gay tease . They are unable in their mental frailty and emotional cowardice to kill that one thing that separates us from base creatures such as themselves. That one thing that proclaims in a voice that forces them to twist their sick faces into a sour countenance and demand brutality on every level. That thing my friend is Love.
    “Love knows no bounds,” proclaimed the poet and no truer words were ever spoken.
    We will win. As sure as the sunrise and as undeniable as tenderness leads to courage.

  • LanceThruster

    Man up and take some responsibility for once in your life.

    That would presume some sort of integrity and a functioning thought process…clearly not in evidence.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, well, Chuck Todd is himself an utter ass-clown. He’s constantly looking for excuses to rag on progressives and to promote rancid, illogical conservative BS as if it smells like sweet cream.

    Plus he’s exactly the sort who will have two guests on his show, like, “Here’s a gay rights advocate you’ve never heard about and who is somewhat nervous and inexperienced… and on the other side, we have someone who’s been managing to say on the air for decades that gay people are all monsters should be killed. Let’s have a debate!”

  • Yung Patriot

    Ken, people in glass houses should not throw stones. Look at the divorce rate in the evangelical community: it is higher than the average. That is because you encourage kids to marry young (can’t have sex until they are married) when they are not as mature in relationships and do not have the income needed to support their family (#1 reason for divorce is arguments over money).

    Man up and take some responsibility for once in your life.

  • 51franco

    Yes but not only the tragic shooting. It causes diabetes, high blood pressure and jock itch too.

  • LanceThruster

    The stupid is strong in this one.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Sounds like a fascinating experience. And I’m actually totally cool with those who want to proselytize, as long as they respect boundaries — and don’t insist I’m automatically doomed to eternal damnation if I happen to disagree with them.

    I’ll admit, it must be really hard to be a Muslim in this country these days. It would be good if one day, someone saying they’re a Muslim is considered as unremarkable — and animus free — as it is now for someone to say they’re Catholic. Or Irish.

  • http://www.bloomsburyreview.com Webster

    It’s infuriating. Chuck Todd trotted this clown out a couple of weeks ago and treated him as though he was somehow respectable and a viable voice on marriage equality. I haven’t watched The Daily Rundown since, and wrote and told them why.

    There should be no let-up even when equality has been achieved. It doesn’t matter if it’s in marriage or in employment or in housing or any other sector of society. Never be complacent because there will always, always be people who will try and take away your equality and your rights. Stand firm, never give an inch, fight back, root out every hue and taint of prejudice–if we don’t, someone *will* set their sights on returning segments of society to second-class citizenship. Be vigilant, be strong, speak out.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Study after study shows that right-winged homosexophobes will take any heinous incident of gun violence to make excuses for the behavior while diverting the real reason for such acts.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    It’s interesting, Becca.

    I ran into a couple of Muslim proselytizers at the farmers market in KC on Saturday, and had the most engaging and positive conversation I’ve ever had with religious promoters in my life. (And this was after I talked to them about how I’m an atheist.)

    We discussed the current incendiary climate for Muslims, and the older man told me he has hope for the country because he’s lived long enough to see how social relations evolve for religious and ethnic minorities and referenced our history of oppression against Catholics and Irish people, who are now strongly integrated.

    I’m glad I’m alive to see society evolving for the better with regards to the gay community.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yes, it really gets better. My wife and I are married, something we did not think would be allowed in our lifetimes. And when we tell people that we’re married, the vast majority of the time, it’s treated like a non-event, ordinary, no big deal.

    Hateful bile-filled old bigots like Helms are dying off, and are being replaced by youngsters who, on average, think it’s cool when they know a gay or lesbian headed family.

  • 4th Turning

    Does it really get better, John? (This ring a bell?)

    Over the years Helms has declared homosexuality “degenerate,” and homosexuals “weak, morally sick wretches.” (Newsweek, 12/5/94) In a tirade highlighting his routine opposition to AIDS research funding, Helms lashed out at the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988: “There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.” (States News Service, 5/17/88)
    Sen. Jesse Helms says the government should spend less money on people with AIDS because they got sick as a result of “deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct,” The New York Times reported Wednesday….
    “We’ve got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts,” Helms told the Times.

  • The_Fixer

    When I read the headline to this story, I wanted to make a flippant comment about these nutcases and leave it at that. After all, who could take them seriously?

    However, the longer I thought about it, the angrier I got. Yes, some like-minded idiots do take them seriously. These asswipes have been after us for quite a long time, and we need to defeat them once and for all. We need to fight them with everything we’ve got until they are broke, spent, and so completely crippled that they are no longer a danger to us.

    This is Pride month. Many an activist has spent many years fighting for our right to be considered legitimate and to live our lives free from discrimination and stigma that has kept us second-class citizens for far too long. Not fighting back is, in effect, a slap in the face to all those who have fought so hard to give us the gains we’ve made and have been manifest in things like marriage equality.

    On the surface, this may seem to be a stupid comment that can’t be taken seriously. To think that is a mistake; it’s really a call to arms (so to speak) and I for one will not rest until these people are relegated to the dustbin of history.

    Because that’s what they are: dirt. And yes, I am fightin’ mad. You should be, too.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Fascinating observation there, John — and personally I’m with you. I rather doubt that missing quote symbol was unintentional. I’ve spent more time than I care to, going over their anti-gay propaganda, and they use all the tricks. I come at it from the debating angle and see every dishonest tactic we students were taught never to use, else be disqualified.

    The problem for the anti-gay bigots is the old assertions and rationales just don’t work anymore. In the past it was enough to say, “Tradition! Religion! Also gay people are icky perverts, everybody knows that.”

    Eventually, those assertions were challenged by objective observations. “Hey, wait — wasn’t it ‘traditional’ to ban interracial marriage? Wasn’t it traditional for women not to have any rights? (And slavery itself was a Biblical tradition going back millennia.) There are lots of traditions we left behind as our culture matured.”

    And, “Hang on, religion alone won’t work as justification, because there are religious faiths that are okay with gay people. Plus we really are trying for a secular government and body of laws here, not theocratic rule…”

    And of course the scientists showed up: “Sorry, but sexual orientation is not ‘naturally’ heterosexual in every instance. Not for humans, and not for just about any other animal we’ve looked at. It’s not perversion, and gay people are definitely not the same thing as pedophiles. Here’s the data.”

    Faced with logic, a non-theological legal system, and objective research, the haters continued to spout the same lines — but then decided they’d try to refute the logic and objective science parts. Only it doesn’t work, except for those who want to hate gay people in the first place and will gladly absorb double-think notions.

    “Banning gay marriage will result in more straight marriages! It’ll mean more straight parents will raise their kids to be straight! It means there will be fewer broken homes!”

    “How?”

    “Magic!”

    Plus of course we know about Regnerus and Marks and all their other attempts to pretend to being scientists — except they can’t reach their predetermined conclusions except by lying, cheating, and misrepresenting data.

    If the homophobes are already so willing to embrace anything, any lie to support their animus towards gay people, it should come as no surprise they’ll do this. They’ll take a young, disturbed man with violent rape and murder fantasies because he wanted to OWN women as sex slaves, and was enraged when women refused to submit, and try to claim it’s because he was actually gay. And that because this murderous dweeb went on a misogyny-fueled rampage, it’s somehow justification to break up gay and lesbian families. All in the name of ‘restoring traditional families.’

    How? Magic!

  • 4th Turning

    I’m still bummed out on what caused the gop religious right…

  • 4th Turning

    Hope you find this blog as good a therapy as I do… You already know you’ve got a pile
    of friends here.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The surprise here isn’t that the statement is said, its the lack of any comment from Republicans.

    One thing I have learned is that when you have a lunatic attached to your cause there is no option but to dispose of them as soon as possible. And by lunatic I mean hate speech, threats of violence or both.

    Ken Blackwell is still considered a GOP player. He is the guy who sabotaged democratic elections in Ohio by making sure precincts with large numbers of Democrats ran out of ballots and had defective voting machines.

    Climbing the ladder by pointing at folk to hate is the oldest trick in the book. But the people doing it are boosting their position in the party at the cost of the party position in the country. The GOP already has all the gay hater vote that there is and Ken Blackwell isn’t going to make any more for them.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Because CNN and the rest of the ‘news-tertainment’ stations believe they will achieve higher ratings by putting opposite sides of any debate on screen and letting them yell at each other. We’re no longer in an age of journalism where some anchor or reporter would stop the yelling and interject, “Sorry Mr. Jones, but what you said is patently untrue and here is the evidence why.”

    We rarely get plain old ‘news’ anymore. What we get are opposing opinions about the news.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    ” I blame you.”

  • Hue-Man

    I was looking for the Falwell quote as you posted. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121322

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Don’t forget 9/11.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    We are a powerful people to do that. We were also blamed for Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

  • Monte Logan

    you already know that CNN and other news stations that should know better than to allow such garbage onto their stations do so for ratings. These people are beyond immoral and irrational, they are inhuman. we need to hurry up and put an end to “Christian” Organization while they’re week here in the U.S. I already know that some of them have some NON-ALLEGED ties in countries where the homophobia is worse and we need to sever those ties fast!

  • pappyvet

    “Those who understand the homosexual community—the activists—they’re very aggressive, they’re—everything they accuse us of they are in triplicate. They’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.”
    — Tony Perkins,

    Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • Elijah Shalis

    Wow just Wow. It is societies unrealistic standards coupled with Rodger’s mental health condition that caused it. People need to get a grip. I was in therapy from age 6 to now initially because I was a foster kid. They didn’t catch my bipolar and ADHD until I was 20. They missed it all those years. Rodgers only got good quality care at the end when it was too late. We really need to do something about mental health in this country. My insurance only covers 20 sessions a year, not the whole year.

  • emjayay

    Some Shutterstock photos are even worse than other Shutterstock photos.

  • PeteWa

    this corrupt piece of shit should be in jail for treason.

  • bkmn

    So why is any representative of FRC allowed an open, unchallenged guest shot on any of the major network news shows?

  • Badgerite

    I’m guessing said wing-nut is referring to the divorce of the boys heterosexual parents as the instigating factor in his unhappiness and attacks. (I’m playing devil’s advocate here. Literally. ) And the argument is that marriage equality ( same sex marriage ) is just another step down the path of disintegration of the family unit , along with allowing women to have access to contraception and taking away the social stigma and legal impediments to divorce. Marriage equality (same gender marriage ) is way too new to be blamed for the acts of this boy. So, basically, he’s arguing that societal changes allowing for more freedom of choice in our relationships has caused this tragedy. And therefore, allowing gays the same right to marry as anyone else is somehow just another step down the road too much freedom.
    The kids parents got divorced. But Mr. Martinez ( the father of Chris Martinez, one of the victims ) was interviewed by Huffington Post after meeting with the father of Rodgers. And the implication of the interview was that the boy had some serious mental health issues that would have arisen irregardless of their family situation. And I think that is demonstrably true from simply a cursory reading of the shooters writings. And the way he reacts to what most of us would classify as minor slights and snubs. He had much deeper problems then his parents divorce.
    To bring same-sex marriage into this is really quite a stretch. Especially since what is being asked of the law is that families of same-sex parents receive equal protection of the law. This isn’t even like divorce or contraception. This is about the validation and protection of families in existence.
    What he is arguing, then, is that in order to protect families of opposite-sex parents, you need to somehow demean those families of same-sex parents. So, explain to me how you protect families by demeaning families? The issue of same-sex marriage in no way relates to the issue of divorce.

  • keirmeister

    I love these religious right false prophet types. Talking about gun control in order to save lives is a SIN! Bearing false witness? Eh, not so much.

  • Indigo

    That’s so crazy it doesn’t have a point to refute. Prozac, maybe?

  • jomicur

    Do we really even need to ask? That pesky bit about not bearing false witness doesn’t apply to Christians, just to the rest of us. Same as every other principle they find inconvenient for themselves but can use to tear down other people’s lives, rights and families.

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