Bob Schieffer introduces Tony Perkins by reminding viewers that he runs a hate group

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of state-level same-sex marriage bans on Tuesday. And in light of the upcoming debate in the Court, Bob Schieffer invited Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, along with Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, to appear on ABC’s Face the Nation to discuss the likelihood that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land.

But before Schieffer let Perkins speak, he reminded viewers that the FRC has been classified by the Souther Poverty Law Center as a hate group, and that many viewers objected to Perkins appearing on the show on the grounds that he “[doesn’t] speak for Christians.”

Schieffer went on to take Perkins to task for claiming that it would be “open season” on Christians if the court ruled in favor of marriage equality, asking him with incredulity, “How can you say that?”

It only got better from there.

Watch the video, via RawStory:

Throughout the interview, Perkins’s answers were uncomfortable, contradictory and in some cases flat-out false.

He argued that the Court has no business adjudicating marriage because it’s a matter of public policy, which makes no sense given his insistence, which he repeated to Schieffer, that the definition of marriage is codified in natural law itself, immune to any tinkering by mere mortals.

He disputed the numbers from the recent Washington Post/ABC poll showing 61 percent support for marriage equality, arguing that there were issues with the way the poll’s questions were worded. This ignores the fact that the poll asked the question three different ways, showing essentially identical levels of support each time.

He even lied to Schieffer’s face in denying that he called for the impeachment of Supreme Court justices who rule in favor of marriage equality. Here’s the audio with those comments, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

When given the chance to respond, Evan Wolfson rightly called Perkins an “outlier” for his rabid opposition to marriage equality.

Wolfson also gave a great answer when asked what he would say to those in “the four in ten” who oppose gay marriage, but do so without expressing Perkins’s brand of hate:

You’re absolutely right that not everybody opposed or not with us is somebody like Tony Perkins. You’re right that there are people who are still thinking it through, and the good news in America is people do think it through and they do move. And I’m confident that these people will see what the majority of Americans have come to see, which is that when we end discrimination, when we end exclusion, families are helped and no one’s hurt…People, when they get a chance to see it for real and to open their hearts and to talk to their neighbors, understand that civil rights advances like this are good.

Not everyone who opposes marriage equality is as deceitful and hateful as Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council. The growing support for marriage equality is an indication that the culture has changed, and is continuing to change, in a more accepting manner.

Let’s hope the courts recognize that shift as the necessary affirmation of civil rights that it is.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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