Metro Weekly

Tony Perkins slams pick of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State

Evangelical leader says the ExxonMobil CEO could be the "greatest ally" for the "abortion and LGBT agendas"

Photo: Tony Perkins. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Photo: Tony Perkins. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Tony Perkins is hopping mad about President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Rex Tilleron, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State. The evangelical leader and president of the Family Research Council has excoriated Tillerson for his past stances on hot-button social issues such as LGBT inclusion and abortion, reports The Hill.

“The ExxonMobil executive may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas,” Perkins wrote on the Family Research Council website. “That should be particularly alarming to conservatives, who’ve spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality.”

Perkins particularly objected to Tillerson’s support for lifting the ban on openly gay youth and Scout leaders during his tenure at the Boy Scouts of America, and ExxonMobil’s history of donating to Planned Parenthood. 

“To hear that Donald Trump may be appointing a man who not only led the charge to open the Boy Scouts to gay troop leaders but whose company directly gives to Planned Parenthood is upsetting at best,” Perkins wrote. “Trump calls Rex a ‘world class player and dealmaker,’ but if these are the kinds of deals Tillerson makes — sending dollars to an abortion business that’s just been referred for criminal prosecution and risking the well-being of young boys under his charge in an attempt to placate radical homosexual activists — then who knows what sort of ‘diplomacy’ he would champion at DOS?”

In truth, Tillerson’s record on LGBT issues is more mixed than many might initially characterize. While Perkins and his ilk are often livid at any attempt to extend protections or advance LGBT rights, Tillerson’s record does not stop with his record at the Boy Scouts. Under Tillerson’s watch, ExxonMobil dragged its feet in adopting LGBT workplace protections at a time when other major corporations were embracing such measures.

ExxonMobil is also part of an ongoing action that’s pending before the Illinois Human Rights Commission alleging that the company engaged in anti-LGBT hiring practices. The group Freedom for Work first brought the allegations against the company after sending two fake resumes, one from a highly qualified applicant who was openly gay and another from a less qualified applicant who was not. The latter applicant was the only one to receive a call back from the company about a possible position.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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