Metro Weekly

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins calls campaign to decriminalize homosexuality “cultural imperialism”

Anti-gay activist says U.S. should "refrain from imposing the values of the sexual revolution" on other nations

Tony Perkins – Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

One of President Trump’s anti-gay evangelical supporters is not happy that the administration is seeking global decriminalization of homosexuality.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is warning against engaging in “cultural imperialism” as the United States pushes other countries to change their laws criminalizing homosexuality.

In an article posted to FRC’s website, Perkins notes that President Trump seems to be unaware of his own administration’s recently announced campaign to encourage the 71 countries where people can be imprisoned or sentenced to death for being LGBTQ to change their laws.

But beyond that, he argues that just because the United States has changed its laws criminalizing same-sex relations without much outcry doesn’t mean that people of other nations will be as tolerant.

“Our own criminal laws against homosexual conduct were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. Despite what some on the Left claim, we are not advocating for their return,” writes Perkins. “But that does not mean we should engage in ‘cultural imperialism’ by imposing policies that were imposed upon us by our Court on other countries with different cultures, traditions, and values.”

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is leading the new campaign, told NBC News that the campaign could potentially involve using U.S. economic aid as leverage to induce countries to change their law.

But Perkins warns that the Obama administration pursued similar aims when it began taking into account countries’ records on LGBTQ rights as a condition of receiving foreign aid.

Social conservatives have long opposed such requirements, claiming that the imposition of liberal Western values has eroded the relationship between the United State and socially conservative nations because it shows disrespect for the countries’ religious and cultural traditions. Perkins says that’s why the Trump administration should not make the same mistake.

Perkins asserts that LGBTQ people are already protected by international agreements that protect human rights writ-large, a view previously enunciated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Thus, he believes there is no need to launch a campaign that solely focuses on protecting LGBTQ people from arrest, torture, state-sanctioned death penalty, or extrajudicial killings.

“Family Research Council vigorously opposes acts of violence against anyone because of their sexuality. According to NBC, there are eight countries which permit the death penalty for homosexuality — most of them also known as abusers of religious freedom and other rights, and supporters of terrorism. An end to those laws, and other physical punishments such as flogging, is a legitimate goal,” Perkins concludes.

“Let’s find common ground in calling for an end to all forms of physical violence against homosexuals — but refrain from imposing the values of the sexual revolution on the rest of the world.”

Perkins has a long history of anti-LGBTQ statements and sentiments, including last year arguing that decriminalizing homosexuality was a “mistake.”

He also called for the impeachment of former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for authoring the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, has advocated for conversion therapy, and compared LGBTQ advocates to terrorists.

He has also derided transgender-inclusive restroom policies adopted by businesses like Target, has compared the fate of Christians living in a society where LGBTQ rights are respected to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust, and insists that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.”

In addition, he has used his position at FRC — considered an “Extremist Group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ ideology — to promote laws restricting LGBTQ adoption, oppose the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and advocate for Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” law that doles out punishments for homosexuality.

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

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