This is what Tony Perkins’s Head Looks Like On A Platter

Jim Burroway

May 25th, 2012

GLAAD couldn’t be more thrilled, calling Brooke Baldwin’s intervew “an almost textbook example of how to tell a complete story when dealing with an anti-gay activist.”


May 25th, 2012

I sent Brooke a little thank you.

Priya Lynn

May 25th, 2012

I’ve watched a number of these sort of interview/debates where supposedly our side handed the anti-gay their head on a platter and virtually none of them have come across that way to me. I think Perkins got the better of Brooke by a long shot. He repeated the lie about social science evidence showing children are better off with a mom and dad several times and she wasn’t aware enough of the real science to counter it. He repeated the stock anecdotes of children being taught same sex marriage in massachusetts, the church losing a tax exemption on what was supposed to be a publically available property and so on as if these were happening all the time when in fact they are quite rare and she (not that I blame her) wasn’t familiar with the incidencts and didn’t rebut him. She allowed him to use that BS line about gays “not having the right to redefine marriage for everyone” when she should have said gays aren’t redefining any heterosexual’s marriage, they are only defining their own marriages and you don’t have a right to define gays marriages any more than they have a right to define heterosexuals marriages.

All in all I’m very disappointed.


May 25th, 2012

Why don’t they ask questions like “do you even know how to answer the questions you’re asked instead of repeating the same pre-prepared statements you use every time you’re on TV?” and not let off until either they get straight answers or the guy walks off?

Timothy (TRiG)

May 25th, 2012

She also didn’t pick him up on the “attacking religious freedom” thing. He’s the one attacking religious freedom.


Gene in L.A.

May 25th, 2012

This was definitely a missed opportunity by someone who was not prepared for the stock answers this man always gives. I wish just once someone would challenge him to quote an expert backing up his opinion. Ask for a source of his figures. He’ll sit there with his mouth open and nothing coming out of it.


May 25th, 2012

I have to agree with the commenters. She needed to ask him if those studies included two parent gay households or what effect poverty played. She needed to not let him get away with lying. She should have questioned his statement about marriage always having been as it is today when we know it hasn’t. He looked bad, sure, but he could have been made to look much worse. Also his NOM-like race baiting should have been challenged.


May 25th, 2012

Except she never challenged his misrepresentation of the the studies he cited about “a mom and a dad” – in fact, studies have consistently shown that a 2-parent household is the critical factor, not gay/straight. you can nibble around the edges but that one’s a total lie.


May 25th, 2012

Metaphor alert! You know where the “head on a platter” expression comes from, right? Do you really mean to suggest that Tony Perkins is like John the Baptist and that he’s going to be martyred for his faith?

Timothy Kincaid

May 25th, 2012

I understand and partially agree with those who rightly point out where she did not say what could have been said. And indeed had she asked the questions and refuted the statements provided it could have been stronger.

But I still have to go with Jim on the “head on a platter” characterization. For this reason:

Brooke got Tony Perkins to say that he has never been in the home of a gay couple. Ever.

To the 70+% of Americans who know a gay person, this looks bad. Really, really, bad.

And when he refused to talk about the personal, it became worse. You cannot talk about marriage and act as though it isn’t personal.

I think that reminded the viewers just how personal they take marriage and made him look like a heartless political hack.

Shwing, thunk, platter.

Lindoro Almaviva

May 25th, 2012

I wanted to jump in the screen and bitch slap him so much.

Regan DuCasse

May 25th, 2012

I have to agree, I saw nothing all that different from any other interviews he’s been giving. And he still keeps getting asked to give them.
And he IS a liar, and why don’t some of these reporters drop the bomb on it?
He’s lying about what research shows on gay parents.
He keeps talking about gay people in the abstract and as if still a theory on what the outcome of marriage equality would really be.
It was important for her to point out that he NEVER actually knew or knows any gay parents personally, but clearly that’s not enough.
He kept bringing up POLICY. As if policy changes have anything to do with the quality of life that het people lead. Very misleading on his part, again.

She’s very similar to other reporters who TOUCH on something, but then don’t follow through ENOUGH to make Perkins look like the liar he truly is.


May 25th, 2012

Oh yes, what really matters are the votes at the polls, that decisively proves that people are overwhelmingly against gay marr– oh wait, no it doesn’t!


May 26th, 2012

The banner underneath, when Perkins appears on any show, should read “President of a Hate Group (as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center).

I agree–this is another ineffective interview, which just lets Perkins and others like him prattle on with their lies. Everyone from Chris Matthews to David Gregory lets these clowns go completely unchallenged, and since Perkins keeps repeating the same things, it’s really unforgiveable.

He, Perkins, is an oily character. Early on in the interview, Perkins uses ‘altar’ as a synecdoche for marriage. (He does similar things all the time, and is never challenged). But any competent newscaster would tell him that we are talking about Federal laws, which should affirm a right under the equal protection laws of the US Constitution. That has NOTHING TO DO with any ‘altar’.

No one is being prevented from being married in a church according to their own faith.

His only response to that would be the easily dismissable “America is a Christian nation” idiocy, which is also easily refuted by any person knowledgeable on the subject.

Wake up, news anchors. Asking a question (or as you incorrectly often say, “begging the question”, which is something else altogether) also requires, it seems to me, some journalistic standards regarding the facts. I am a social scientist. THERE IS NO RESEARCH TO BACK UP PERKINS’ CLAIMS.

Further, since a state like Mass. HAS marriage equality, public schools have every right to teach in their classrooms what their laws represent.

This guy represents the American Taliban.


May 26th, 2012

Tony dazzles reporters with his reasoned, easy, professional manner and dispensation of facts. But before they know it, he begins generalizing, conflating, and doing 2+2=5, but the reporters don’t really know the research, so they can’t call him out on his conflations.
Make him explain how he is connecting things that don’t really yield the result he is implying.
For instance, his points in this interview are derived from research about single parent vs. two-parent households. It shows nothing about same sex parents.
Don’t go the emotional route – take him down on his own turf – his “research”.


May 27th, 2012

Love how two dudes wanting to get married equates to denying him his religious freedom. His religion denies other their social freedom. Who are the real victims here?


May 28th, 2012

The thing that strikes me is this: ill-prepared as she was, Baldwin still took Perkins down a couple notches. It was really good to watch him squirm – and it was SO EASY to do.

If the MSM put their collective mind to it, they’d have these h8ers over a barrel, making them admit that it’s not SSM, it’s not SSPs, it’s not “religious liberty” – plain and simple, it’s TEH BUTTSECKS on which they all focus which is the problem. Take away all their misquoted Scripture, all their out-of-context statisics, all their outdated and refuted psych texts, and all they have is vague squirming every time they think about LGBT people getting it on. All an interviewer has to do is read the talking points and find a handful of holes (the 2-parents-are-better-than-1 study, for example) to pick the likes of Perkins apart. I imagine a full dissection would take less than fifteen minutes.

Baldwin did a (sadly) better-than-average job squashing the FRCer. Imagine what she could do if she were properly prepared. NOW – imagine what ALL the MSM could do if it bothered to prepare AT ALL.


May 29th, 2012

I agree with Timothy that the important development in this interview is the public admission that Tony Perkins has never been in the home of a gay couple. The interviewer did manage to reveal the way all his arguments are founded on an imaginary abstract evil “them,” showing that he would be uncomfortable making those arguments to the face of a real couple.

But I do wish interviewers would ask, “What’s wrong with re-defining things?”

Everybody always seems to accept the idea that “redefining marriage” is bad. But redefining happens all the time; that’s the way language and culture actually work. The concept of “citizen” has been redefined many times–it once meant “white men of property” but the redefinitions expanded that meaning to include people of color, people who don’t own property, and people who are women. Who would argue that this redefining process was bad?

And, thinking along those lines, I wish people like Perkins would be confronted with the suggestion that the marriage equality movement is NOT redefining marriage. Instead, it’s redefining “homosexuality” so that term no longer means “evil deviants deserving only second-class citizenship.” Or perhaps it’s redefining “normal” to include all sexual orientations on the spectrum. Or once again redefining “citizen” to fully include LGBT people.

What Perkins and his ilk are really trying to do is maintain the old definitions that keep gay people in an inferior position. He should be asked why he wants to defend those old harmful definitions. In a way, this interviewer was trying to get at that when she asked him why gay people bother him so much.

Let’s stop accepting the assumption that redefining is a bad thing.

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