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On Fox, Tony Perkins Cites Gallaudet Incident To Attack Marriage Equality

October 23, 2012 10:42 am ET by Carlos Maza

Hate group leader Tony Perkins appeared on Fox News Sunday to criticize same-sex marriage by peddling inaccurate talking points about a recent incident at Gallaudet University.

During the October 21 edition of America’s News HQ, Fox anchor Shannon Bream invited Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins to discuss Gallaudet’s Chief Diversity Officer, Angela McCaskill, who was recently placed on paid leave after it was discovered that she had signed the petition to put Maryland’s marriage equality law on the ballot in November.

As expected, Perkins used the incident to advance the myth that same-sex marriage infringes on religious liberty and freedom of speech: 

PERKINS: This is not just about the freedom of speech. It’s the ability to hold a job as well if you don’t go along with the liberal line of thinking. This is not just about the marriage altar for same-sex couples. This is about altering the fundamental rights of Americans. The freedom of speech and the freedom of religion is at stake in this debate and it’s unfolding right before our eyes.

[…]

PERKINS: This is terrible from the other side’s perspective, those who are trying to redefine marriage, because this is the type of stuff they want to keep bottled up until marriage laws are changed. Because they want to say – even in this case, the governor pushed forward when they did this in the legislature last spring in Maryland, they ensured that religious freedom would be protected. What we’re seeing now, when Americans are being forced down this aisle of same-sex marriage, there is no protection for religious freedom, there’s no protection for the freedom of speech. And here, once again, this is not an isolated case, Shannon, we’re seeing someone else’s livelihood put at stake simply because they exercise their rights as an American.

Perkins's analysis, of course, is exactly backwards. In D.C., where same-sex marriage is already legal, Gallaudet’s actions are explicitly prohibited by law. The only reason the university has been able to avoid criminal punishment is because the petition in question concerns a law in Maryland, where same-sex marriage still isn’t legal. Nothing about D.C.’s marriage equality law undermines the legal safeguards that protect McCaskill’s ability to exercise free speech and participate in political campaigns.

Fox’s Bream failed to correct Perkins as he inaccurately claimed that same-sex marriage laws don’t include protections for religious freedom and freedom of speech. More importantly, Fox decided to rely on Perkins for commentary despite his organization’s history of producing wildly inaccurate and biased policy “analysis.” 

Previously:

Why The Gallaudet University Incident Reveals Nothing About Marriage Equality