Bil Browning

Tony Perkins' No-Good Not So Bad Plan

Filed By Bil Browning | August 13, 2014 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: ex-gay ministries, nondiscrimination ordinance, Tony Perkins

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They say even a stopped clock is right twice a day... Tony Perkins' latest scheme to persecute LGBT people is actually a not-so-bad idea. Every now and then, he stumbles across something that actually makes sense.

While decrying non-discrimination ordinances that include public accommodation protections for LGBT people, Perkins floated the idea that business owners who provide a service to the queer community should turn around and donate the profit to an ex-gay group and post a sign announcing they would do so. I have no problem with most of that, but, as Perkins tends to do, he takes things a step too far.

For conservatives, non-discrimination laws are another nail in the coffin of religious freedom. On Monday's "Washington Watch," host Tony Perkins lamented how increasingly difficult it is for Christian business owners to actively discriminate against and refuse service to LGBT people or same-sex couples based on their "religious views on sexuality."
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Scoffing at the notion that anti-discrimination ordinances provide protection for marginalized groups, Perkins dismissed the laws as "clubs" that can be used by gay people to "force everybody to accept and participate and facilitate their lifestyle choices" and "sue people of faith."

First, let's all acknowledge that while Perkins claims he opposes nondiscrimination ordinances, he only opposes them if they include LGBT people. He has no problem whatsoever with the religious protections they provide, for example.

More importantly, business owners are free to do what they want with their money. They can give it to charity, buy porn, pay their mortgage, or invest in tech stocks for all that it matters to the consumer. Granted, knowing that the money will be used for something the customer opposes might sway their business decision, but that's the free market, baby. You see, that's the point of public accommodation nondiscrimination laws; they require business owners to serve the public equally without regard to what they're going to do with the product or how they live their private lives.

That being said, Perkins tries to sidestep that by asking business owners to post a sign saying they will donate any profit from gay clients to an anti-gay cause. By pointing out LGBT people for special consideration, once again he's out of bounds. Posting the sign would be an attempt to discourage LGBT people from shopping there instead of simply following the law and doing what they wish with the profits.

That's the problem with Tony Perkins. He's obviously bright and knows how to manipulate the media. He just can't help going one step too far in his zeal to persecute minority groups while claiming victim status for himself. If he ever managed to pull back to Mike Huckabee level bigotry, he'd be dangerous.


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