Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins Appointed to Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission
When looking to fill a high-profile job opening--say, membership on the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, for example--you might not opt for the virulently homophobic leader of an organization labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Or, if you're Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's Republican governor, you might do just that.
According to its website, the commission's mission is "to improve the operations of the criminal justice and juvenile justice system and promote public safety by providing progressive leadership and coordination within the criminal justice community." (There's a delicious and sad irony in the idea of Perkins being part of a group's 'progressive leadership.')
Slate points out that Perkins's appointment to a body "which awards grants, trains officers, and regulates law enforcement throughout the state" could add to Louisiana's already less-than-stellar record of support for LGBT individuals and "may well drag the state to new, even darker depths of anti-gay enmity."
Just this month, Perkins--who leads the Family Research Council--said that straight solders were facing discrimination from the federal government because of a recent Pentagon policy allowing service members in same-sex relationships living in non-marriage equality states paid leave to travel to states which allow marriage equality. He also called on his followers to boycott Betty Crocker because the company donated custom cakes to three same-sex couples in Minnesota who wed after the state legislature voted in favor of equal marriage rights.
As we've noted before here on Towleroad, Louisiana is not very friendly to its LGBT citizens. Earlier this month, the state's National Guard said that it would not comply with orders from the Pentagon to begin approving benefits requests from married same-sex couples, pointing to the state's ban on marriage equality. This summer, the Baton Rough Advocate published a disturbing exposé revealing that the city's sheriff's office had conducted undercover stings for at least two years arresting gay men for engaging in consensual sex. In doing so, the sheriff relied on Louisiana's sodomy ban, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision but still technically remains on the books in the state.