On Friday’s edition of Washington Watch, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins got into a debate with a caller over marriage equality, during which Perkins said that gay marriage will turn children into gay, super-sexualized beings who won’t be able to compete in the global economy. Instead of offering credible answers to the caller’s questions, Perkins brushed them aside and repeatedly moved on to his next dubious argument against same-sex marriage.
The debate started when the caller contested Perkins’ use of the term “natural marriage,” since the definition of marriage has changed throughout history and has included relationships such as polygamy.
Perkins responded that it doesn’t matter that polygamy has been considered “natural” throughout different cultures and history “because same-sex marriage has never existed for the last ten years at best,” and then switched gears to claim that same-sex marriage will jeopardize the country’s prospects “on giving birth to the next generation.”
When the caller replied that people don’t choose to be gay and therefore marriage equality won’t impact America’s fertility rate, Perkins argued that the debate isn’t really about marriage but rather public school classes that teach “kids how to engage in homosexual behavior”…which he said will turn kids gay and harm America’s economic competitiveness with other nations.
Perkins’ jarring arguments aren’t anything new. He has claimed that same-sex relationships are part of a government “population control” plot, and leads an organization that wants to “export” gay people from the US “because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”
Perkins: There’s actually more of a historical basis for polygamy than there’s ever been for same-sex marriage because same-sex marriage has never existed for the last ten years at best.
Caller: Well it is a new thing I’ll grant you that, I understand that the phrasing ‘natural marriage’ is great, it fits really great on a bumper sticker, but I just don’t think it means anything and I’m trying to understand what that’s supposed to mean.
Perkins: How do you plan on giving birth to the next generation?
Caller: That’s the thing, how many same-sex marriages are there out there? What is it, 2 percent, 3 percent of the total number of marriages? I don’t think that we’re going to have to worry about the next generation.
Perkins: But if it’s normative and it’s normal then we would say we would want more of it if it’s beneficial.
Caller: Well no, I don’t think that’s it at all. People don’t suddenly one day decide to become gay, you’re either gay or you’re not. I’ve never met anyone who just scratched their head and went, ‘you know what I think I’m into guys now’ or ‘I think I’m into girls now,’ it just doesn’t happen.
Perkins: …Okay. What does that have to do with marriage? What does that have to do with redefining marriage, redefining the curriculum in our schools?
Caller: Well you’re saying that we have to worry about the next generation, I’m saying that there is a very small portion of the population, probably less than 10 percent, that are gay. I think that the next generation is going to come along whether we want it to or not, it’s not about—
Perkins: No, because what happens when you change and you say heterosexual marriage is the same as homosexual marriage, then you change the curriculum in your schools and you have kids, as a natural part of growing up and developing, they’re curious and they don’t know, and we’re exposing them to even more sexuality and overt sexual messages and we’re telling them, ‘hey experiment.’ And that is what leads, in many cases, to children going down a particular path, is early childhood sexual exposure, sometimes it’s traumatic. And by normalizing that and mainstreaming that, what you will do is you will have more children going down that path and that’s why they want to get this message into our schools.
Caller: I understand your argument but is there any data to support that?
Perkins: What do you mean any data to support it?
Caller: You are saying if you expose children to homosexuality you will have more homosexuals.
Perkins: Well if you sexualize a culture — I can tell you the data is very clear on what’s happened in the last 30 to 40 years where we have inundated young people, children, with sexual messages and they become sexually active. So when you take and mix into that homosexuality and other forms of sexuality into that, yes they are going to move down that path, they are going to engage in what you tell them about. That is why it’s problematic, that is why parents are upset about what is happening in Hawaii and other states that are teaching their kids how to engage in homosexual behavior, or heterosexual for that matter. I don’t want my kids that are 11, 12 and 13 years-old taught how to put on a condom or taught about how to engage in sexual behavior with someone who has HIV in a safe fashion. That is not what the schools should be about. They should be about teaching our kids to read, to write, to engage in science. How do we ever expect to compete globally when we’re fixated on teaching our kids about sex?