Fox News dedicated its first segment on Gov. Brewer's veto of Arizona's anti-gay bill to an interview with one of America's most notorious anti-gay hate group leaders.
On February 26, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced that she had vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed businesses and individuals to engage in legal discrimination by denying services to gay people on religious grounds. Brewer said that the bill "does not address a specific or pressing concern," and that it "is broadly worded, and could result in unintended and negative consequences."
Fox's Megyn Kelly opened the February 26 edition of her show with a segment on Brewer's veto that featured Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council. Kelly gave Perkins a platform to lambast the veto as an example of "how fundamental freedoms are trampled," while citing a New Mexico couple who were prosecuted for refusing service to a same-sex couple as proof that the law differs from discrimination against mixed-race couples in that it "address[es] some very significant problems":
The fact that Perkins was the subject of Fox's first interview on the veto is problematic, to say the least. Perkins isn't just an opponent of same-sex marriage-- his organization, the FRC, is a designated hate group, and he's made a career of peddling false and degrading smears about LGBT people, including:
- Falsely claiming that gay men are more likely to molest children
- Comparing gay activists to terrorists and labeling them pawns of the devil
- Applauding Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, calling it an effort "to uphold moral conduct"
Perkins has repeatedly used discussions about LGBT suicide to score cheap political points, claiming that LGBT teens kill themselves because they know being gay is "abnormal" and that they are "in rebellion to God's design." In a letter to supporters, Perkins called the anti-suicide "It Gets Better" project an attempt to "recruit" kids into a "lifestyle" of "perversion." He's even blamed high suicide rates in the military on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Kelly has repeatedly relied on Perkins for commentary on issues affecting the gay community, even after assuring a GLAAD official that she would challenge the anti-gay hate group leader on his history of extreme rhetoric.
Kelly's decision to host Perkins to discuss the veto without questioning his rhetoric or providing another guest to counter his views marks an unfortunate reversal from her comments the day before, wherein she acknowledged that Arizona's anti-gay bill was "potentially dangerous." Unfortunately, Perkins' regular status as a Fox guest is in keeping with the network's ongoing attempt to suppress gay rights by suggesting that the religious views of business owners should allow them to discriminate against gay customers.