Unsatisfied with Tony Perkins' explanation of his opposition to same-sex marriage, CNN's Brooke Baldwin flat-out asked him why homosexuals "bother" him "so much," on Thursday afternoon. Apparently for CNN, opposing same-sex marriage is the same bigotry.
"[Y]ou've never been to a home of a same-sex couple. Why do homosexuals bother you so much?" she asked her "personal" question. Perkins brushed off the loaded question saying "They don't bother me," but Baldwin looked surprised and followed up on it. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"But if they don't bother you, then why shouldn't they have the same right to get married?" she insisted. Her intention was quite clear, to grill Perkins over just why he hasn't gotten with the times and supported same-sex marriage. She had a like attitude last week when she compared nominating a gay activist to the judiciary with desegregation.
The CNN anchor painted quite the picture of the Family Research Council, labeling them "ultra-conservative" and saying "the very idea" of same-sex marriage makes them "recoil."
During the interview, she quoted Dick Cheney and Colin Powell as supporting same-sex marriage and pressured Perkins to state "why are they wrong?" And towards the end of the interview she descended to a "personal level" and challenged him if he'd "ever been to the home of a married same-sex couple," asking what he'd say to the hypothetical same-sex couple.
Perkins wouldn't go there, however, sticking with the policy debate.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 24 on Newsroom at 2:14 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
BROOKE BALDWIN: But my question is, I guess more on a personal level to you, have you ever been to the home of a married same-sex couple, Tony?
TONY PERKINS, president, Family Research Council: I have not been to the home of a same-sex married couple, no.
BALDWIN: If you were ever to do so and you're sitting across from them over dinner, how would you convince them that their life together – either two men, two women – hurts straight couples? What do you tell them?
PERKINS: Well, first, Brooke, we don't make public policy based on what's good for me and my family or you and your family or one couple.
BALDWIN: I'm just asking on a personal level. I'm just asking, personal level.
PERKINS: No, but I'm -- but we're engaged here in a discussion about public policy and what's best for the nation, not anecdotes or what one couple likes or how this --
BALDWIN: But this issue is -- it is personal. It is personal as well.
PERKINS: But that's not how we make public policy. Certainly there are some same-sex couples that are probably great parents, but that's not what the overwhelming amount of social science shows us. And we've got some great single moms that are doing great job – and we applaud them and encourage them. But we still know the best environment for a child is with a mom and a dad. And our policy should encourage –
BALDWIN: But shouldn't public policy, in part, be dictated by evolving cultures, evolving demographics, reflecting that?
PERKINS: But we're not evolving to a better standard when we look at children growing up without those critical role models. And, again, we've got 40 years of public policy, or the research that's come from the public policy, that shows that we've not been moving in a better direction by moving away from that standard of marriage being at the center of the family of a mom and a dad. We've actually incurred tremendous costs as a society, both emotionally and financially.
BALDWIN: Okay. I know – I know you don't want to answer the personal questions, but I'm going to try again, Tony. I'm going to try again. And this is really just it for me today. Why do you – you've never been to a home of a same-sex couple. Why do homosexuals bother you so much? I mean would it be fair to characterize –
PERKINS: They don't bother me. They don't bother me.
BALDWIN: They don't bother you?
BALDWIN: Not at all.
PERKINS: I'm not going to -- I'm not going to be silent while they try to redefine marriage in this country, change policy, what my children are taught in schools and what religious organizations can do. I'm not going to be silent, nor are millions of other Christians across this country. It doesn't mean that we have a dislike for homosexuals.
BALDWIN: But if they don't bother you, then why shouldn't they have the same right to get married?
PERKINS: They don't have a right to redefine marriage for the rest of us. They don't have a right to take away my religious freedom. They don't have a right to step between me and what my child is taught. That's what's happening. That's why people are getting involved. And that's why this issue will not be resolved, whether the president says it should be or not. There are many, many Americans, as we've seen in every time – every time this has gone through the ballot box, Americans understand, the definition of a marriage is what it's been for 5,000 years, it's the union of a man and a woman.