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Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry

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The Family Research Council is a far-right organization that endorses the work of Paul Cameron - a man who leads a known hate group and once said "the extermination of homosexuals" might be necessary and who called AIDS a "godsend."

Yet earlier this week, Washington Post editors Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn legitimized an anti-gay screed of Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council, by giving it space on the editorial pages of one the nation's leading newspapers.

Shockingly, they thought Perkins would be an acceptable commentator on the recent, tragic spate of teen suicides caused by anti-gay bullying.

Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry.

Cameron's reports, which are cited by the Family Research Council in justifying its anti-gay positions, rely upon a kind of so-called "science" that the Southern Poverty Law Center said "echoed Nazi Germany." That is why SPLC has labeled the Family Research Institute (the organization Cameron runs) a hate group, which is a designation the Family Research Institute shares with the Ku Klux Klan.2

Tony Perkins may claim he does not agree with all the disgusting positions Cameron has taken, but when Perkins and his Family Research Council use the worthless "studies" of bigots like Cameron as a rationale for their anti-gay positions, they are endorsing the fruits of that bigotry.

No matter the facade, Perkins simply cannot ground his argument in irrational hate without lending legitimacy to that hate. And when the Washington Post allows its pages to be used for the repackaging of hate in this way, it becomes an accomplice to it.

One of the unwritten rules of mainstream political discourse is that naked bigotry - unrepentant and irrational hate for whole classes of people based on characteristics that they cannot change - is indecent and unacceptable.

So how can the Washington Post justify giving a platform to such viciousness?

This is not an academic exercise - it matters which voices are given legitimacy by mainstream publications and what kind of national discourse they give rise to.

When anti-gay bigotry is mainstreamed and tolerated, the consequences can literally be deadly.

The recent spate of tragic teen suicides by young people bullied because of their sexual orientation did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in a toxic environment in which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are subject to irrational scorn, ridicule and discrimination because of who they are.

So it is appalling that Washington Post gave space to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council to comment on these teen suicides when he is in part responsible for their deaths because his organization foments the very toxic environment that encourages anti-gay bullying.

Editors Jon Meacham, Sally Quinn and the Washington Post should apologize and pledge to stop offering legitimacy to those who base their arguments in the bigotry of recognized hate groups.

Thank you for holding the Washington Post accountable for irresponsibly giving mainstream cover to anti-gay hatred.

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