Gov. Bobby Jindal has good news for Faithful America, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, People for the American Way Foundation and Southern Poverty Law Center.
He will not be speaking at the Values Voter Summit this weekend.
The governor’s spokesman, Kyle Plotkin, said Jindal will be unable to share the stage Friday with former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and “19 Kids and Counting” offspring Josh Duggar.
Now the bad news for Faithful America, GLAAD and the other human rights groups: Jindal did not cancel because they wrote him a letter criticizing the summit’s hosts, the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.
The governor can’t make it to Washington, D.C., because he has a full calendar in Louisiana.
“We unfortunately are not able to attend the event because of a scheduling conflict, but we wish all the participants the best,” Plotkin said by email.
The Family Research Council characterizes itself as a Washington, D.C., organization founded “to champion marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.”
Its president is former Louisiana legislator Tony Perkins.
The letter signed by the NAACP and others offers a different description of the Family Research Council’s mission: “The FRC has amassed an extensive record of vilifying gays and lesbians with falsehoods — portraying them as sick, evil, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation.”
Fireworks erupted when columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, launched the “It Gets Better” project, which aimed to soothe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths after a spate of teen suicides. On his radio show, Perkins accused the campaign of spreading a deceptive and destructive message.
Perkins said depression and suicide are not the result of society rejecting homosexuality.
He said Norway has a high depression and suicide rate even though homosexuality is celebrated there.
“Sexual relations outside the boundaries that God created them to be conducted in, in the union between a man and a woman, it’s not fulfilling, it’s not satisfying,” Perkins said.
Months before Perkins’ radio broadcast, CNN cut short an interview with American Family Association issue analysis director Bryan Fischer after he claimed Adolf Hitler recruited homosexuals as enforcers and thugs because straight soldiers could not be savage and vicious.
“I would think most historians would take issue with that,” CNN anchor Carol Costello said.
In the past, Jindal has spoken at the Values Voter Summit. He describes himself as a conservative. He backs conservative causes. He speaks to conservative groups. He is on record as supporting the legal definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
In 2008, he let lapse an executive order forbidding state government and many businesses contracting with the state from discriminating against gay and lesbian employees.
Unlike the elder President George Bush, Jindal likely will never attend a gay marriage. But he also has steered clear of picking an ugly, public fight over homosexuality.
Jindal apparently does count Perkins among his friends. He named Perkins to the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family and, more recently, to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice.
At some point, the governor may have to decide just how deeply into the so-called conservative trenches he wants to go — and whether he wants to embrace disciples such as Fischer, who once described Hispanics as socialists who came from Mexico because they want the U.S. government’s goodies.
“Republicans can pander all they want to Hispanics … It will not work. There’s no way on earth that they can get them to leave the Democratic Party. It’s one of the reasons we’ve got to clamp down on immigration,” Fischer said.
Michelle Millhollon covers the governor for The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.