HRC Blog

Rick Perry’s Anti-Gay History

Recent statements of Rick Perry, Governor of Texas and presidential candidate, emphasize the anti-gay elements that have permeated this GOP primary season. Perry’s views are largely out-of-step with those of mainstream Americans - including people of faith. HRC has been tracking Perry and other presidential candidates closely this year. Perry’s remarks at a Christian-only day of prayer, which was paid for by the American Family Association (AFA), epitomize years of anti-gay and even homophobic behavior. Here’s a sampling of Rick Perry’s attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community: Governor Perry contributes to the spread of dangerous lies about LGBT Americans.

  • Rick Perry’s fellow Texas Republicans voted on a 2010 party platform full of hate and malicious falsehoods about LGBT Americans, saying: “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases…Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable, alternative lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples.” [1]

Governor Perry makes an exception to his strong belief in state rights when it comes to marriage equality.

  • After publically waffling on marriage equality as a state rights versus federal government issue following last June’s victory in New York, Rick Perry finally bowed to the pressure of his powerful anti-gay allies and told an Associated Press reporter that he supported a federal marriage amendment: “Yes, sir…I am for the federal marriage amendment…And that’s about as sharp a point as I could put on it.”[2]
  • Rick Perry has taken extensive action to block committed, loving same-sex couples from marriage equality or even civil unions – in 2003, he signed a state-level Defense of Marriage Act. Two years later, he signed the Texas Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as strictly between one man and one woman.[3]
  • Rick Perry says he unintentionally signed a bill into law that, through a loophole provision, allowed for transgender couples to marry if one spouse could provide documentation of gender reassignment surgery. A Perry spokesman later said the transgender language was “sneaked through on a larger piece of legislation” and that Perry wanted to clarify the “unintended consequences.”[4]

Governor Perry aligns himself with rabidly anti-gay hate groups who spread propaganda at home and export their hate abroad.

  • Rick Perry personally thanked the AFA’s Don Wildmon from the stage of his Houston prayer rally. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the AFA “one of the most strident voices spreading malicious anti-LGBT propaganda.”[5] The AFA’s Bryan Fischer has said LGBT individuals “have as many as 300 to 1,000 sexual partners over the course of a lifetime,” and even associated homosexuality with Nazism.[6]
  • In addition to the AFA, Rick Perry also worked with Lou Engle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) on his prayer rally.  IHOP played an active role in supporting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, where legislation under potential consideration would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in some circumstances.[7]
  • Rick Perry appeared on stage at his prayer rally with Alice Patterson, a member of the secretive New Apostolic Reformation. Patterson has vocally criticized former President Bush for appointing an “open homosexual” to government office and failing to pass a federal marriage amendment.[8]

 Governor Perry doesn’t take hate crimes against LGBT Americans seriously.

  • Rick Perry does not support the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In a robocall during the 2009 GOP primary, Perry blasted President Obama for “making homosexuality a protected class.”[9]

 Governor Perry thinks it’s acceptable to mock gay Americans.

  • During his tight 2010 reelection race, Rick Perry asked attendees at a barbeque in Temple, TX, if they "Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?"[10]

HRC encourages fair-minded Americans to question candidates about their views on LGBT issues during the campaign. HRC’s Call it Out campaign will continue to track and draw attention to homophobic leaders and organizations. For more information, visit http://www.hrc.org/callitout.


[1] 2010 State Republican Party Platform - http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2010RPTFinalPlatform.pdf, pgs. 13-14. Accessed via http://www.texasgop.org/.   [2] “Perry backs a constitutional limit on marriage,” Associated Press, 30 Jul 2011, Jim Davenoport.   [3] Office of the Governor Rick Perry - http://governor.state.tx.us/priorities/families/stronger_families/defense_of_marriage_act/.   [4] “Texas lawmakers may take away transgender marriage rights,” Associated Press, 25 Apr 2011.   [5] Anti-Gay Group to Sponsor Texas Gov. Perry’s National Prayer Rally, Southern Poverty Law Center - http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/06/07/anti-gay-group-to-sponsor-texas-gov-perrys-national-prayer-rally/ - 7 Jun 2011   [6] Southern Poverty Law Center - http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/bryan-fischer.   [7] “In Uganda, Push to Curb Gays Draws U.S. Guest,” New York Times, 2 May 2010, Josh Kron.   [8] “Rick Perry, Alice Patterson, And The Demons Who Control Our Politics,” Right Wing Watch - http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-perry-alice-patterson-and-demons-who-control-our-politics - 12 Aug 2011, Kyle Mantyla.   [9] “Gay Baiting Voters Deep In the Heart of Texas,” http://www.change.org/, 30 Aug 2010, Michael Jones   [10] Ibid.

comments powered by Disqus

Related Posts

When Did David Tyree Decide To Be Straight?

Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility

When Closed Doors Open Up to Equality

Coming Out in the South: “We Decided We’re Tired of Living a Lie”

Rush Limbaugh Goes on Rant Accusing Teaching for Change of Racism

Colorado Marriage Ban Overturned by Federal Court