Last Wednesday, an obviously disturbed man walked into the downtown Washington lobby of the Family Research Council with a gun and shot an employee. Thankfully, he was stopped before he was able to do any more senseless harm. Immediately our hearts went out to the victim, his family and his co-workers. More than 40 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations — including Human Rights Campaign, which I lead — issued a joint statement condemning this violence.
Unfortunately, over the days that have followed, this incident has been unnecessarily politicized, confusing disagreements over LGBT equality with our unity against violence. Almost immediately after the shooting, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, issued a statement ascribing political motives to the shooter in order to implicate the LGBT community. The blame game grew from there.
Speaking on Fox News, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the irresponsible claim that the perpetrator was “given a license to shoot” because the Southern Poverty Law Center, a venerable civil rights institution, has deemed the Family Research Council a hate group.