Outspoken gay rights activist Dan Savage lashed out last week against Family Research Council president Tony Perkins at a presentation at Winona State University, saying that he "sits on a pile of dead gay kids" – but the FRC has pushed back against Savage's "malicious" comments.
"Dan Savage is knowingly spreading false and malicious statements about me and the Family Research Council to deflect attention away from the real issue; the social and medical research shows very clearly that homosexual behavior is harmful not only to individuals but to society as a whole," Perkins shared in an email on Friday with The Christian Post. "We at FRC have been very clear about the inherent worth of each and every individual because they are created in the image of God."
Savage, founder of "It Gets Better," a project helping young LGBT people struggling against harassment, has called out Perkins for his commitment to the traditional marriage unit of one man and one woman by stating that the FRC encourages parents to disown their LGBT children.
Savage said at the Winona presentation that Perkins "sits on a pile of dead gay kids every day when he goes to work," and that "every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council." He accused organizations like the FRC of pushing gay youth toward suicide, and asked how Perkins can even call himself a Christian.
As a response to Savage's comments, Perkins went on former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's radio show this week to say that the gay activist "has some issues."
"Dan Savage is nowhere near, he's a hundred and eighty degrees from the positions that we have taken. It's wrong and I will tell you this, we are pursuing everything possible to deal with him because he is out of control," the FRC president commented.
On Wednesday, Savage fired back, challenging the FRC to sue him, and stating that he would be glad to see Perkins "talk about my 'issues' on a witness stand."
Savage continued: "You still believe you should be free to lie about me and other LGBT people with absolutely impunity – we're all pedophiles and terrorists and Satanists – and that we should have to shut up and take it because… well, I'm not sure why you think we're not allowed to respond when you lie about us."
In response to request for further comments regarding Savage's accusations against their president, the FRC sent The Christian Post a transcript of Perkin's recent speech at the National Press Club, where he was asked by the moderator: "If one of your children told you that he or she were homosexual, would you disown him or her?"
Perkins affirmed that although he feels parents should raise their children in a nurturing environment focused on the traditional family unit, he would never under any circumstance suggest that a parent should reject or love their child less because of their sexual orientation.
"I believe as a parent we have the ability to protect them from a lot of unfortunate experiences that have shaping influences upon their lives," Perkins began. "Now, that's not to say that those whose children may have ended up in homosexuality were not good parents. We can't guarantee that. I mean, we can do our very best job as a parent and still something may happen, whether they end up in drugs or whether end up in some other lifestyle that they end up in."
The FRC president continued: "That doesn't diminish our love for them at all. They are our children. We'll always love them, but we don't necessarily condone what they do. And if we really love them, we'll be willing to tell them the truth; that the choices that they have made to continue in what they're doing are both destructive to them personally and society as a whole.
"So while I would disagree with my child being involved in that lifestyle, I would not in any way – nor would I ever encourage a parent to disown the child because of something like that that occurred to them. Love them compassionately. Pray for them. But don't condone and enable that behavior, whatever it might be."