'Pray away the gay': Christian preacher accused of placing ‘conversion therapy' on Republican national agenda
Tony Perkins, president of a right-wing lobby group, was successful in pushing his views at the national convention
Published 26/08/2016 | 10:32
The same man who claimed that God sent natural disasters to punish gay people has been accused of smuggling approval for "gay conversion therapy" on to the Republican national agenda.
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative campaign group the Family Research Council, has never made his loathing of homosexuality a secret and once claimed that paedophilia was a "homosexual problem".
Now LGBT campaigners accuse him of smuggling his agenda on to the Republican manifesto by committing candidates to a programme that allows parents to choose whatever treatment they wish for their children despite conversion therapy - viewed by conservatives as a "cure" for homosexuality - being banned in five states.
Mr Perkins, along with other conservatives, made his move during the Republican National Convention in Ohio last month, where he read out a proposal to allow parents to send their young children to conversion therapy.
As reported by the Daily Beast, the proposal ran into objections from Anne Dickerson, a Republican platform committee member from New York.
She described the anti-gay agenda at the RNC was "provocative" and "outrageous".
"Stop repelling gays, for God’s sake. I mean honestly, paragraph after paragraph, so I must object to this and I hope I am supported," she said.
After the RNC members reportedly huddled together to discuss the issue, the proposal was watered down and passed under the new wording.
As it stands, the provision reads: "We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children."
Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, said the new wording of the "watered down provision fooled no-one.
"We’ve ended up with a provision that doesn’t explicitly mention conversion therapy but everyone knows that’s the intent, and the folks behind it were really promoting conversion therapy," he told The Independent.
"It’s the most anti-LGBT Republican agenda we’ve ever had," he added.
Gay conversion therapy is illegal for minors in the states of LIST but the practice is legal in the rest of the country.
There is no written record of the RNC event, according to the Daily Beast.
Mr Perkins insisted to the publication that he did not discuss or want to include any mention of conversion therapy, and said any reports to portray otherwise were "misleading".
His church recently received a $100,000 donation from Donald Trump after the Louisiana flooding.
On the Family Research Council’s website, homosexuality is described as "unnatural" and "dangerous to society".
Independent News Service