Dharun Ravi guilty verdict should not
be used to promote a gay agenda, Tony Perkins, president of the
Christian conservative group Family Research Council (FRC), has said.
The 20-year-old Ravi on Friday was
found guilty on 15 counts of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy
and tampering with evidence by a New Jersey jury.
The charges stem from Ravi's
involvement in the death of 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman
Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his
death in the fall of 2010 after learning that Ravi, his roommate, had
secretly streamed live video of him having sex with another man onto
the Internet. Ravi was not charged with Clementi's death.
He faces up to 10 years in prison,
because the charges are being identified as a hate crime, and the
possibility of deportation to his native India.
Legal scholars think the verdict could
send a powerful message about bullying.
“It's a cautionary tale,” Jenny
Carroll, professor of criminal law at Seton hall Law School told the
“Behavior that used to be considered the norm, or acceptable, has
become criminal. This will be end of the 'boys will be boys'
Steven Goldstein, chair and CEO of
Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay rights advocate,
agreed with the verdict.
“One very important byproduct of this
verdict is that will be that parents across New Jersey and and the
entire nation will have to speak to their kids who are students in
school … and tell them you can't bully another student because if
you do you may wind up like Dharun Ravi – convicted, possibly
getting jail time,” he said.
Perkins, whose group is opposed to gay
rights, warned activists against politicizing the issue.
“Family Research Council believes
that every individual deserves equal protection, and every offender
should receive equal punishment,” Perkins said. “Unfortunately,
some pro-homosexual activists would exploit the personal tragedies of
these families to promote a political agenda. Some have even laid
blame not on the actual bullies but on Christian churches and
conservative politicians. It's wrong to politicize these tragedies.
Instead, we should focus on preventing the bullying of young people –
for their sexual orientation, appearance, religion, or any other
DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper to blame for Tyler Clementi's death,