Influential social conservative Tony
Perkins is urging followers to bail on the Republican Party due in
part to its support of Ted Olson, the constitutional lawyer whose
support for gay marriage has ruffled the feathers of conservative
Perkins heads the Family Research
Council (FRC), a vehement opponent of gay rights.
“I've hinted at this before, but now
I am saying it: Don't give money to the RNC,” Perkins will tell FRC
members in the group's next newsletter, POLITICO reported. “If you
want to put money into the political process, and I encourage you to
do, give directly to candidates who you know reflect your values.”
Olson is leading the legal team
challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's gay
marriage ban approved by voters in 2008. The case is the first to be
heard in federal court and is expected to reach the Supreme Court.
In January, Chief U.S. District Judge
Vaughn R. Walker heard two-and-a-half weeks of contentious testimony
on the issue in a San Francisco courtroom.
Olson's army of lawyers argued that
proponents of Proposition 8 approved the measure out of animus
towards gay men and lesbians. The defense said limiting marriage to
heterosexual unions fosters a stable environment to raise children.
Walker ended the trial without a
ruling, saying he wanted to review the evidence before listening to
closing arguments. However, the court has yet to schedule that
Olson has said he believes the
challenge could have global implications.
“What happens in this case won't just
affect the people of California, it will affect the country,” Olson
recently told reporters. “And what happens in the United States
will affect the rest of the world.”
While Olson has racked up an impressive
conservative record – he's served on the board of directors of
American Spectator magazine and in the administrations of Ronald
Reagan and George W. Bush – social conservatives say his support
for gay marriage undermines his conservative values.
Olson, however, argues that gay
marriage is a conservative value.
“It is a conservative value to
respect the relationship that people seek to have with another, a
stable, committed relationship that provides the backbone for our
community, for our economy,” Olson wrote in a Los Angeles Times
op-ed. “I think conservatives should value that.”
Perkins' moves come after the RNC hired
Olson to represent them in a campaign finance case.
“Yes, this is the same Ted Olson that
is trying to overturn the results of the marriage amendment in
California,” Perkins says. “The outcome of Olson's challenge to
Prop 8 goes far beyond nullifying the votes of nearly 7 million
voters in California; his efforts could lead to the overturning of
amendments and laws in all 45 states that currently define marriage
as the union of one man and one woman.”
Olson says he has been told that “I'm
betraying the conservative cause and things that I've stood for in my