Influential social conservative Tony
Perkins' gay joke received a loud cheer from Republicans attending
the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) 2010 in New
Orleans over the weekend, news site Alternet.org
The conference is the most prominent
Republican meetup outside of the Republican National Convention.
Perkins told the crowd that one of his
old Marine buddies was set to retire after decades of service to his
When Perkins asked why, the Marine
answered: “When I joined, homosexuality was illegal. When I
reenlisted, it was optional. I want to get out now – before it's
Perkins, who also announced the birth
of his fifth child, heads the Family Research Council (FRC), a
vehement opponent of gay rights.
Last week, Perkins
urged 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 Republicans.
Olson is representing a gay and a lesbian couple in the first federal
challenge to a gay marriage ban. He argues that such bans are
unconstitutional. Perkins' moves come after the RNC hired Olson to
represent them in a campaign finance case.