Tony Perkins' opposition to Elena
Kagan's confirmation as Supreme Court justice revolves mostly around
gay rights, including her unknown position on gay marriage.
Perkins, who heads the Washington-based
Family Research Council, testified Friday before senators considering
Kagan's nomination. He called her nomination alarming to gay
“It should alarm those who live in
the 45 states that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman,
and the tens of millions of Americans who affirm biblical moral
teaching,” Perkins testified.
U.S. Solicitor General Kagan, 50, is
being considered to replace retiring Justice Paul Stevens.
Perkins is also opposed to ending
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay troops from
revealing their sexuality. In May, the FRC released a report urging
lawmakers to keep the ban in place, warning that “homosexual
misconduct” in the military will increase without the policy.
“It's a question of whether we will
force soldiers to bond with homosexuals in the showers and the
barracks, knowing that doing so will result in sexual bullying, male
rape and forcible sodomy,” retired Col. Richard Black said during a
call with reporters announcing the report.
During Kagan's 2009 confirmation as
solicitor general, Perkins raised similar concerns about her support
for gay marriage
“Ms. Kagan's extreme rhetoric makes
it highly likely that she also favors same-sex marriage, both as a
matter of policy and as a supposed federal constitutional right,”
Perkins warned in a letter to senators.
But Kagan's own testimony offers little
support for marriage equality.
In a written follow-up to her Senate
confirmation hearing, Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, asked
Kagan her views on gay marriage. “There is no federal
constitutional right to same-sex marriage,” she responded.
And during her third day of testimony
this week, the Supreme Court nominee chose to sidestep the issue.
In an exchange with Iowa Senator Chuck
Grassley, a Republican who supports a constitutional ban on gay
marriage, Kagan was asked whether she believes states have the right
to define marriage – because “it's coming down the road,” he
said, referring to three gay marriage cases wending their way to the
“Do you agree that the court's
decision in Baker v. Nelson, holding that federal courts lack
jurisdiction to hear challenges to state marriage laws was correct?”
“My best understanding is that that
decision has some precedential weight, but not the weight of a
'normal' decision,” Kagan answered.
The high court refused the hear Baker
v. Nelson in 1972 because it lacked a “substantial federal
question.” Grassley had hoped to hear that Kagan considers the
While Kagan can be said to be
progressive – she stridently opposes “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” –
on the face she offers little support for gay marriage.
Yet on Friday, Perkins railed against
Kagan's nomination on the issue.
“Her own statements make obvious that
Elena Kagan would strike down any marital statute – including the
federal Defense of Marriage Act – which defines marriage as being
between one man and one woman.”
“We do not need a justice on the
Supreme Court who sees it as her life mission to write the homosexual
version of Roe v. Wade by striking down one-man, one-woman
marriage across America,” Perkins said.
“I urge the Senate to reject her
nomination,” he added.