Last week, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner appointed Dr. Robert George — co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage — to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). George’s two-year appointment that comes with a taxpayer-funded federal salary.
GLAAD’s newly-launched Commentator Accountability Project – which aims to unmask the extremist views of anti-LGBT activists frequently consulted and quoted by the media – names George as one of the 36 homophobes most often cited in news reports. George appears on the list alongside other famously outspoken bigots like Scott Lively, Tony Perkins, Alan Chambers, Matt Barber, Peter LaBarbera, and NOM’s own Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher.
For those of you who may not be familiar with him, Dr. George is an anti-LGBT extremist who once described being gay as “beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures” and said that committed same-sex relationships have “no intelligible basis in them for the norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and the pledge of permanence.” The organization that he co-founded, the National Organization for Marriage, is the nation’s foremost opponent of marriage equality, fighting to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the federal level and pushing constitutional marriage discrimination amendments in the states.
NOM was disgraced earlier this week when internal documents revealed that the group engages in disrespectful and unsavory race-baiting tactics in its fight against marriage equality. The confidential memos asserted that NOM’s strategic goal is to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” and “make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker” among young Latinos, “a badge of youth rebellion to conformist association to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture” and “a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
Last year, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans decided to defend DOMA themselves after President Obama’s Justice Department halted its defense, citing the law’s unconstitutionality. Boehner hired a team of private attorneys and committed to spend as much as $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to defend the discriminatory measure in court.
By appointing an extremist like Robert George, Speaker Boehner is again using taxpayer funds to further an aggressively anti-gay social agenda. This stunt makes it clear that the USCIRF is the equivalent of a kangaroo court intent upon casting victimizers as victims. It is utterly farcical that Robert George — a man who has dedicated his life to curtailing liberties and limiting the freedoms of those who hold different beliefs — would be named to a commission that oversees liberty. But given George’s demonization of LGBT people and his group’s appalling use of racial politics, Boehner’s appointment may ultimately backfire with Latino and African American voters.