Creep of the Week

Creep of the Week: Tony Perkins

If Tony Perkins knew you were coming he’d have baked a cake. That is, so long as you aren’t gay and the cake mix doesn’t have a certain homo-loving tart’s name on the side of the carton. Because apparently Betty Crocker is to loving gays what Chick-fil-A is to hating them.

You see, back on Aug. 1, Minnesota became the latest state to allow same-sex couples to get legally married. You know, to each other rather than to unsuspecting straight people. And so Betty Crocker baked up some cakes and brought them on over in order to celebrate with the newly wedded couples. Because what’s a wedding without cake? Even if that cake is made from a box mix, which in many circumstances would be kind of sad, but in this historic instance was totally awesome.

Or, not so awesome if you ask Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, a group with a name that only makes sense if you put ironic quotation marks around “Family” and “Research,” because they are anti-both.

On Sept. 12, Perkins took to the right-wing airwaves to express his outrage over Betty Crocker’s pastry pandering and to urge one-penis-one-vagina marriage supporters to boycott the brand in order to show Ms. Crocker who’s cake boss.

“At Betty Crocker, the only thing they’re mixing up is their priorities. If you ask conservatives, Betty Crocker’s latest promotion is a recipe for disaster,” Perkins begins, shamelessly employing back-to-back baking-related puns.

Perkins continues, “In Minnesota, where parent company General Mills is headquartered, Betty Crocker decided to donate wedding cakes to the first homosexual couples who exchanged vows on the first day that counterfeit marriage was legal.”

Silly Betty Crocker. One doesn’t bring cake to a gay wedding. One brings protest signs depicting sodomy and the flames of hell. Tsk, tsk, tsk. For shame.

Perkins goes on to quote Laura Forero, a spokesperson for Betty Crocker, as saying, “Betty celebrates all families” and, “We don’t want to be old fashioned.”

“Unfortunately for General Mills, the majority of Americans think natural marriage is anything but old fashioned,” Perkins went on. “And they’ve made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks, and JC Penney who disagree.”

If by “made it tough on” he means “made no discernable impact and claiming anything else is laughable,” then he has a point. But the fact is, recent boycotts launched by Christian fanatic groups like FRC don’t do anything but give a bigot a sense of righteous indignation when they, say, fill the cart with Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix instead of Betty Crocker Angel Food cake mix. In fact outside of the insular world of the anti-gay right, the majority of Americans don’t even know these boycotts are going on.

“Know where your money is going,” Perkins warns, and though he’s still talking about groceries, this warning is appropriate for anyone thinking of sending money to the National Organization for Marriage, which runs the Dump General Mills boycott page online, or to fraudulent groups like his own FRC.

And then Perkins ends with something truly, and unintentionally, inspired. “When you’re at the store,” he warns, “think outside the Betty Crocker box!”

Yes, the phrase “think outside the box” is cliché, but it’s not Perkins hackneyed phrasing that had me laughing out loud. It’s the fact that Perkins apparently does not know or did not think about the fact that “box” is slang for “vagina.” So Perkins is basically warning you to keep Ms. Crocker’s box out of your basket. You know, for the children.

DAnne Witkowski

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

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