Family Research Council

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Family Research Council
Family Research Council Logo.jpg
Logo of the Family Research Council
Motto Advancing Faith, Family and Freedom
Founded 1983 (1983)
Founder James Dobson
Type 501(c)(3) Charity
Registration no. 52-1792772 (EIN)
Area served
United States
Key people
Tony Perkins, President
Thomas R. Anderson, Chairman
$13,064,417 (2011 FY)[1]
2011 FY Tax Return

The Family Research Council (FRC) is an American conservative Christian group and lobbying organization formed in the United States in 1981 by James Dobson. It was incorporated in 1983.[2] In the late 1980s, the FRC officially became a division of Dobson's main organization, Focus on the Family, but after an administrative separation, the FRC became an independent entity in 1992. Tony Perkins is the current president.

The FRC promotes what it considers to be traditional family values, by advocating and lobbying for socially conservative policies. It opposes and lobbies against LGBT rights (such as same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption), abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research and pornography. The FRC is affiliated with a 501(c)(4) lobbying PAC known as FRC Action.[3] In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classified the FRC as an anti-gay hate group, a designation which generated controversy. In 2012, a security guard working at the FRC headquarters was shot by a man who saw the organization listed on the SPLC's web site.


The Family Research Council was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1983. James Dobson, Armand Nicholi, Jr. of Harvard University, and George Rekers of the University of South Carolina were some of its founding board members.[2] In 1988, following financial difficulties, the FRC was incorporated into Focus on the Family, and Gary Bauer joined the organization as president.[4] The FRC remained under the Focus on the Family umbrella until 1992,[4] when it separated out of concern for Focus' tax-exempt status.[5] Tony Perkins joined the FRC as its president in 2003.[6]

It was announced June 18, 2013, that Josh Duggar of the television show 19 Kids and Counting will serve as the executive director of FRC Action, the non-profit and tax-exempt legislative action arm of Family Research Council.[7]

Politics, policies and positions[edit]

The Family Research Council opposes efforts to make a vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus that causes cervical cancer, mandatory for school attendance. It defends this on the basis of rights of parents and because of its support for abstinence prior to marriage.[8]

It supports a federal conscience clause, allowing medical workers to refuse to provide certain treatments to their patients, such as abortion, blood transfusion or birth control. It also advocates for abstinence-only sex education, intelligent design and prayer in public schools, and the regulation of pornography and other "obscene, indecent, or profane programming" on broadcast and cable television. It opposed, but failed to defeat, the introduction of a .xxx domain name, and it lobbied for an increase in indecency fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

The FRC also holds that hotel pornography may be prosecutable under federal and state obscenity laws.[9][10] It opposes the expansion of civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as illegal bases for discrimination.[11]

The Family Research Council is also fiscally conservative[12] and wants to increase the child tax credit.[13] The FRC supports the requirement of a one-year waiting period before a married couple with children can legally get a divorce so that they can receive marital counseling, unless the marriage involves domestic violence. Permanently eliminating the marriage penalty and estate taxes are also issues FRC supports.[14]

The Family Research Council opposes legalized abortion, stem-cell research which involves the destruction of human embryos and funding thereof (instead advocating research using adult stem cells), legal recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships in the form of marriage or civil unions, and all forms of gambling.[15] The Family Research Council has questioned the idea that humans are mainly or completely responsible for climate change, and has opposed other evangelicals who have affirmed their belief in global warming.[16][17][18][19]

Statements on homosexuality[edit]

According to the Family Research Council, "homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed" and it is "by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects."[20] The Council also asserts that "there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn".[20] An amicus brief was submitted by the Council jointly with Focus on the Family in the U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, the case that overturned sodomy laws on privacy grounds.[21] The summary of the amicus curiae brief declares that "States may discourage the 'evils' ... of sexual acts outside of marriage by means up to and including criminal prohibition" and that it is constitutionally permissible for Texas to "choose to protect marital intimacy by prohibiting same-sex 'deviate'[22] acts".[23] Similar positions have been advocated by representatives of the organisation since the Supreme Court case was decided in 2003.

In February 2010, the Family Research Council's Senior Researcher for Policy Studies, Peter Sprigg, stated on NBC's Hardball that gay behavior should be outlawed and that "criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior" should be enforced.[24] In May that same year, Sprigg publicly suggested that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy would encourage molestation of heterosexual service members.[25] In November 2010, Perkins was asked about Sprigg's comments regarding the criminalization of same-sex behavior: he responded that criminalizing homosexuality is not a goal of the Family Research Council.[26][27] Perkins repeated the FRC's association of homosexuals with pedophilia, stating: "If you look at the American College of Pediatricians, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children."[26][27] The opinions expressed by Perkins are contradicted by mainstream social science research on same-sex parenting,[28] and on the likelihood of child molestation by homosexuals and bisexuals, which has been found to be no higher than child molestation by heterosexuals.[28][29] Some scientists whose work is cited by the American College of Pediatricians - a small conservative organization which was formed when the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed adoption by same-sex couples - have said that it has distorted and misrepresented their work.[30] The opinions and statements made by Sprigg and Perkins in 2010 contributed to the decision by the Southern Poverty Law Center to designate the FRC as a hate group in the Winter 2010 issue of its magazine, Intelligence Report.[31]

Same-sex marriage cases[edit]

Family Research Council on January 28, 2013 issued an amicus brief in support of Proposition 8 case and DOMA case before the Supreme Court arguing for the court to uphold DOMA banning federal recognition of same-sex unions and Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California.[32][33][better source needed]

Publishing and lobbying activities[edit]

In Funding the Culture Wars, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy lists the Family Research Council as one of the leading organizations funding the activities of the conservative movement.[34] As a non-profit organization, FRC is completely dependent on donations from supporters. FRC publishes frequent e-mail updates, usually in the form of short articles, which can also be viewed on their website. These articles typically take the form of advocacy for a conservative Christian perspective on current political and social issues.

Family Research Council is a member of, a coalition formed to sponsor California Proposition 8 to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples only, which passed in 2008 (but was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court in California, with the ruling stayed as the case is appealed).[35]

Justice Sunday[edit]

Justice Sunday was the name for three religious conferences organized by the FRC and Focus on the Family in 2005 and 2006. According to FRC, the purpose of the events was to "request an end to filibusters of judicial nominees that were based, at least in part, on the nominees' religious views or imputed inability to decide cases on the basis of the law regardless of their beliefs."[36]

Values Voter Summit[edit]

Main article: Values Voter Summit

Every fall, FRC Action (the political action group affiliated with FRC) holds an annual summit composed for conservative Christian activists and evangelical voters in Washington, D.C. In the past, the summit has been a place for social conservatives across the nation to hear Republican presidential hopefuls' platforms, and via a straw poll since 2007 also a means of providing an early prediction of which candidate will win the endorsement of Christian conservatives.[37]

Ugandan Resolution[edit]

In 2010, the FRC paid $25,000 to congressional lobbyists for what they described as "Res.1064 Ugandan Resolution Pro-homosexual promotion" in a lobbying disclosure report.[38] The US House of Representatives resolution condemned the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill,[39] a bill which, among other things, would have imposed either the death penalty or life imprisonment for sexual relations between persons of the same sex.[40][41][42][43]

Following exposure of the lobbying contribution in June 2010, the FRC issued a statement denying that they were trying to kill the bill, but rather that they wanted to change the language of the bill "to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right." They further stated, "FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality - nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct".[44] The Ugandan Resolution is being revived by Uganda's President Museveni in 2012.

FRC used one of Museveni's speeches in an e-mail to its supporters praising Uganda’s commitment to Christian faith and “national repentance” around the time that he reintroduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The speech did not refer to homosexuality specifically, but did mention "sexual immorality" among the sins for which Museveni and other Ugandans must repent.[45] It has been suggested that this implies the FRC supports the bill, in spite of their previous statement.[46]

Listing as a hate group by SPLC[edit]

The Southern Poverty Law Center designated the FRC as a hate group in the Winter 2010 issue of its magazine, Intelligence Report. Aside from statements made earlier in the year by Sprigg and Perkins (see Statements on homosexuality), the SPLC described the FRC as a “font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history”.[47][48] As evidence, the SPLC cited a 1999 publication by the FRC, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys, which claimed: “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”[48][49] The report said FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey and Peter Sprigg (2001) had "pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia".[31][48]

FRC President Tony Perkins called the “hate” designation a political attack on the FRC by a "liberal organization".[50] On December 15, 2010 the FRC ran an open letter advertisement in two Washington, D.C. newspapers disputing the SPLC's action; in a press release, the FRC called the allegation "intolerance pure and simple" and said it was dedicated to upholding "Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman."'[51] A section of the letter supporting the FRC and certain other organizations designated as hate groups by the SPLC had signers which included twenty members of the House of Representatives (including then soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner), three U.S. Senators, four state Governors, and one state Attorney General.[52][53] In response, Mark Potok (SPLC spokesman) emphasized the factual evidence upon which the SPLC had taken the step of making the designation.[54]

A shooting incident outside the FRC headquarters in 2012 (see below) prompted further comments on the SPLC's 'hate group' listing. Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post, referred to the incident as "a madman’s act" for which the SPLC should not be blamed, but called its classication of the FRC as a hate group "reckless" and said that "it's absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church."[55] Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry described himself as "not comfortable" with the designation: "There's probably some things that have been said by one or two individuals that qualify as hate speech. But overall, it's not seen as a hate group."[56]

Shooting incident[edit]

On August 15, 2012, a gunman attempting to enter FRC's Washington, D.C. headquarters shot a security guard, 46-year-old Leonardo Johnson, in the left arm.[57] While injured, Johnson assisted others who wrestled the gunman to the ground until police arrived and placed the gunman under arrest.[58][59] Johnson was taken to a hospital to treat his wound.[60]

The gunman was interviewed by the FBI.[60] Law enforcement officials said that the suspect, 28-year-old Floyd Corkins II, a resident of nearby Herndon, Virginia, had served as a volunteer at a LGBT community center.[58][61] The FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department investigated jointly "to determine motive/intent and whether a hate crime/terrorism nexus exists." During his FBI interview Corkins was asked how he chose his target. His response was "Southern Poverty Law, lists...uh...anti-gay groups. I found them online".[62][63] Corkins appeared in court the following day and was charged with assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition.[64] An affidavit filed in the case stated that Corkins had told the guard “words to the effect of ‘I don’t like your politics.’"[65][66]

On August 22, 2012, Corkins was indicted on three charges: two charges in the District of Columbia, possession of a handgun during a violent crime and assault with intent to kill, and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, a federal charge.[67] In January 2013, Corkins pleaded guilty to crossing state lines with guns and ammunition, intent to kill while armed, and committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill.[68] Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison on September 19, 2013.[69]

On the day of the shooting, a joint statement was issued by 25 LGBT groups condemning Corkins' action.[60][61] The National Organization for Marriage, an active campaigner against same-sex marriage,[66] issued a statement saying “Today's attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end".[70]

FRC president Tony Perkins issued a public statement calling the shooting "an act of domestic terrorism" and criticizing the Southern Poverty Law Center for being "reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy."[71] SPLC Spokesman Mark Potok called Perkins's accusation "outrageous," and in a statement said: "The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence."[72][73]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Nonprofit Report for Family Research Council". GuideStar. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "About FRC: History/Mission". Family Research Council. 2010-05-08. Archived from 1 the original on 2007-02-04. 
  3. ^ Paul S. Herrnson; Ronald G. Shaiko; Clyde Wilcox (2005). The interest group connection: electioneering, lobbying, and policymaking in Washington. CQ Press. p. 410. ISBN 978-1-56802-922-1. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Paul A. Djupe; Laura R. Olson (2003). Encyclopedia of American religion and politics. Infobase Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8160-4582-2. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ Glenn H. Utter; James L. True (2004). Conservative Christians and political participation: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 355. ISBN 978-1-85109-513-1. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Tony Perkins biodata". Family Research Council. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Josh Duggar snags Family Research Council job in Washington, D.C.". UPI. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Clarification of 2005 Family Research Council Media Remarks on HPV Vaccine". Family Research Council. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ Brynaert, Ron (August 22, 2006). "Coalition of conservative groups believe hotel porn may be prosecutable". Raw Story. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ Crary, David (August 23, 2006). "Ad crusade targets hotel porn movies - Conservatives want feds to pull the plug". The Journal Gazette. Associated Press. 
  11. ^ "Homosexuality Is Not a Civil Right". Family Research Council. 
  12. ^ "FAQs". Family Research Council. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  13. ^ Roger W. Stump (2000). Boundaries of faith: geographical perspectives on religious fundamentalism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-8476-9320-7. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  14. ^ Model Legislation: Divorce Reform for Families With Children
  15. ^ Leonard, Andrew (November 15, 2007). "Life, liberty and the right to play online poker". Salon. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  16. ^ "One-Size Politics Doesn't Fit All". Christianity Today. April 27, 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2007. 
  17. ^ "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action". 2012. 
  18. ^ "Global warming gap among evangelicals widens". CNN. March 14, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  19. ^ Szobody, Ben (July 18, 2012). "Young conservatives seek fixes for climate change". Greenville Online. 
  20. ^ a b "Human Sexuality Research Area". Family Research Council. 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy". The New York Times. June 26, 2003. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  22. ^ The terms "deviate" and "deviant" sex were used historically in laws such as the one struck down by Lawrence v. Texas.
  23. ^ "Lawrence & Garner vs Texas: Texas Amicus Brief". Family Research Council. 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  24. ^ "CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?
    PETER SPRIGG: Well, I think certainly-
    MATTHEWS: I’m just asking you, should we outlaw gay behavior?
    SPRIGG: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.
    MATTHEWS: So we should outlaw gay behavior.
    SPRIGG: Yes."
    February 02, 2010. Hardball, MSNBC.statement at 8:37, transcript
  25. ^ "Family Research Council Labeled 'Hate Group' By SPLC Over Anti-Gay Rhetoric". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  26. ^ a b "Perkins, Potok spar over hate group". Hardball with Chris Matthews. MSNBC. Retrieved December 8, 2010 [Broken Link].  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  27. ^ a b "Tony Perkins Defends Family Research Council, Sort Of". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  28. ^ a b 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked Southern Poverty Law Center By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback, accessed December 3, 2010
  29. ^ "Sexual orientation, homosexuality, and bisexuality". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  30. ^ Pinto, Nick (May 26, 2010). "University of Minnesota professor's research hijacked". Minneapolis City Pages. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  31. ^ a b Lengell, Sean (November 24, 2010). "Family Research Council labeled a ‘hate group’". The Washington Times. Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Funding the Culture Wars: Philanthropy, Church and State. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. February 2005. 
  35. ^ Hubbell, John M. (April 28, 2005). "Coalition seeks male-female marriage definition/New ballot push for constitutional amendment". San Francisco Chronicle. p. B3. 
  36. ^ Justice Sunday II: A Special Note From Executive Vice President of FRC, Chuck Donovan
  37. ^ Michelle Vu, "Presidential Hopefuls Highlight 'Values' to Christian Conservatives", The Christian Post, October 20, 2007
  38. ^ Tripodi, Paul. "Lobbying Report". Lobbying Disclosure. US House of Representatives. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  39. ^ US House of Representatives (February 3, 2010). "H.Res.1064". OpenCongress. Retrieved August 16, 2012. Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009" under consideration by the Parliament of Uganda, that would impose long term imprisonment and the death penalty for certain acts, threatens the protection of fundamental human rights, and for other purposes. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ Weigel, David (June 4, 2010). "Family Research Council explains: It lobbied for changes to Uganda resolution". Right Now. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  42. ^ McEwan, Alvin (June 7, 2010). "Family Research Council evades regarding Ugandan anti-gay bill lobbying efforts". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  43. ^ Melloy, Kilian (June 4, 2010). "FRC Opposes U.S. Resolution Against Ugandan ’Kill Gays’ Law". News. Edge - Boston, MA. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  44. ^ Montopoli, Brian (June 4, 2010). "Family Research Council Lobbied Congress on Resolution Denouncing Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill". Political Hotsheet. CBS News. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  45. ^ "For the sins of Uganda, I repent — Museveni"
  46. ^ FRC cites President Museveni of Uganda
  47. ^ Dutton, Nick (August 18, 2012). "Shooting sparks controversy over 'hate' designation for conservative group". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  48. ^ a b c Evelyn Schlatter. "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda". SPLC. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  49. ^ Ariosto, David (August 17, 2012). "SPLC draws conservative ire". CNN. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  50. ^ Thompson, Krissah (November 24, 2010). "'Hate group' designation angers same-sex marriage opponents". Washington Post. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  51. ^ "FRC, Members of Congress, Governors, and Conservative Leaders Release Open Letter Calling for Civil Debate, End to Character Assassination". PR Newswire. December 15, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  52. ^ Boyle, Matthew (2010-12-15). "Family ResearchCouncil, top GOP lawmakers fight back against SPLC ‘hate group’ label". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  53. ^ "Start Debating, Stop Hating". Family Research Council. December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010. 
  54. ^ "SPLC Responds to Attack by FRC, Conservative Republicans", December 5, 2010
  55. ^
  56. ^ Pearson, Michael (August 17, 2012). "Shooting sparks controversy over 'hate' designation for conservative group". CNN. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  57. ^ Jennifer Donelan (August 15, 2012). "Family Research Council shooting leaves security guard wounded". WJLA. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  58. ^ a b Johnson, Jessica. "Official: Suspect Floyd Corkins II criticized group before Wash. shooting". Today's THV. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  59. ^ Emery, Theo (August 15, 2012). "Policy Group in Washington Is Shooting Site". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  60. ^ a b c DiMargo, Carissa. "Security Guard Shot at Family Research Council in Downtown DC". NBC News Washington. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  61. ^ a b "Cops: LGBT volunteer shoots conservative group's guard". CBS News. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^ Hermann, Peter; Alexander, Keith L. (August 16, 2012). "Floyd Lee Corkins charged in Family Research Council shooting". Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  65. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (August 16, 2012). "Family Research Council Shooting Possibly Driven by Politics". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  66. ^ a b Virginia man charged in shooting at Family Research Council, CNN.
  67. ^ "Herndon man indicted in Family Research Council shooting". Washington Post. 2012-08-22. 
  68. ^ "Floyd Corkins pleads guilty to Family Research Council shooting". WJLA. February 6, 2013. Corkins pleaded guilty to one federal count of crossing state lines with guns and ammunition. He also pleaded guilty to one count of intent to kill while armed and one count of committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill. 
  69. ^ "Virginia Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison in Shooting of Security Guard at Family Research Council". Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 19, 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  70. ^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (August 15, 2012). "Oh My Goodness". The Corner. National Review. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  71. ^ Lisee, Chris (August 16, 2012). "Family Research Council accuses Southern Poverty Law Center of sparking shooter's hatred". Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  72. ^ Watkins, Tom (August 16, 2012). "After D.C. shooting, fingers point over blame". CNN. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  73. ^ SPLC: Family Research Council License-to-Kill Claim ‘Outrageous’, August 16, 2012

External links[edit]