Tony Perkins: Gay tourism ad shows Obama’s ‘radical values and backwards priorities’

By David Edwards
Thursday, May 31, 2012 13:19 EDT
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Gay tourists depicted in U.S. tourism advertisement (Brand USA)
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Christian think tank leader Tony Perkins is blasting President Barack Obama over an effort to market the U.S. that includes images of LGBT people.

During a Thursday radio address, the Family Research Council president pointed to a recently created tourism advertisement that shows two gay men vacationing together.

“A new batch of U.S. travel ads should send some leaders packing–permanently,” Perkins asserted. “[W]hen Congress passed the Travel Promotion Act, people thought it’d be a great chance to highlight American attractions. What they didn’t know is that it would highlight same-sex attractions.”

“That’s right,” he added. “The commercial invites people to America-not to see the Grand Canyon, but to celebrate homosexuality. In one scene, a gay man is sleeping on his partner’s shoulder in a trolley.”

“According to Brand USA, the ads were supposed to ‘open up some minds as to what America really is’ — which, based on this commercial, is a country of radical values and backwards priorities. I suppose this is part of the President’s push to ‘rebrand’ America.”

The Travel Promotion Act, signed by Obama in 2010, was hailed as a tax-free stimulus and the country’s first-ever national tourism promotion. Ads began airing on May 1 in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada, with the original song “Land of Dreams” composed by Rosanne Cash, daughter of American music legend Johnny Cash.

Brand USA, which created the 60-second commercial, was clearly trying to show the world that America is welcoming to diverse groups of people by depicting various races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations.

“It’s bigger than us,” New Orleans actor Edward R. Cox, who appears as one of the gay men in the ad, told Out Smart magazine. “It’s not just a step forward for the GLBT community but a stride forward.”

“My agent sent my real life partner and me for it because we are both Equity actors, and they were looking for gay actors and in particular gay couples,” the actor explained. “The country needs this… Both the tourism dollars and the positive message it sends. Is it an idealized version of America? Is the GLBT community here still struggling? Yes. But this is just so exciting and humbling.”

Listen to this audio from the Family Research Council via Right Wing Watch, broadcast May 31, 2012.

Watch this advertisement from Brand USA.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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