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Smile and wave, NOM’s watching

Timothy Kincaid

July 21st, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage’s Summer for Marriage Tour does not exactly yield itself to stimulating discussion. We’ve heard Brian Brown ranting and the, ummm, peculiar theories of Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Foundation (why do I keep wanting to call her Dr. Ruth?) and there’s just not that much new to say about it all.

But can you imagine having to be actually driving the bus and having to hear daily reruns of those speeches. Or blogging about it? Oh my sweet bippy, I’m dozing off at the thought. There are only so many times you can say “I’m so exited about the crowd of 40 senior citizens who dozed in the sun while Dr. Ruth Jennifer expounded on how same-sex marriage is an attack on farm animals and corporate structure” before your eyes glaze and you start banging your head against the wall. Or speaking in tongues.

So, like the rest of us, NOM’s bus driver extraordinairre, Louis Marinelli, has taken to talking about the protesters instead. And taking pictures. Of their dogs.

But in Trenton the protesters stayed away and instead held their much more interesting and vastly better attended press event, so Louis doesn’t even have them to talk about. And it must be far too discouraging to talk about the mini-rally. I mean, really.

But luckily for Louis, he found us.

Oh yes, Marinelli not only found the commentary to be worthy of focus but many of your comments as well. Smile and wave, kiddies, NOM’s watching. (But don’t let it go to your head; he also told us the contents of his lunch).

Marinelli was oh so happy to see anyone critical of storming the stage. He “applauded our integrity”… though he seems not to have read the commentary very fully or completely (or realize that Jim and I are two different people).

But Marinelli then took an approach that was very revealing: he obsessed about our disagreements over tactics. And in his writing I again recognized two things that separate our community from those who are intent on denying us our equality: we are capable of having multiple perspectives, differing views, and even disagreements while remaining one community; and we are not afraid of dissent.

I think that idea fascinates those who oppose us. It’s foreign to those who are accustomed to believing that there is one true holy and universal way to think, revealed by God and upheld by Pontiffs and Prophets. And while I’m sure they fear disagreement (and regularly remove comments and individuals from their sites that don’t toe the line) I think they also envy our freedom. The freedom to challenge and be challenged, the freedom of not having to be ‘right’ lest you spend eternity in torture, and the freedom to question presumptions and grow.

So smile kids and don’t be afraid to question us or each other. NOM is watching and this is something that they need to see.

Jim Burroway’s comment: Incredible, isn’t it? NOM is about to pee their collective pants in glee to discover that the LGBT community is a very diverse group of people, ranging from Christians to atheists, Republicans to Democrats, from right-wing fascist to merely conservative to moderate to merely liberal to left-wing Marxist. You know, like the rest of America.

But Marinelli is so incapable of understanding that concept that he seems to think Timothy and I are the same people. That confusion is instructive, because like many who fight so hard against LGBT equality, Marinelli is incapable of distinguishing among different people. Where we see people, he sees an agenda, and to him, Timothy and I are all the same. And so what Marinelli is squealing like a schoolgirl over here is his cognitive dissonance that he has encountered now that his stereotype of the monolithic “homosexual agenda,” that bogeyman who lurks in the shadows and always behaves in a predictable way (bogeyman only exists in the imagination of the dreamer, hence the predictability) evaporates when confronted with the reality that, gosh, different people have different opinions! Imagine that! And furthermore, they’re going to express them! Well golly willikers! Maybe we disagree with the whole equality thing altogether!

Don’t count on that.

P.S. I love how all of you ordinary readers are now “homosexual activists.” Welcome aboard.

Comments

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Bridget Laiden
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Why can’t people just get on with other people without the feeling they have to judge everyone they meet.

Lifes to short, live it how you want and be happy with your life.

Paul in Canada
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Interesting… went to his blog and many critical comments remain. Would be worth one of you adding the point in your post about the freedom to disagree – a foundational element of our community: diversity!

Stephen
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I cannot understand the obsession. With La Barbera it’s easy enough to see him acting out his fears of his own sexuality by obsessing compulsively over men in leather but what’s with these people? Apart from the money-making aspect I cannot fathom what keeps them going. Are their lives so bereft of meaning that they can only feel a sense of self by acting out religious fantasies that cast them as latter-day saints out to save the world? And why should we be the enemy? Perhaps if we substitute ‘Jew’ for ‘Homosexual’ we get a clearer idea of what’s going on: eg. substitute ‘recruiting our children’ for ‘making matzohs with the blood of Christian children’ and we can see that the language is uncannily like that of old-fashioned anti-Semitism. Language that is, thankfully, no longer permissible. Perhaps the idea that we can pass for straight so they can’t ever be sure who we are fuels their nightmares? Something’s going on which has little or nothing to do with who I really am and I find them too indescribably boring to be able to spend too much time thinking about their motives. I admire your dedication, Timothy, and hope you get to have sufficient time away from charting the many idiocies of NOM to keep yourself sane.

Richard Rush
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

It’s becoming clear that NOM’s traveling circus needs some retooling, and I’m here to help.

First of all, they need to bring in some star-power, and that means Maggie Gallagher. At every tour venue she can headline a gala celebration of the sanctity of marriage by performing her famous magic trick whereby she makes her Hindu husband disappear.

Secondly, every circus needs a side-show. NOM should hire that tongue-speaker who made an impromptu appearance in Providence, RI. I know, I know, many will say that tongue-speakers need to be kept hidden in the closet, but many fine Americans love a good freak show, and I say that every new person they can attract on this summer tour is a potential convert to the cause of saving marriage for America’s finest people.

And thirdly, NOM needs to assure their status as persecuted victims by hiring some young actors to pose as viscous gay protesters making in-your-face snappy sassy retorts to NOM talking points. They can’t risk another Trenton disaster where the protesters met behind closed doors.

Jim Burroway
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Incredible, isn’t it? NOM is about to pee their collective pants in glee to discover that the LGBT community is a very diverse group of people, ranging from Christians to atheists, Republicans to Democrats, from right-wing fascist to merely conservative to moderate to merely liberal to left-wing Marxist. You know, like the rest of America.

But Marinelli is so incapable of understanding that concept that he seems to think Timothy and I are the same people. That confusion is instructive, because like many who fight so hard against LGBT equality, Marinelli is incapable of distinguishing among different people. Where we see people, he sees an agenda, and to him, Timothy and I are all the same. And so what Marinelli is squealing like a schoolgirl over here is his cognitive dissonance that he has encountered now that his stereotype of the monolithic “homosexual agenda,” that bogeyman who lurks in the shadows and always behaves in a predictable way (bogeyman only exists in the imagination of the dreamer, hence the predictability) evaporates when confronted with the reality that, gosh, different people have different opinions! Imagine that! And furthermore, they’re going to express them! Well golly willikers! Maybe we disagree with the whole equality thing altogether!

Don’t count on that.

P.S. I love how all of you ordinary readers are now “homosexual activists.” Welcome aboard.

Jonathan
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Eh, I think it’s less a matter of being ‘astonished’ at a difference of opinion, and more his desire to exploit both our moderation and our extremism at the same time.

Is this level of discourse really instructive? It feels like Rachel Maddow devoting a segment to the stupid thing Glenn Beck said while he was commenting on a stupid thing Keith Olbermann said while he was commenting on a stupid thing Bill O’Reilly said. I know blogs are a little more moment-to-moment, but NOM has pretty clearly fallen from an organization which directs the national conversation to one that feeds off of it. Just ignore the yippy little dog and let it die.

Priya Lynn
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Stephen I think they’re obsessed with gays because by creating an evil enemy to hate and fight it gives them a sense of superiority and someone to blame for everything they hate about their lives and how the world is. That way they can delude themselves into thinking defeating gays is doable and will set everything right with the world and their unhappy lives.

Mike
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

” At every tour venue she can headline a gala celebration of the sanctity of marriage by performing her famous magic trick whereby she makes her Hindu husband disappear…”

It’s been a while since I had a good strong belly laugh at Mags expense. Thanks! That was a good one.

TampaZeke
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Maggie seems to do a real good job of keeping any mention of her born-out-of-wedlock (I’ll not use the term that they would use to describe such a child) child out of her pontifications about sacred marriage, children and THE proper family structure too.

Candace
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

The VERY FIRST TIME I dared open my mouth and disagree with a loud-mouthed, overbearing, anti-gay christian zealot, I was labeled a “homosexual activist.” I had never been to a gay event, a gay bar, didn’t know another gay person, knew nothing about the equality struggle, and had never done anything “gay” in my life– but I dared disagree with this pompus little tyrant, so I was clearly a gay activist.

How prophetic her words were.

My advice to NOM? You have constructed your own prisons and are your own prisoners… but you can open the doors any time and join the rest of the world in happiness and freedom. Remember, your cell locks from the inside.

There’s a whole big world out here that you never dreamed of.

Emily K
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Does he really think he’s going to “divide and conquer?” gimme a break. People argue on this blog (and elsewhere) all the time. We’ve always been this divided, and yet we remain unconquered. Like Timothy said: because a good portion of us welcome all diversity of worldviews.

Manawolf
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Do I get an ID card?

On a less flippant note, the counter-testimonies are brilliant. I’m familiar with the theory of the Courage Campaign, but having physical podiums set up where ordinary people simply testify about how this hurts them – particularly in the same area where NOM’s attempting to spread their ideology – has a LOT of potential.

Honest stories, so people see us as human rather than talking points, is the key to overcoming prejudice.

Bruce Garrett
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I love how all of you ordinary readers are now “homosexual activists.” Welcome aboard.

I may have to change my definition of “Militant Homosexual Activist.” A Militant Homosexual Activist is (strike “a homosexual” replace with “anyone”) who acts like there is nothing wrong with being a homosexual. But its been long pointed out that the war on Teh Gay isn’t just about Teh Gay…it’s directed at Everyone. Never mind Roe, ask some of these culture warriors what they think of Griswold.

And…wasn’t it Patton who said “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking”…? I would suffocate, my brain would die of thirst, if I had to live in an environment where nobody asked pointed questions.

Stephen
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I posted this over the marriage place. I know. It’s pissing in the wind but I feel it personally as I want my husband and I to enjoy our marriage before one or both of us die.

“I think you’re lucky you got off so light. Look at how they young they are. You want to diminish their world and deny their rights as American citizens. We are allowed to disagree. We always have. We are not some monolithic group. Gay men and women are everywhere in our society doing all kinds of work in all kinds of places. Some of us are Republicans, some are Democrats, some are anarchists, some are bankers, some are artists, some are stay-at-home mothers or fathers, some are senators, some are policemen or women, some are generals, some are writers, some are priests, some are pastors, some are movie stars, some are billionaires, some are homeless, some are insurance salesmen. We are everywhere. And we don’t all think alike. More than that, though we may get heated in our disagreements as with any group under constant attack, we respect the fundamental right of each other to disagree. You seem to think that there is some hidden weakness that commenters should disagree. In fact it’s a strength. And I’d be very careful, if I were you, to point to comments on any other site to draw conclusions from them. The comments I see here from those I assume are your supporters are often disgusting in the violence of their hatred. Unfortunately, I see very few here who disagree with them.

BobbiCW
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I dare say that Mr Marinelli’s intention is to rile us up so that we get larger and larger crowds to counter-protest the NOM bus. This would accomplish 2 things (and anyone who’s ever watched Westboro’s tactics will find this familiar):

1. Crowds and controversy equal free media time.

2. More pictures of Teh Homosexuals “harrassing” Teh Good People equals more dollars down the road.

Both of these will also help them push their “help I’m being hated on” meme. What they fail to understand is that these tactics can easily be co-opted by us, and they’ll wind up looking like the haters they are. So let’s play!

Paul in Canada
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

@Stephen: “I cannot understand the obsession.”

Evangelical christianity is based on the precept that all need ‘salvation’. Convince folks of their sin and voila!, you have the answer – redemption through their belief system.

We are, that is the ‘homosexual devient sinner, simply the flavour-of-the-decade given our ‘demand’ for equality.

This is not unlike most other organized religions. All require justification for their existence, beliefs, theology and dogma.

Feeding off the need and hunger of innocents to understand the mystery of life is what gives organized religion their power (and control).

I think this is the motivation behind the animus-anibus tour of finger-pointing.

Guffey
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Sometimes, just for fun, I read the BTB articles without looking at the author, and then try to predict who wrote each article based on writing style.

It’s just a little something that is part of my “agenda” (being a “homosexual activist” after all).

Ray
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Since Louis Marinelli is reading this I’d like to ask him why he deletes comments on NOMs Facebook page. Doing that is called “Deceit by Censorship” because it leads people to believe that all commenters are unified and that there are no different or dissenting views when there are.

I understand deleting when it’s just a troll being nasty but when someone talks seriously about a subject, why do you delete only when it doesn’t uphold your view?

Recently someone posted what I’d call a disturbing trend toward provoking violence against gays. The use of Romans 1:32 is increasingly cited by anti-marriage partisans as a “solution” for gays and lesbians. Setting aside that it’s central message concerns idolatry, people citing do so in the context of advocating death. I saw someone do that thing on the NOM-One Man/Woman site and was pretty shocked when it was just left hanging there as if it was a form of gentle Christian charity. When I responded to the post to object to that kind of “support” ***my*** comment was deleted and the citation from Romans 1:32 stayed.

From that action, I can only conclude that NOM **AGREES** with that person. Why so, Louis? Is your frustration so great these days that it permits calls for death cloaked in biblical authority?

Timothy Kincaid
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Guffey,

How often are you right? I think that Jim and I write in very different styles.

Pender
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Oooh, such drama.

I’m guilty myself in this instance, but I will say that a good rule of thumb that has served me well so far is that life is too short to argue with professional bus drivers.

cd
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Look, NOM has to show that they’re Doing Something so that their Mormon and RCC donors don’t give up on them.

Also, there are fun storm clouds on the horizon for Maggie and she has to get working. Rhode Island is apparently going to elect a pro-marriage governor in November, which means there could well be a bill passed as early as next spring.

The state Senate Republicans in New York are in serious trouble this fall election. If they only lose three seats that will be a good result for them, but it could be six or seven. And Democrats control redistricting- the 2002 gerrymander that keeps Republican numbers unusually high isn’t going to survive into 2012. The anti-marriage side is going to run out of votes either in 2011 or 2013. Cuomo- who is going to get elected governor- is pro-marriage and probably wants an accomplishment his first year.

Then there’s California’s probable referendum in 2012. That’s not Maggie’s kuleana- the LDS will run their game out of their own groups and HQs in Utah- but she’ll probably get called in to rally Catholics.

As for Lou…he’s making the perpetual pre-Enlightenment conservative discovery that people on the liberal/liberalizing side are real people with serious and complex lives and many thoughts and activities mostly intelligent and understandable. All of which they can keep rather coherent and focussed without authority and dogma to tell them how to do it. People who stick together on interests even though they disagree with each other on almost everything at some time or another.

Lou…we consider each other real people *first*, our disagreements though loud and colorful rarely cause us to dismiss one another as impossibly, as insane or barbarians. Your world and the world of NOM doesn’t quite work that way, we know. In part because it does have rather a lot of barbarians and the insane in it.

We’re sort of the good Italian family, Lou- lots of drama and imperfection that the neighbors can see and hear even in the best of times, but we stick together in hard times and turn those of us who do harm outside the family over to the police. And we throw parties with awesome food and some great-looking people to which all good people are invited. Your side is the other kind of Italian family, where no one’s allowed to talk and everyone who survives the violent final bustup then moves to different cities and tries to forget everything that happened.

AdrianT
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

The difference is that Mr Marinelli and others get all the answers from a holy book, and get told what to think every Sunday morning. There is no more room for discussion.

A lot of the time, I work out the truth by debate, argument. Light comes from heat.

The key question, ‘quo warranto?’, ‘by what authority?’ was asked of wendy, who wanted to tell everyone what to think. The same question applies to anyone who claims to know the mind of god, on any matter, including marriage. It cannot be done, and there is no reason to suppose NOM are an exception to this.

Since their argument is purely religious, to legislate in their favour is a perversion of the Virginia Statute, plain and simple, which states that we don’t make laws based on the bible or any other superstitous text. No vote needed.

ebohlman
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Ray: It might be a good idea for someone (I’m not volunteering right now, but …) to set up a blog patterned after Silenced by Age of Autism. One Todd W. created that blog after many people observed that Age of Autism, a blog devoted to the (crackpot) notion that autism is caused by vaccines, would delete any comments that didn’t hew to the party line. Todd’s blog is a place where people who make comments on Age of Autism can repost them so they’ll still live even if AoA deletes them.

So the idea would be something like silencedbynom.whateverhost.com, where if you post something on NOM’s Facebook page you also post it there, so unbiased observers can see what they’re ignoring and so the comments can become the subject of meaningful discussion.

DN
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

There’s a Facebook group dedicated to that, called something to the effect of “National Organization for Marriage: Censorship is the Message”

Bruce Garrett
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I see that NOM is having photographers arrested now at its rallies. I’m sorry to say that my state’s police (Maryland) decided to act as NOM’s private bouncers for their little (and I mean…little) event. Oh…and in front of a statue of Thurgood Marshall, placed under the words: “Equal Justice Under Law”.

Well I hope they don’t think this means the cameras are going away now. God…I wish I’d been there…

I hope the ACLU steps into this. As an amateur photographer myself, and part-time photographer for my local gay paper (Baltimore OUTLoud), I’m alarmed at how often photographers are being arrested these days for perfectly legal acts of photography.

Steve in MI
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

I’m officially a homosexual activist. Woot!

Such a special moment. I’m glad you could all share it with me!

Guffey
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Tim,
I *think* it’s pretty clear – maybe 80-90% of the time I can pick right? You do have very different writing styles, IMO, which is what makes it fun.

And then of course, sometimes Daniel or Gabriel toss in an article and I’m really confused! :)

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