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NOM in Rochester: “we’ll be treated as bigots”

Timothy Kincaid

July 30th, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage’s Summer for Marriage Tour rolled into a church parking lot set in a big green pasture (perhaps it needed fertilizer) in Rochester, MN. And the attendance was small (Tour Tracker):

18 NOM attendees
9 NOM staffers/volunteers
2 priests
7 protesters

As absolutely nothing new or even remotely interesting resulted from NOM’s increasingly boring tour, I want to touch on something that Brian Brown said there that he and Maggie Gallagher have been saying a lot lately:

“If we do not stand up for marriage we will be treated under the law as bigots.”

Objecting to being called a bigot has featured large in their talking points as of late. But they aren’t really worried about what anyone calls them; it’s a larger issue than that.

Brian and Maggie fear that the world is changing. They fear that it may soon become normal to treat gay people with acceptance, respect and equality. They fear what anti-gay extremists refer to as the “normalization of homosexuality.”

And they have reason to fear.

Consider, if you will, the man or woman who in 1963 firmly believed that it was right to segregate by race. At the time, their views were not outside the range of normal; they were not considered to be peculiar or automatically assumed to be grounded in hatred. When George Wallace stood in the schoolroom door, he was a reflection of his time and culture and held a view that was supported by the majority of his constituents. He was certain that God was on his side.

But time has not been kind to the image of George Wallace and his supporters. At this point we look back and marvel at the fear and animus that was so embedded into a culture that kind and decent people accepted these attitudes and presumptions as normal and good and ordered by God. “It was bald-faced bigotry,” we say, and have little patience or forgiveness for that part of our history.

And Brian and Maggie fear that this is likely to be their fate.

And so it is with determination that they fight forward, hoping to turn back a culture that has already passed the tipping point. Like George Wallace, they declare that the public is behind them and toss the gauntlet declaring heterosexual privilege now, heterosexual privilege tomorrow, heterosexual privilege forever.

And with increasing shrillness they desperately look for a way to come out on the winning side of history. They hope that by claiming the rhetoric of civil rights they can achieve the success of that movement. In desperation they turn to the prayers of priests begging for divine intervention.

But I think that they know by now that there is no turning back. Marriage’s George Wallace moment was in 2004 when George W. Bush made same-sex marriage a campaign issue. That was the peak of opposition and its been on a steady decline since. Equality is coming and the signs are everywhere.

More and more the Democratic leaders are speaking in terms of equality, and more and more Republicans are unwilling to be seen as equality’s enemy. When Laura Bush said that she “disagreed” with the FMA, it disheartened them. When Cindy McCain endorsed marriage equality the end seemed so much closer. Furiously they lashed out at Tom Campbell for daring to endorse marriage.

Loudly they gloat about the California vote, knowing that polls reveal that it soon will be reversed. They bluff and demand the right to vote in Washington, DC, even while knowing that there’s a good chance they would lose that vote. As they look out at the few dozen people who park their lawnchair at their rallies, they cannot help but know what we already know.

Equality is coming. Time is on our side.

The future world will likely look back and wonder how the majority of Americans let a handful of religious zealots dictate discrimination. They’ll marvel at the fear and animus that is so embedded into our culture that kind and decent people accept these attitudes and presumptions as normal and good and ordered by God. “It was bald-faced bigotry,” they will say, and will have little patience or forgiveness for this part of our history.

And so Brian and Maggie fight on. Because they know that “we’ll be treated as bigots.”



July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Note the on thing they never ask: “why would we be treated as bigots?” Because that question leads to its corollary: “are we bigots?”

And if they had the ability to look at themselves honestly, they’d have to answer,”yes.”

David C.
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

The future world will likely look back and wonder how the majority of Americans let a handful of religious zealots dictate discrimination.

Well, yes the world may, but will the people of the US learn from it? Many seem to have failed to learn from the 60’s black civil rights struggle, and we still have not healed the racial divide in this country nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Some people derisively describe religion as a disease, but it is ignorance that is truly the most fatal ailment of mankind.

July 30th, 2010 | LINK

You said in a VERY powerful and insightful way what I’ve been preaching for years. Having grown up in Mississippi I experienced George Wallace’s world first hand. I see SO many similarities between the racist agenda and the anti-gay agenda. I also see a lot of similarities in their respective demises.

John in the Bay Area
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

When people look back, very few are going to be willing to admit that they voted for anti-equality state constitution amendments and supported other forms of discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.

July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, this one of your finer posts.

NOM’s reasons have shifted yet again, the last couple of years it was always about The Children. Now it is Our Civil Rights. I cannot even imagine what their next big reason will be.

Cowboy PhD
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Bravo Timothy. I found your post inspirational and uplifting, giving me strength to continue the fight for equality!

July 30th, 2010 | LINK

There is something that is not explained. Maggie and Brian obviously know like everyone else that no one has been able to stop civil rights movements in the past. Morbidly obese Bill Bennett said much the same thing to Jon Stewart a couple of years ago. He literally said: “Yes, we’ve lost the battle.” So can someone please tell me WHY they persist? All these people know the inevitable – so what is the point?

July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Thank you, that was fantastic writing.

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Tommy, the persist because it makes them money.

There are more than enough scared old folks willing to give up their social security checks to NOM.

Maggie and Brian don’t believe what they say at all but it lines their pockets quite nicely (for now).

John Doucette
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Maybe they will be viewed as bigots because they are bigots.

Priya Lynn
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

No maybe about it, John. When you act like a bigot you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re treated as a bigot.

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

When listing Republican leaders, dont forget California State Senator Roy Ashburn, who has a career of 100% anti-gay votes on every issue.

But now? He is out, and sorry:

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

This might be true so long as the Republicans are out of power. If they win either the house or the senate look for any gains we have made to be rolled back. It is in their interest to keep this nonsensical ‘debate’ going as a fundraising and vote-getting tool. It’s all they have and they’re not about to give it up. The same is true for ENDA and DADT.

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Joe My God posted a piece a few days ago arguing that this tour is nothing more than a campaign to get evidence of malevolence toward NOM. If they can prove that the pro straight-marriage people have a reasonable fear of the gay marriage folk, then they can keep their contributions hidden.

NOM has been tenaciously avoiding posting the donors to their campaign in defiance of a number of state laws, specifically Washington and Maine. The rulings have been, more or less, against them. The supreme court ruling through it to the lower courts. The lower courts may conceal the names if NOM can prove that the donors have a real fear.

Notice how NOM’s language has become more incendiary. They want to provoke us to violence. I hope the blogs make this very clear, so that the NOM strategy fails.

Here’s the link over at JMG:

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

George Wallace repented and apologized for his segregationist actions before he died. If you consider where he ended up, rather where he stood for much of his life, you insult him by putting him in same category as NOM.

Timothy Kincaid
July 31st, 2010 | LINK


They persist because they believe that they must. God wants them to.

I know that we often apply cynicism to our opponents. We assume they do it for the money.

That is seldom the case. Most often they do it because they are true believers.

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Even the blatant hypocrites to their own supposed values?

Timothy Kincaid
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Yes, Burr.

Even the hypocrites – they don’t see their hypocrisy.

Oh, there are a few who are partly in it for the power and the celebrity and the possible financial opportunities (there are those in our own community who are as well) but that doesn’t mean that they don’t believe it.

And there are some like George Rekers who have things hidden in their closet that motivate them, but even Rekers is a believer in the intrinsic immorality of homosexuality.

Even the liars and bigots and hypocrites and frauds really do, to a greater or lesser extent, believe that they are on the holy and righteous side of the debate. Some may have to tell themselves that they are doing right – and I believe that many of them will somewhere down the road change their minds and apologize (especially the ones who are less informed about this issue specifically but are just there as moral support), but very very few anti-gay activists are purely cynical and disbelieve what they say.

Politicians, on the other hand… well…

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Well let’s see, NOM- you consistently lie about us, you consistently degrade and denigrate us. Guess what- THAT MAKES YOU BIGOTS. Sorry to burst the homophobic little bubbles you live in, but freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from being criticized by those opposed to your ideas and positions. And the notion that you’re somehow victims when you’re the ones advocating your position from a position of privilege reeks of hypocrisy.

July 31st, 2010 | LINK

but very very few anti-gay activists are purely cynical and disbelieve what they say.

But we don’t have to assume that they are speaking from a place with a full grasp of reality.

Seething Mom
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

As a straight, married (for 28yrs) mother of 3 kids (one of them gay), I consider myself an ardent and passionate supporter of glbt equality. So not only do I find Maggie Gallagher’s fight to keep gay people from being treated with acceptance, respect and equality repugnant and hateful, but I am insulted that she would put herself out there as a defender of my marriage. How dare she and her fellow NOMers insult people like my husband and I with this blatant nonsensical garbage.

Marriage is damn hard, but two people of the same sex wanting to get married is certainly NOT and never has been a threat to my marriage or the marriage of anyone else I know.

My God, these people are horrible. And masking their hateful agenda as a fight to protect heterosexual marriage is about as laughable and transparently ugly as it gets.

There is only one thing motivating these people and it is hatred and homophobia. So yes, yes, yes these people are most definitely hateful bigots and history will not be kind to them. And I hope it happens while they are still around to feel the shame for what they have done.

Thank you for such a thoughtful and hopeful post Timothy. I am going to bed now and I can’t think of a better bedtime post to end my day.

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