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