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NOM blatantly appeals to homophobia

Timothy Kincaid

August 30th, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage has now officially become part of the wackadoodle extremist end of the anti-gay religious right. While Maggie Gallagher was officially at the helm, they managed to carry a pretense of civility and wore the mask of being issue driven rather than just acting out of animus and contempt.

But now that Brian Brown is the name on the masthead, the mask has come off. NOM no longer pretends to be civil, but instead now is openly using the tactics and language of those who seek not just to “protect traditional marriage” but to demonize gay people themselves and stir up hatred towards them.

No longer content with scare tactics such as “Mommy, I can grow up to marry a princess”, NOM is now spreading fear about radical homosexual activists and putting “gay marriage” in scare quotes. NOM has now become indistinguishable from Peter LaBarbera or Brain Camenker or Eugene Delguadio.

When the District of Columbia voted for marriage equality, NOM has become infuriated. And so they have involved themselves in the Washington DC councilman race.

Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas voted for marriage equality in the nation’s capital, so NOM has declared him to be an enemy and has funded a mailer for his opponent, Delano Hunter. It is as disgusting a piece of blatant nastiness as one would expect to find coming from MassResistance or the Traditional Values Coalition:

Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter become he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes “gay marriage.”

Radical, gay marriage activists are flooding Ward 5 with money to defeat Delano Hunter, not because they don’t like his plan to improve our community, but only because the supports the Biblical definition of marriage.

The outside gay activists don’t care about our right to home rule and right to vote on gay marriage. They only care about their agenda to redefine marriage. Don’t let them target Delano Hunter.

There is, of course, no explanation of why the Sister is in the picture. We don’t need one; we know exactly why that picture was selected. The Sisters are “scary” and for those who don’t know better she makes a good illustration of just what a radical homosexual looks like.

And, of course, since it’s NOM, the claim is a complete lie. Not a cent has been given to Thomas from “militant gay activists” in San Francisco or New York.

NOM’s Maggie Gallagher loves nothing more than to complain that mean gay marriage supporters are calling her names. “They call us bigots,” she whines at every opportunity.

At BTB we seldom engage in slinging slurs like “bigot” or “homophobe” or “liar” at those who oppose our equality. It serves no purpose and tends to shut down any possible hope for dialogue. And the truth is that most of those who don’t favor equality actually aren’t motivated by hatred or animus. Prejudice, presumption, and apathy are probably more to blame.

But while I am not calling Brian or Maggie names or accusing them of being bigots or homophobes, this particular mailer seeks to do nothing other than to appeal to hatred and fear. This mailer is, without question, bigoted and homophobic.

Comments

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anteros
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

…last kicks of a dying horse?

TampaZeke
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

WHO paid for the anti-gay flier and where did the money come from? Inside Washington DC?

Pot, meet kettle…

Tommy
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve heard, more than once mind you, Conservatives defend their hypocrisy in the following way, this specifically is Marc Johnson writing in Human Events:

“I’m a huge fan of hypocrisy since the alternative apparently is a world without standards for anyone, lest someone risk being called a hypocrite. Here is the difference between the average hypocrite and the average liberal: the hypocrite has the common courtesy to be embarrassed about what he does. The liberal thinks what he does should be taught to your children in school.”

There you have it. A complete justification of hypocrisy for political expediency.

Mihangel apYrs
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

there comes a point where “opponent” becomes “ENEMY”, i.e. they seek our destruction.

They deserve neither courtesy nor a hearing

Xaocoh
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Through the aggregate of their current antics, NOM seems to be stating, “How dare those fags call us bigoted homohobes!”

Riva
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t understand the reluctance to call a bigot a bigot and a homophobe a homophobe. My own mother thinks I am going to hell for various reasons (not only am I queer, but I’m an atheist) and while I love her dearly, she is a bigot when it comes to gay rights.

By letting them set the message (that they are ‘protecting’ marriage rather than persecuting queers) we are handicapping ourselves and while I firmly believe we will win in the long run, I’m tired of loosing in the meantime. My $.02 natch.

L. Junius Brutus
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Riva, starting to call people bigots will not win the battles you are tired of losing, it will only increase their margin of victory. No, what we need to do is to call out actual bigots, while ensuring that our shots do not hit the many people who oppose gay marriage and who are not bigots. The Uganda gay bill-supporting creeps at the FRC, for example, are definitely bigots – and more. On the other hand, most people who voted for Prop. 8 probably are not bigoted.

Tone
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve been a queer activist for nearly thirty years I’ve NEVER seen or had a “flood of money” to work with in my entire activist career. In fact I have found it notoriously difficult to pry money out of the tribe for anything rights-related.

TampaZeke
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Brutus, what is your definition of “bigot”? Where do you draw the line?

For example, do you think most of the Southern segregationists were bigots? What about the ones that fought integrated dining, water fountains, restrooms, etc?

Do you believe that a person can be a homophobe but not a bigot or a racist but not a bigot?

Cooner
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

TampaZeke,

I don’t know if this answers your question, but I can speak from a bit of personal experience. My father has always been conservative, and spent most of my childhood embracing the ideas spread by the media and by NOM’s predecessors: that gay marriage was a “special right,” that gradeschoolers would be taught about gay sex, that gays in the military would rape other soldiers and spread AIDS on the bloody battlefield, etc. Yet he wasn’t a bigot … in fact I recall at least one good family friend who lived down the street who was gay. It’s just that that was the only side of the argument he’d heard, and had no personal incentive to seek other possibilities.

It was when he was faced with a real, personal example of the kind of pain and hatred those “easy answers” cause (i.e., when he learned his own son was gay) that he was led into the discussions about the real issues, the real costs and the real benefits of gay rights and gay advocacy.

So yes, a lot of people out there are bigoted — especially the leaders of groups like NOM who should have the capacity to know better. But you can’t make the assumption that everyone is. Many people sitting at home, and even many people attending NOM rallies and signing petitions, just have never had the discussion and can only go by what they’ve been told. Our challenge is to reach these people, one by one. And in that respect we need to be careful before launching into tirades which can be construed as calling everyone bigots, as that can shut down the conversation before it can happen.

… just my $.02. :)

Matt
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Cooner,

It’s definitely hard splitting hairs (and hares ;) but I think that was a nice, tidy explanation.

Ben M
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve always been a fan of “heterosexism.” Cooner’s example of his dad fits the idea of hetrosexim, in that he thought “opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.”

One’s confronted with his hetrosexism, he was able to overcome it.

Bernie
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Why do they hate us so???? I just don’t understand all the fear and hatred that is espoused from the promulgation of ignorance.

In hearing these people, I say to myself,

1. Dear God, why am I created this way and what is my purpose?
2. Dear God, how can people like this be allowed to speak on behalf of You when are all Your children?

Can anybody help me? There are days when my faith grows weak, and this is one of them.

Priya Lynn
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Cooner said “My father has always been conservative, and spent most of my childhood embracing the ideas spread by the media and by NOM’s predecessors: that gay marriage was a “special right,” that gradeschoolers would be taught about gay sex, that gays in the military would rape other soldiers and spread AIDS on the bloody battlefield, etc. Yet he wasn’t a bigot…”.

So then by the same token let’s say you have a person who embraced lies that black people were less than human and needed to be looked after like children, would you say he wasn’t a bigot because he was honestly mistaken and didn’t hate black people?

Jason D
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

bigotry is bigotry however motivated. It’s a mixture of animus and ignorance. Sometimes the animus is because of the ignorance and vice versa.

Most bigots can’t handle being called a bigot—and what crooner said was true, it DOES shut down conversation — but that doesn’t make it any less true.

My own grandfather was a bigot, a big old Tulsa racist and while we never outright called him that, it wasn’t any less true because we didn’t name it. He wasn’t an otherwise upstanding citizen–If he had been, I can see how it would be difficult to call him a bigot. A good deal of my family on that side are also bigots, but unlike my late grandfather, they’re actually decent people.

The questions are..
Can they be reached?
Do they want to be reached?

Cooner I’ve noticed in the case of the “bigot with the good friend that is .” they’ve created a mental exception.
They still think that group XYZ is bad, awful, horrible, evil, etc etc etc, but “Bob” or “Sally” their friend, is an exception. You’ll hear them say “Bob’s different” or “Sally’s not like the rest”.
This is how they get to have their bigotry and have Bob and Sally at the same time. I’ve seen it happen in my own family.
Whenever a relative has gone off on gay people, my mother has said “you realize you’re talking about your grandson?” or “You do remember that your cousin is gay, too, right?”

The answer is, predictably “Jason’s different” or “Jason’s family”. They’ve made a mental exception that allows them to have their prejudice and have their minority friend/family member.

Jason D
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

damnit, this should’ve say:

Cooner I’ve noticed in the case of the “bigot with the good friend that is INSERT MINORITY.” they’ve created a mental exception.

pierre denerome
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Pour nous,la vie est gaie. pour eux c’est l’enfer.

Ben in Oakland
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

“It’s a mixture of animus and ignorance. ”

and wholly imaginary superiority. never leave that out.

Burr
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Calling someone a bigot isn’t always detrimental. I’ve made progress by pointing it out to people, albeit as delicately as possible. What doesn’t work is just shouting it at them accusingly. But for some people who really are contemplative, it does cause them to think differently when they realize how awful they come across.

Jason D
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

“It’s a mixture of animus and ignorance. ”

and wholly imaginary superiority. never leave that out.

Ben, I like to think that imaginary superiority is part of the ignorance :P

Timothy Kincaid
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

I am saddened when we rush to push all the various shades of gray into one category.

If we use the same word for the ignorant person who make presumptions based on what she’s always heard AND for the guy who knows better but lies and seeks to harm people out of hatred, we lose the ability to communicate.

I think “bigot” requires some animus and some intent or self-awareness.

In the 60′s, the guy who burnt a cross on the lawn of a black family had animus, intent, and self-awareness. But the white lady who saw herself as socially better than a black lady may simply have been suffering from prejudice and ingrained presumptions about superiority. While both were part of the problem, they were not equal in their intent or their motivation.

When we seek to achieve equality, we need to be careful not to equate prejudice or ingrained presumptions about superiority with hatred.

Many of these people can be swayed, but not if we make them out to be our enemies. They don’t hate us and they don’t even think that they dislike us or wish us harm. Once we can break down the presumptions, many of them will support us.

cooner
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn: “So then by the same token let’s say you have a person who embraced lies that black people were less than human and needed to be looked after like children, would you say he wasn’t a bigot because he was honestly mistaken and didn’t hate black people?”

If they then realize their mistake and change their mind once they actually meet some black people and recognize the information they’ve been basing their opinions on was wrong, then sure.

Look, we can get into an analytical discussion of exactly what a bigot is, but the point I was making (in response to a couple other posts by TampaZeke and Brutus) was that injudicious use of “the B word” isn’t helpful in conversing with a large segment of people who may eventually be won over to our side. Yes, there might come a point in a particular discussion when you can point out to someone, “You realize you’re being a bigot when you say that?” and earn some shock and awe points as they realize it, but starting out by shouting at someone that they’re a bigot is only going to throw them on the defensive.

I wonder how differently my coming-out visit home might have gone if I’d started by bursting through the door and calling my dad a bigot would have been? There’s a conversation-starter. ;)

cooner
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Jason D: “Cooner I’ve noticed in the case of the ‘bigot with the good friend that is INSERT MINORITY.’ they’ve created a mental exception. They still think that group XYZ is bad, awful, horrible, evil, etc etc etc, but ‘Bob’ or ‘Sally’ their friend, is an exception.”

I won’t deny a lot of people do this, including a lot of powerful activist or politician types. And to some extent my dad may have used his friend as a psychological crutch to prove he could have gay friends.

But again, to paint a few shades of grey, I don’t think it’s fair to paint everyone in the same corner. My dad never to my knowledge thought all gay people were “bad, awful, horrible, evil.” He perceived issues such as gay marriage, gays in the military, etc. as the work of a handful of militant gay activists (looking for “special rights”), and yes, if any of those issues had come up for a vote during those years, he probably would have made an anti-gay vote. He was more of the opinion that “Gays are okay if they’d just keep that stuff private, it’s the ones who parade it in your face that are the problem.”

Which was still wrong, yes, but in a different way and to a different degree, and it’s been much easier for him to come to terms with why that was wrong, much moreso than those like the NOM people who genuinely do hate gays and actively want to suppress us.

And bringing it back on topic, I think there are a lot of people like that, and it’s in our best interest to keep those shades of grey in mind and strive to open conversations with those we can win over … (as I see Timothy Kincaid has eloquently stated as I’ve been typing these replies) ;)

Jacob
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

The problem with any success in the ex gay movement which is quickly dying out is that many people are simply to radical in their approach to reparative therapy. If there weren’t a bunch of nut jobs going about reparative therapy with such irresponsible and unprofessional approaches, there would probably be more success in changing a humans sexuality. As sexuality is fluid.

Chris McCoy
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

I as[sic] saddened when we rush to push all the various shades of gray into one category.

If we use the same word for the ignorant person who make presumptions based on what she’s always heard AND for the guy who knows better but lies and seeks to harm people out of hatred, we lose the ability to communicate.

What happened to refusing to be tolerant of intolerance?

Jason D
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

“I as saddened when we rush to push all the various shades of gray into one category.

If we use the same word for the ignorant person who make presumptions based on what she’s always heard AND for the guy who knows better but lies and seeks to harm people out of hatred, we lose the ability to communicate.”

Timothy, I’m surprised the conservative who’s not afraid to speak out seems so afraid of using a simple word like “bigot”.

Despite what NOM would have you believe, it’s not a swear word. It’s an accurate description.

And more the point Timothy, when you play by NOM’s rules, THEY WIN.

Now who’s being PC?

I never said we had to call all bigots “BIGOT” to their face, but pretending there’s a difference in outcomes when nice bigots and mean bigots both vote for bigotry is splitting hairs. It’s also counterproductive.

Like I said, it’s a question of reachability.

Would it be wise to use a different strategy with nice bigots vs. mean bigots? Sure, if they’re reachable, but I don’t see the point in coming up with a new label for bigots who don’t know they’re bigots. A lack of self-awareness IS NOT A VIRTUE. A mind that refuses to seek out knowledge is also not a virtue.

Timothy Kincaid
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

I find that the use of the word “bigot” is ineffective in two ways.

First, as we have discussed, it shuts down communication. Once you’ve been labeled a bigot, you are no longer open to anything that the person slurring you has to say.

But the other way it hurts is in the thinking of the person who is slinging the label.

Once you have decided that someone’s views are based on blind hatred, bigotry, or animus, then you give yourself permission not to consider what they have to say. Oh, they are just bigots so I can just hate them and dismiss them.

I don’t have to care what they say, because I have devalued them as a person.

I think it is smarter of us not to just dismiss our opponents. I believe enough in my cause that I don’t need to just dismiss others. I’d rather listen to them, consider their views, and seek to persuade them. If I call them a bigot, neither of us can listen to the other.

Ben in Oakland
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

As I have said many times:

We don’t have to call anyone bigots– unless of course, they are irredeemably so.

We do have to talk about bigotry,

L. Junius Brutus
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Chris McCoy: “What happened to refusing to be tolerant of intolerance?”

Who said that we have to be tolerant of intolerance? People just pointed out that we should not call anyone who disagrees with equal rights bigots, as they are not necessarily bigoted. The most vocal ones often are, but oftentimes, it is not bigotry. Imagine an 80-year-old person who has never met a real-life gay person, during whose life homosexuality was considered unspeakable and a crime, whose opinions are mostly based on newspaper accounts of outrageous freaks at gay pride events, and now he hears that two MEN want to get married – something that happened in 2001 for the first time in modern consciousness. Is it ‘bigoted’ to be uncomfortable with that? Is that person bigoted? Is that person evil?

I think people go way overboard in calling people bigots. People are sometimes called bigots if they are made uncomfortable when two guys kiss – but not react or say anything and fully respect gay people. Guess what, I am made uncomfortable by straight intimacy. Does that make me an anti-straight bigot? It devalues bigotry if everything is called bigoted.

Chris McCoy
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

L. Junius Brutus said

Who said that we have to be tolerant of intolerance?

My point was that I find it ironic that the same people who on another post proclaim that tolerating the intolerance of Muslims is unacceptable, but on this thread, tolerating the intolerance of anti-gays, well that’s just something we have to do.

People just pointed out that we should not call anyone who disagrees with equal rights bigots, as they are not necessarily bigoted.

Perhaps we should stop calling racists racist, as it shuts down conversation with them with respect to their racist ideas.

I don’t care if people have a problem being called out on their bigotry. The truth hurts.

Unconscious bigotry brought about by indifference is still bigotry, and IMHO, more pernicious than flagrant displays of conscious bigotry.

Reed B
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

POINT TO NOTE: “They call us bigots,” she whines at every opportunity.

To mangle a quote from Baby Jane Hudson: “But you ARE, Maggie. You ARE a bigot!”

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