Maggie Gallagher: “I Need a Picture… He’s Black, He’s On Our Side”
March 27th, 2012
Louis Marinelli, the National Organization for Marriage’s former tour organizer, is updating this post with more emails illustrating NOM’s implementation of their previously secret strategy documents pitting African-Americans against fellow LGBT citizens. Those emails seem to show Maggie Gallagher’s growing obsession with pictures of black people. One email, titled, “I need a close-up photo of Bishop Battle for the newsletter tomorrow) explains the need in very simple terms: “He’s black, he’s on our side, he’s COGIC (Church of God in Christ)” Another email following a rally in Washington, D.C. has Gallagher giving this direction:
I’m told the rally was two-thirds blacks. All the photos we have up are taken behind white people. Any phot (sic) that shows the crowd as it was. Please send it to me and Eve tushnet (sic) for use in this week’s newsletter. I would also like a photo of Faunteroy for the Newsletter.
And think it should go up on the blog. Maggie
Here are two photos from the D.C. rally. It looks like Maggie heard wrong. Marinelli says more revelations are coming.
NOM’s Brian Brown: “I Need Crazy Pictures of Our Opponents.”
March 27th, 2012
Louis Marinelli, the National Organization for Marriage’s former tour organizer and NOM Facebook page founder and blogger, revealed that line in an email from NOM President Brian Brown. Marinelli says more emails are on the way. That will be interesting
NAACP Responds to NOM’s Race-Baiting Tactics
March 27th, 2012
The NAACP issued a press release in response to the release of secret strategy documents from the National Organization for Marriage as part of an ongoing campaign finance investigation by the state of Maine. Those documents revealed that NOM sought to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and African-Americans (as well as between LGBT African-Americans and their own families). The NAACP responded:
After learning of the content of the documents, Dr. Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, released this statement a short time ago through HRC.
“NOM’s underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination,” said Dr. Bond. “Pitting bigotry’s victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together.”
Dr. Bond is the first among a forthcoming list of leaders, jointly compiled by HRC and the Center for American Progress, who are speaking out against NOM’s plans to fight marriage equality and create racial divisions in order to do so.
NOM Doc Dump: Money Spent to Drive A Wedge WITHIN (Not Just Between) LGBT Families
March 27th, 2012
The dump of National Organizations for Marriage’s secret strategy documents revealed once and for all NOM’s stated, written tactics of driving a wedge between African-American LGBT people from their African-American community, between Latino LGBT people and their Latino communities, between LGBT people and their political allies, and, just for good measure, between President Barack Obama and, well, just about everyone.
As dispicable as all that is, Right Wing Watch noticed another wedge that NOM tried to drive: between LGBT parents and their very own children. NOM set aside $60,000 to hire an “outreach coordinator to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera.” If they did make that hire, it wasn’t money well spent. Not a single child turned up to denounce his or her parents. But it does go to show how utterly contemptible this “family values” outfit is toward families.
NOM Tactics Revealed in Court Docs Dump
March 27th, 2012
According to secret strategy documents of the National Organization for Marriage which were unveiled last night, NOM’s strategy was based on seeking to sow divisions between LGBT people and African-Americans and Latinos, between LGBT Americans, President Barack Obama and the Democratic base, and between LGBT Americans and other ordinary Americans across the country.
NOM’s internal strategy documents were unsealed in Maine yesterday as part of an ongoing investigation by that state into NOM’s campaign finance activities. Some of those documents have been posted on the NOMExposed web site of the Human Rights campaign. Many of the tactics revealed in the documents include manipulating ethnic and racial minorities in order to pit them against LGBT Americans — as well as LGBT members of their own ethnic and racial groups. For example, on page 20 of a December 15, 2009 document describing NOM’s national strategy with regard to the Latino vote:
The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be even more so in the future because of demographic growth. Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.
We aim to identify young Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities willing to stand for marriage, regardless of national boundaries. …Here’s our insight: The number of “glamorous” people willing to buck the powerful forces to speak for marriage may be small in any one country. But by searching for these leaders across national boundaries we will assemble a community of next generation Latino leaders that Hispanics and other next generation elites in this country can aspire to be like. (As “ethnic rebels” such spokespeople will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially to young urbans in America.)
With the help of Schubert Flint Public Affairs, we will develop Spanish language radio and TV ads, as well as pamphlets, YouTube videos, and church handouts and popular songs. Our ultimate goal is the make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conforming assimilation to the bad side of “Anglo” culture. [Emphasis mine.]
That same document outlines what they call the “Not a Civil Right” Project aimed at African-Americans (Page 22)
The majority of African-Americans, like the majority of Americans, oppose gay marriage, but Democratic power busses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans. A strategic goal of this project is to amplify the voice and power of black Americans within the Democratic Party. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil rights. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. [Emphasis mine]
According to that document, one million dollars was being earmarked for that effort in 2010, the same amount that was also earmarked to the Latino project. Another undated document which describes NOM’s “$20 million strategy for victory” was much more blunt about the purpose of this initiative (page 12):
The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. [Emphasis mine.]
Another document, a NOM “Board Update 2008-2009,” quite literally seeks to “fans the flames” further (page 13):
Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally. [Emphasis mine.]
Alvin McEwen puts this dynamic in very plain language:
NOM has portrayed whatever African-American opposition to marriage equality its spotlighted as spontaneous attempts by leaders and members of the black community to keep its civil rights legacy from supposedly being “tainted” by a comparison to gay equality.
But now we see that there was nothing spontaneous about this. It was a cynically planned effort by NOM – which the organization continues to exploit – in order to drive a wedge between blacks and gays.
…One doesn’t have to spell out how this benefits NOM’s efforts. The two sides attack each other with extreme anger causing magazine articles to be written about the division, news programs to focus on the division, and venomous chats to occur on places like Facebook and Twitter.Some heterosexual African-Americans will let loose with homophobia against the gay community. And some white lgbtqs will express racist comments about the black community. Both communities will be at each other’s throats. There will be no intelligent conversations on the matter and neither community will benefit an iota.
And NOM will sit back and reap the benefits of causing this chaos.
One of NOM’s chief tactics lately has been to claim victimhood status while simultaneously attacking LGBT families, and those attacks are aimed specifically at trying to provoke some sort of backlash against their side. Whether they succeed in that or not is immaterial to them however. NOM designated another project aimed toward creating victimhood messages regardless of merit. This project was called “Behind Enemy Lines”, with the goal of “keeping gay marriage controversial in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut.” (page 24):
Document the consequences of gay marriage and develop an effective culture of resistance. … Fund a low-cost media campaign (primarily billboards) to support the idea the children need mothers and fathers and to highlight threats and promise support to any citizens attacked for their pro-marriage views; commission polling and other studies to document consequences of gay marriage; and gather a rapid-response team of videographers and reporters to collect and record stories of those who have been harassed, threatened, or intimidated as a result of their support for traditional views on marriage and sexuality across the country and also in Europe and abroad. [Emphasis mine]
The document earmarked $300,000 for the Behind Enemy Lines project in 2010, including $100,000 for a “study of what schools are teaching in gay marriage/civil union regimes.” The document also proposed related project called “the Face of the Victims Rapid Response Video Team and Archive” (page 25):
Who is hurt by gay marriage? The rapid response video project would aim to put an emotionally compelling face on the answer to this question. … When a young Hispanic mother discovers in New Jersey that her first grader is being taught about gay marriage, how does the school counselor respond to her concerns? We need to get her on camera, telling the story of what gay marriage really means. NOM’s rapid response team takes the “document the victims” project national, giving us the capacity to capture the oppression of people’s rights, the disregard of their feelings and interests, on video, as it happens, in real time. [Emphasis mine.]
Another document, dated August 11, 2009, also had a plan for painting president Barack Obama as a “radical socialist” as part of their anti-equality strategy. This plan is significant, given that NOM has always touted itself as an organization that is only interested in marriage and nothing else. But the August 11, 2009 document shows that NOM sees itself as an integral player in the much larger culture war against LGBT Americans, as well as pushing the radical-right’s broader messages against President Barack Obama with an eye toward their desire to defeat him in 2012 (page: 13):
Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist hase of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. This is the mission of the American Principles Project. …
The Preserve Innocence project will monitor all administration initiatives from the White House, Department of Justice, Education Department, and the Health and Human Services Department that affect the welfare of children. We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children. We will provide a weekly update to Congress, to conservative leaders and to the national media on personnel or policy threats to childhood innocence. We will work with appropriate legislation to reverse current Department of Education policies that use the Safe Schools program to foist de facto sex education on children as young as kindergarten age. [Emphasis mine.]
Another undated document which describes NOM’s “$20 million strategy for victory” outlined the same offensive against the president, calling the effort “Sideswiping Obama” (page 11). That document also calls for “nationalizing” the issue in the context of the U.S. presidential elections (page 9):
Marriage needs to be a national (and ultimately international) effort, not just a local or regional issue. If marriage is going to be preserved between a man and a woman in the United State two things must happen: the pro-gay agenda of President Obama must be defeated in 2012, and replaced by one of that expressly articulates a pro-marriage culture. [Emphasis mine.]
HRC’s outgoing president Joe Solmonese describes this document dump as a “game changer”:
“Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African-Americans or Hispanics.”
NOM Boycotts Starbucks
March 21st, 2012
Maggie Gallagher and Johnathan Baker, National Organization for Marriage’s director for what they call “The Corporate Fairness Project,” attended the annual Starbucks shareholder meeting today. Baker, as a Starbucks shareholder, addressed the meeting and took the board to task for the “controversial stand Starbucks has taken here in Washington in support of same-sex marriage.” Citing a Starbucks message endorsing Washington’s Referendum 74, a proposal that would allow marriage equality to take effect in the state, as reflecting Starbucks’ core values as a company, Baker asked if that decision was made by the board of directors and questioned whether the decision would hinder the company’s efforts to expand internationally. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz responded:
Any decision of this type or magnitude has be made with great thoughtfulness and I would assure you that a senior team of Starbucks discussed this. And it was, to be candid with you, not something that was a difficult decision for us and we did share this with some members of the board as well. [Applause and cheers]
I don’t want to answer the question in any way that would be disrespectful to you or other people who might see it differently. I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage and the tradition of the company that perhaps may be inconsistent with one group’s view of the world or a decision we may make. I said earlier in my prepared remarks that we’re not perfect, and from time to time we may make a mistake or people may view it as a mistake. But we made that decision, in our view, through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity.”
And with that, NOM announced their boycott:
“Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society.”
Letting People Do Things They Used To Be Prohibited From Doing Is Just Like Slavery
March 21st, 2012
Or something like that, according to NOM’s Brian Brown who likened his efforts to roll back marriage equality to those of abolitionists “in the late 1800s.”
NOM’s mininalist definition of victory
March 21st, 2012
CNN’s Thomas Roberts (who is gay) interviewed Brian Brown, the National Organization for Marriage’s President, and Craig Stowell, the Republican co-chair of Stand Up for New Hampshire Families (our side), about the expected vote today in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Brown gave his usual posturing and nonsense.
(Segue alert: don’t you get tired of talking heads saying the same nonsense over and over regardless of the situation? I laughed out loud this week when Brooke on Dancing With the Has-Beens asked Martina Navratalova about her scores. Instead of the standard “we are really pleased, we went out and gave it our best and had a lot of fun, so we hope America votes for us” that every other contestant said, Navratalova said, “oh, it was the same score we got in rehearsals so I guess it is what it is.” Back to the topic.)
He laughably ranted about “special interest groups from out of state” (leaving the New Hampshirite the opportunity to point out that Brian isn’t a local boy) and claimed that 119 legislators were “booted out because they took it upon themselves to redefine marriage” (a notion scoffed at by the Republican leaders who ignored the issue for a year and a half because “we were elected to address the economy”).
But here’s the sentence you need to pay attention to.
“We’re looking forward to the vote today. I expect we’re going to have a majority here. I think it’s going to be historic to have a state vote and have a majority vote say, “this was wrong, we made a tragic mistake two years ago and we’re going to right that wrong” and I expect that we’re going to see a victory today.”
NOM’s definition of success is “a majority”. And, mind you, this for a bill that would simply revert to full civil union protections.
In terms of actual impact, if NOM eeks out “a majority”, we win. Governor Lynch will veto the bill (assuming it survives the Senate) and NOM will scramble to try and find enough votes to overturn the veto.
Keep in mind that Republicans have a veto-proof majority. If this is a party-line vote, then marriage equality would be reversed in that state. But Brown has conceded that NOM isn’t expecting a veto-proof majority. They aren’t expecting to win, they are just laying the framework to argue that a vote in which they lose all Democrats and a large number of Republicans and which will never become law is “historic”.
The vote has not yet happened. And in politics anything can happen. But NOM’s admission suggests that the vote today will be good news.
I can feel pity for Brian Brown. Surely it cuts at one’s sense of being to constantly spin and lie and pretend. When one goes into quiet contemplation, surely “winning” seems little consolation for giving up your integrity, and when you aren’t winning it must seem like an unfair trade. If you sell your soul, shouldn’t you at least get something for it?
As Thomas asked him,
Brian… what the National Organization of Marriage does to try and stand against the tide of equality, isn’t it exhausting?
NOM must disclose donors
February 27th, 2012
The National Organization for Marriage has run out of appeals and must now disclose the identities of the handful of uber-rich donors who finance their role in the nation’s anti-marriage campaigns. (SCOTUSblog)
…the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a constitutional challenge to a Maine law that requires those seeking to raise and spend money in state election campaigns to organize as a political action committee for that activity, and make significant disclosures about their financial operations. That was challenged in a petition, National Organization for Marriage v. McKee (11-599), after the state law was upheld by the First Circuit Court.
This is probably a bigger blow to NOM than most realize. I believe that a significant purpose, if not their primary purpose, is and has been to shield the identities of these people and/or institutions from disclosure. They have allowed for significant portions of state campaigns to be financed without the public knowing who is behind the initiatives and without being held to any form of social consequence.
The timing is very fortuitous. While NOM may drag its feet, I think it likely that the identities will be revealed well before the elections in Washington and Maine.
As society is increasingly seeing the issue of marriage through the lens of fairness and justice, spending huge sums to bar gay people from full inclusion under civil law is increasingly seen as either based in malice or an allocation of funds that could have gone to a far better cause.
It’s not a happy day in NOMville. But, true to form, they are pretending that the world is going just according to their script and there is nary a mention of this catastrophic loss on their blog.
February 8th, 2012
Maggie Gallagher doesn’t hate you. She doesn’t even hate your marriage. Because hate is an emotion, a passionate feeling, and emotion simply doesn’t enter into Maggie’s approach to her work. Hers is a world of thought, of commitment to an ideal, the concept of marriage, and her analytical approach to affirming its unquestionable attributes and values.
Or so finds Mark Oppenheimer in a new Slate article that seeks to understand the motivations and drives of Maggie Gallagher the author and activist and how that person differs from Maggie Gallagher the mother, wife, and friend. This is a valuable look into Maggie’s world, one that each of us should know as we continue our fight for equality.
NOM Fleeces Its Followers with Falsehoods (again)
February 7th, 2012
Today NOM once again asked its supporters for money by lying to them.
You know, they do this so often I should just create a template for this kind of response.
Anyway, they’re panicking about Prop 8 being declared unconstitutional. As paid professionals they ought to realize the 9th Circuit ruling could only apply to states that:
- Withdraw same-sex marriage rights after they’ve been grants, and
- Have a domestic partnership law that grants same-sex couples all the state-level benefits and responsibilities of marriage.
That’s a tiny number of states. But the paid professionals at NOM want to sound a more urgent note in their fundraising appeal, which contains three DONATE NOW buttons:
A Supreme Court victory would preserve the marriage laws of 44 states, denying same-sex marriage radicals in their campaign to force gay marriage on the entire nation in one fell swoop.
But if we lose at the Supreme Court, marriage will be jeopardized not just in California, but in all 50 states.
No. As much as it pains me to say it, a victory (for us, not NOM) at the Supreme Court couldn’t possibly “force gay marriage on the entire nation in one fell swoop.” It would have no impact on most states.
There’s an old quote: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Maybe NOM president Brian Brown just isn’t capable of understanding the 9th Circuit decision.
Or maybe he understands it very well — exactly as well as he understands the concept of cash flow.
NOM’s sad little dishonest “survey”
February 2nd, 2012
What do you do when all the polls are against you? What do you do when accurately reporting social attitudes demonstrates that you are outside the mainstream and that people aren’t buying your arguments anymore. What do you do to justify your continued ‘defense of the family’ when it becomes clear that ‘the family’ doesn’t want your defense?
Well, if you are the National Organization for Marriage, you make sh!t up. And what better way than to conduct your own “survey” of the attitudes of Washington voters and pass it off as meaningful. Here’s what they say about their little survey.
When reminded that Washington State has a civil union law for gay couples, 57% of voters say it is not necessary to redefine marriage. 72% of voters think state lawmakers should work on other issues rather than same-sex marriage. A nearly identical number -71% of voters—believe the people should decide the marriage issue; only 9% think legislators should decide the matter.
“If the Washington Legislature wants to change the definition of marriage, which 57% of voters oppose, NOM calls on them to give this decision to voters. Thirty-one other states have been able to vote on the definition of marriage, and Washington voters deserve the same opportunity,” Brown said. “Voters have made it clear in this survey that they alone should decide the marriage issue—not legislators. Let the people vote.”
But reading the actual survey is just funny. They tried everything they could to get desired results from this “survey” and still Washingtonians didn’t give them what they wanted. And while the survey is meaningless from a social survey standpoint, it does illustrate how dishonest NOM actually is willing to be.
First, NOM stacked the deck. Choosing an age sample that understated those under 45 and overstate those over 65 by about 3-4%. They also found a sample that is 36% conservative and 34% liberal on social issues. In Washington. And in a state that voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama (with an 18 point spread), their sample is 37% leaning Democrat and 35% leaning Republican.
And then NOM played the ‘push poll’ game, setting up language to try and jostle participants into giving them an answer that they can use for political gain. It’s a very common tactic of politicians, but it is despicable and immoral when used by a group that pretends to be protecting the voters.
The first question is about whether the participant is a voter. No problem. But then it is followed by three ‘set-up’ questions designed to place the participant as an opponent to the legislature: 2) is Washington going in the right direction or wrong track, and 3) how would you rate the job performance of Gov. Gregoire and 4) the legislature. Rating categories were excellent, good, only fair, poor, other.
“Only fair” is an interesting option. Usually “fair” stands alone, as an indication of acceptable but not particularly laudable. However, by adding “only”, NOM poisons this option and takes it from “okay” and implies a failure. This intentional shading was necessary in order to push the participant into being suspicious of the legislature and governor.
And then come the marriage questions. And the first one is just laughable obvious.
5. As you probably know, since 2010 Washington has had a civil union law which gives gay couples all the legal rights of married couples. Now some people want to pass a new law, which changes the definiton of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman, but between any two people. Do you feel it is necessary or not necessary to pass now a new law which changes the definition of marriage in this way?
57% Not Necessary
7% Don’t Know / No Response
Any two people. Hmmm. Like, say, siblings or parent and child or fundamentalist Mormon and his unwilling 14 year old bride, or you and the girl down the street that put out a restraining order on you. Any two people… yeah, that’s just a lie. Not a misstatement, not a convenient term for a complex issue. Nope. Just a lie.
And is it “necessary now”? Well, considering the economy and other issues of concern, having 36% say that it’s necessary now is a HUGE failure for NOM.
6. Who do you think should decide what the definition of marriage is in Washington state: should it be defined by the courts, or should it be defined by the state legislature, or should it be defined by the voters of the state?
8% Defined by the courts
9% Defined by the Legislature
71% Defined by the voters
12% Don’t know / no response
Okay. That’s probably somewhat reflective of their views.
7. If you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her that passing a new which charges the definition of marriage is something you want the state legislature to work on at this time, or would you tell him or her that the state legislature should work on solving other problems?
23% Work on marriage law
72% Work on solving other problems
4% Don’t know/no response
Again, colossal fail for NOM. A quarter of Washington residents think that marriage equality is more important than anything else.
But here is the clincher. Here is the question to which everything was geared. Here is the answer that NOM has been driving for:
8. And if you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her to vote for this new law which changes the definition of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman but between any two people, or to vote against this change?
42% Vote for new marriage law
49% Vote against marriage change
10% Don’t know / No Response
Having done everything they could to stack the survey population and the skew the poll to show that “the people” don’t want equality, still they couldn’t get more than half to say to vote against the bill. Having gotten participants to agree that it wasn’t necessary or more important than other matters and that it should be up to “the voters”, still 42% said to vote for the “any two people” bill.
Oh, NOM, you are a sad little group, aren’t you? Unethical, immoral, dishonest, and still losing your culture war over the hearts and minds of decent people.
NOM reporting requirement upheld
February 1st, 2012
The first marriage news of the day is a good start.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has upheld the decision that the National Organization for [Catholic] Marriage must follow campaign reporting requirements. This is no surprise but it is welcome.
Of course they will not do so. And so it’s off to the Supreme Court.
NOM Manufactures Some Outrage
January 31st, 2012
NOM’s blog has a new post up, with its most outrageously outraged headline ever, about NJ Gov. Christie nominating an openly gay man to the state Supreme Court:
Tell Christie to Withdraw Nomination of Pro-SSM Judge For Extremist Views Equating Christianity and Slavery
The basis for their outrage? A letter written by nominee Bruce Harris in 2009 to State Senator Joe Pennacchio about marriage equality:
When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that’s the way it’s always been, I think of the many “traditions” that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these “traditions.”
I hope that you consider my request that you re-evaluate your position and, if after viewing the videos, reading Governor Whitman’s letter and thinking again about this issue of civil rights you still oppose same-sex marriage on grounds other than religion I would appreciate it if you you’d explain your position to me. And, if the basis of your opposition is religious, then I suggest that you do what the US Constitution mandates—and that is to maintain a separation between the state and religion.
Maggie Gallagher surprised me by calling this letter “intemperate” in the National Review. Really? The only problem mistake I saw was the comma after “slavery” (this is why no one invites me to parties). It wasn’t until NOMblog picked up the story that I saw her objection.
But is it valid? Does Harris equate Christianity and slavery? Of course not.
The only link between slavery and Christianity in Harris’s letter is a factual parenthetical that is factual which factually points out that the Bible in fact factually provides for slavery. Which is a fact. Harris is just pointing out something that theologians have been grappling with for centuries, including many who created Christian arguments against slavery. It’s no crime merely to point out that these verses exist (or to warn against a glibly literal application of the Book to public policy). In fact, it’s anti-Biblical to pretend the verses aren’t there.
Harris’s letter does three simple things:
- It cautions against using tradition as an argument against marriage equality.
- It cautions, on Constitutional grounds, against using religion as an argument against marriage equality.
- It politely requests information on what other grounds the good Senator might be opposing marriage equality.
Bruce Harris’s letter is clear, temperate, factual attempt to point out some truths and open an honest dialog. Maybe that’s why Maggie and NOM hate it so.
NOM: New Hampshire To Vote On Marriage Equality Repeal Wednesday
January 30th, 2012
NOM has the details on their blog:
I’ve got exciting news! We’ve been told that HB437—a bill to repeal same-sex marriage—will be voted on Next Wednesday, February 1st! Now is the time to call your legislators—especially House members—right away and ask them to VOTE YES ON HB 437! [Emphasis -- and exclamation points! -- in the original]
If you’re a New Hampshire resident of voter, NOM helpfully provides easy links so you can call your legislator:
Maggie’s Strategy: Denying Reality
January 27th, 2012
I got a fundraising email from Maggie Gallagher the other day. It’s unbelievably long (as in, I can’t believe she expects people to read this whole thing). One sentence jumped out at me before I gave up on the piece.
Are two men pledged in a sexual union really a marriage?
Personally I’d answer, No.
Actually, I’d blink twice, tilt my head, squint quizzically, and then answer, No. Mostly because I don’t know many men who have pledged to each other in a merely sexual relationship.
On the other hand, suppose Maggie had asked:
Are two men in romantic relationship — who have pledged to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death does them part — in a marriage?
I’d answer, Of course.
But of course, Maggie didn’t write that. She knows it would devastate her argument. She knows the only way she can win is to deny that such a commitment is even possible between two men. That’s why NOM’s website contains this false and dehumanizing assertion:
Love is a great thing. But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of husband and wife for each other and their children.
‘Cause you see, two men can’t feel that kind of love. Not for each other. Not for their kids.
Maggie’s key strategy here is denial of reality. We see the same thing in different words from NOM’s resident intellectual (God help them) Jennifer Roback Morse, who claims marriage equality will reduce the institution to nothing more than a “registry of friendships.”
Again: denial of reality. And it truly is offensive. Compare it to statements like these:
- But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of two white people for each other and their children.
- But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of two non-Jews for each other and their children.
- But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of Gringich and his woman-of-the-moment for each other and their children.
Well, perhaps that last item doesn’t belong. But those first two statements are no less offensive than what NOM wrote about gay and lesbian relationships.
Okay, that last bit was kind of a tangent. My real point here is that our opponents resort to this rhetorical strategy all the time. We need to point out that it’s not just false, but self-defeating. Not just wrong, but devastating to their own argument. We need to Gingrich ourselves up (rhetorically, not maritally), stop playing defense, and turn their words against them. We need to say:
No. It’s not just a sexual union. It’s not just a friendship. And if you can’t make your case by calling things what they are, then you don’t have a case at all.
Maggie Gallagher endorses Rick Santorum
January 16th, 2012
National Organization for [Catholic] Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher has endorse Pope Rick, as was anticipated. In doing so, she had far less to say about his policies or qualifications than she did about the meanies who are mocking the candidate:
They will go after him not just to defeat Rick Santorum, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud.
Oh, Maggie, no one is trying to literally make his name mean mud! Even a box of rocks knows that.
The box of rocks is very familiar with mud and considers mud to be a good friend. But it tries to keep a garden hose handy if there is any chance of coming in contact with santorum.
Teleprompter reader selected to be NOM’s “Face of Minnesota for Marriage”
January 9th, 2012
Unable to find anyone qualified to speak authoritatively on the subject of marriage, the National Organization for Marriage and the other anti-gay activists at Minnesota for Marriage have decided that the face of their anti-gay movement would be Kalley Yanta, a former anchor for a Minneapolis-based television station. Which means that the level of intellectual discourse will be as follows:
“If marriage between homosexuals is legalized, what would some of the consequences be?” she asked rhetorically. “Parents who want to opt their kids out of the public school on the day that they’re teaching about homosexual relationships how it should be okay and accepted, and the parents are charged with discrimination and are hauled away sometimes in handcuffs. … We just can’t allow this to happen.
That probably shouldn’t surprise us much. Minnesota for Marriage is releasing a number of Marriage Minute videos to get their views across. The 18 second long Marriage Minute introductory segment displays pictures labeled “Our Families”, “Our Futures”, “Our Marriages”, and “Our Children”. But the Washington Independent notes that they seem a bit confused on what “our” means.
Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of more than 100 groups, analyzed the images in the first video released and determined that not a single person in the video was actually from Minnesota.
“While this video is full of stock images, it is strangely lacking in real Minnesotans,” the group said on its Facebook page. “Perhaps they couldn’t find any real Minnesotans willing to support their divisive agenda?”
One image appears to have been taken by a French photographer of a French family, and another is being used on the website of an India-based health-care center.
Oh my, it’s going to be a busy season for that box of rocks.
NOM runs anti-Ron Paul ad
December 28th, 2011
While our community may be noting with discomfort the peculiar affiliations or view of a number of Ron Paul’s prominent supporters, that doesn’t mean that he is viewed favorably by those who dedicate themselves day in and day out to obsessing about Teh Ghey. It seems that Ron Paul is “a radical who would destroy traditional marriage in America.”
Whodathunkit? So pro-equality is Ron Paul that NOM has created an entire website for the purpose of “spotlighting Ron Paul’s unwillingness to defend marriage.”
But it seems that Ron Paul is not the only nefarious secret supporter of equality, Michele Bachmann has learned that Mitt Romney is pro-equality as well:
“Mitt Romney has defended gay marriage and even signed marriage licenses for same-sex couples and Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the institution of marriage,” Bachmann said. “I have a record of defending life, marriage and the family and I’ll protect them as president of the United States.”
But I just don’t think that Hatin’ on Teh Ghey is getting as much traction as it has in the past. There’s something about having real issues like a stagnant economy and high unemployment to make such issues seem as silly as they really are.
NOM’s Christmas Gift: Deepening Desperation
December 26th, 2011
NOM reports that 61% of New Hampshire voters want to repeal the state’s recognition of same-sex marriage. Disappointing, but we have to remember that even this represents progress when compared to public sentiment a decade ago, so –
Wait, hold on, let me check…
So sorry. My mistake. NOM is reporting that 60% of New Hampshire Republicans want to repeal same-sex marriage.
I’m thrilled with that number. And NOM’s happy about it, too? That’s quite revealing. Apparently they’ve set themselves a new, lower threshold for what constitutes good news. Perhaps something like:
Yay! Our base is merely eroding quickly rather than extremely quickly.
Hoorah! 61% of the most conservative 28% of New Hampshire voters haven’t abandoned us yet!
Yippee! Because, well…yippee!
Actually, they think of it like this, spinning the result in a fashion that blows away any attempt to parody it.
“With more than 3 out of 5 New Hampshire Primary voters favoring the restoration of marriage, the verdict is in: Republicans are united in the fight against the national agenda of wealthy, gay marriage lobbyists,” said Jason Rose of the July Fourth Forum PAC.
Emphasis added. Anyway, Merry Christmas. From NOM.