NOM swears it preaches love, yet threatens violence

As Vanessa mentioned on Tuesday, this summer, the National Organization for Marriage, the anti-marriage-equality group famous for their unintentionally hilarious “Gathering Storm” commercial (which spawned many parodies), is running something called the “One Man, One Woman” bus tour.  The month-long tour, according to NOM’s press release, “will stop in key battleground areas of the marriage debate, educating local communities on why marriage between one man and one woman should be defended and preserved in our nation.”

According to Brian Brown, the executive director of NOM, “marriage will be a key national issue once the California Prop 8 battle gets to the Supreme Court. We need Americans to rally behind marriage as the union of one man and one woman and tell the Courts and state legislatures that marriage matters.”

Apparently it matters to the National Organization for Marriage so much that NOM and their supporters are willing to shill fear and violent hatred in order to protect it. And as Vanessa posted about on Tuesday, their rally this week featured a sign calling for the lynching of gay couples.

According to Bilerico, about 40 NOMmers showed up, but about 250 LGBT community members also came to protest the event. According to the Courage Campaign, this was NOM’s second-biggest turnout since the tour began in mid-July.

I find NOM particularly disturbing because its approach to turning public opinion against marriage equality is transparent: appeal to people’s sentimental attachment to marriage. Avoid a substantive conversation about how excluding gay couples from marriage impacts them economically, politically, constitutionally. Just talk about marriage, “the bedrock of society,” but don’t have a nuanced discussion about the privileges and benefits – financial, social and otherwise – that combine to make it the powerful institution that it is. Just look at NOM’s talking points:

Supporters of SSM… seek to change the subject to just about anything: discrimination, benefits, homosexuality, gay rights, federalism, our sacred constitution. Our goal is simple: Shift the conversation rapidly back to marriage. Don’t get sidetracked. Marriage is the issue. Marriage is what we care about. Marriage really matters. It’s just common sense.

And if someone suggests having a substantive conversation about discrimination or bigotry or any of the less palatable reasons why a person might oppose marriage equality, they’ve got a response for that too – a response that makes it clear just who the real victims are here: “Do you really believe people like me who believe mothers and fathers both matter to kids are like bigots and racists? I think that’s pretty offensive, don’t you?”

NOM is offended, offended, I say! at the suggestion that they’re bigots. They’re not bigots, they insist. They’re just patriotic, constitution-loving straight Americans who think that it’s acceptable to publicly threaten to lynch gay people. Can you feel the love?

Is your city on the NOM tour route? Want to go call them on their bullshit? Check their schedule, and if local LGBT or feminist groups are planning to protest.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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