nomhatesign

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.

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  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    Yes, if all else fails, go for the emotional appeal. This is the same reason I really dislike it when any group, for any reason, regardless of whether it I agree with it or not, uses children as props to advance its cause.

  • http://feministing.com/members/polkadotpeony/ Jen Henry

    The reason sentimentality works with marriage discussion – as opposed to the logical arguments pro-marriage equality activists make – is that marriage, the cultural idea of marriage, is inherently sentimental. Few people today want a traditional (think: 17th, 18th, or even 19th century) marriage, but they hold onto the IDEA of a traditional marriage. For them, a traditional marriage is a marriage based in stability, respect, and love. The historian in me wants to point out that the idea of a marriage based on love is a fairly new idea, but to point that out would again be to use reason in a conversation where reason and logic are worthless. So let’s play the sentimental game. What does it mean for people of the same sex or same gender to marry? It means that marriage really is about love. It means the ceremony, the party, the very public commitment a person makes to another person is about love. Such a commitment is not about a woman promising submission to a patriarchal spouse. Such a commitment is not about promising children will result whether both partners want children are not. I think this is why conservatives are so opposed to same-sex marriage. It has nothing to do with two men or two women making a family. It is about preserving patriarchal gender relations. Let them have their patriarchy. Let’s have love. Let’s claim marriage based on love, because nothing is more beautiful (or unobjectionable) than real love.

  • http://feministing.com/members/lizisback/ Liz

    I’m glad they’re coming to DC on August 15th. I’ll definitely be there with my boyfriend and whoever else we can get to come with us to protest. I would love an opportunity to call them on their bullshit.

  • http://feministing.com/members/irenerojas/ Irene

    “tell the Courts and state legislatures that marriage matters.”

    Hey NOM, we know it matters. That’s why we want it, if we so choose.

  • http://feministing.com/members/stivee/ Erin

    What, they’re too afraid to come to Boystown? That’s disappointing. I’d be on Halstead dressed like a giant rainbow.