Monday, August 2, 2010

Love: NOM Style

Last week, we looked at a National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) supporter's violent sign advocating the death of same-sex couples. In that post, I said that NOM had yet to repdudiate the sign.

However, buried in the middle of a letter touting "the incredible displays of intolerance from supporters of gay marriage" and asking its $upporters for money, NOM claims to have actually repudiated the violent sign. In relevant part:

"The group 'Freedom to Marry' issued their own statement yesterday, but they apparently forgot to coordinate their message of the day with HRC. Instead of accusing us of 'made up stories of harassment' this group showed a repulsive picture of someone whose sign featured a noose, implying that homosexuals should be put to death. They went on to 'demand' that NOM repudiate this 'incitement to violence.' We’d treat this call seriously if it weren’t such a contrived stunt.

First of all, NOM has already repudiated this display of intolerance — and did so on the spot (not through a press release). We demanded this individual to take down his sign, because it was inconsistent with NOM’s aims, methods, and message: We come together in love to support marriage as one man and one woman."

I don't think repudiating such a violent sign is too remarkable, it's what anyone should do out of basic human decency, but I have to nonetheless comend a political opponent who does so. If NOM did in fact repudiate this sign "on the spot," good for them. If by "NOM has already repudiated" the sign they are referring to the NOM staffer/volunteer/supporter(?) who was shown on film telling the sign-holder a half-assed "We don't want anything inflammatory here, okay, we're here in love" statement before walking away, I'm less than impressed. Saying that you don't want an inflammatory sign at a rally is much different than specifically and unequivocally repudiating the message of that sign.

Furthermore, I question why NOM has not issued a press release, for all to see, repudiating this sign. That would certainly be the best evidence of both their repudiation and a belief that LGBT people have the same human dignity that heterosexuals do. Because, let's face it, many of their bible-based supporters do think murder is an acceptable solution to homosexuality.

Let's now take a closer look at the narrative of NOM's victim letter (the full text of which can be found in the Box Turtle Bulletin link, above). Just as I called it when this sad tour began, NOM is documenting every instance of real and imagined anger and using it to frame themselves as grand victims, persecuted at the hands of radical, intolerant opponents. After a hyperbolic, weasly-worded, adjective-laden description of various Very Bad Actions of equality supporters, Brian Brown claims:

"...[T]he people of America are seeing for the first time with their own eyes how radical our opponents truly are. These people who scream at our supporters, mock priests, taunt children and boo the Lord’s Prayer are the very same people who, with a straight face, promise that they would never force their values on us if America would only legalize gay marriage....

Groups like HRC and their supporters will use the full force of the law — lawsuits, legislation, regulations and even public intimidation and harassment — to force their vision and values on the American people. This is becoming more and more clear to America with every passing tour stop."

First, did you catch that? Brian Brown frames LGBT rights advocates as "radical" as though doing so is some groundbreaking achievement, as though that already isn't the dominant narrative that has been used for decades to deny LGBT rights.

Second, notice how nowhere within this relatively long letter has NOM made a substantive argument about same-sex marriage. And that's probably wise, given how Ted Olson and David Boies embarrassed the "marriage defense" substantive arguments in open court. Rather, wisely, the narrative is all, LGBT people don't deserve equal rights because "groups like HRC and their supporters" supposedly harass and intimidate "the American people."

And that's why NOM's message of coming together in a spirit of "love" is bunk. It's impossible to take a message of "love" at face value when NOM perpetuates a simultaneous message seemingly dedicated to villanizing equality advocates at every turn. We scream. We are radical. We yell! At priests! FOR NO REASON AT ALL!

It's a message of "love" that is turning out to be a lot like every other intolerant, bullcrap "Christian" message of love that really means "We'd love it if you live how we think you should live and if you don't you are so intolerant of us."

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