Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Conservative Writer Advises NOM to Change

Over at The Washington Post, conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin suggests that it's time for the National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) to adapt to the reality of same-sex marriage and to begin actually promoting marriage.

She suggests some action items for the group:
"Campaign for marriage, not against gay marriage. Root out marriage penalties in the tax code. Enlist religious and secular groups to tout marriage and inform people about its physical, psychological and economic benefits. Promote private marriage counseling. If MADD can change attitudes on drunk driving, the environmental movement can make recycling delinquents into social pariahs and a conservative talk show host and Democratic senator can set out to raise awareness of adoption, NOM can certainly lead a cultural movement to promote marriage."
Well, we'll see, I guess.

Though, I always find it notable that conservatives are so willing, so able, to give individuals and organizations who oppose same-sex marriage the benefit of the doubt.

When I was a guest writer at the now-defunct Family Scholars Blog, writing regularly about the antics of NOM and other professional opponents of same-sex marriage in this conservative-dominated forum, I was often met with incredulity on the part of some of the conservatives there who, unlike many LGBT folks, actually do seem to operate on the assumption that NOM doesn't harm, whether intentionally or not, LGBT people. As though, sure, it makes 100% good, rational sense, and not even an iota of bigotry, to say you're all about saving marriage while focusing primarily on preventing same-sex couples from marriage.

Good grief, some would opine, what's so wrong about NOM seeking to drive a wedge between gays and blacks, anyway? Or, it's just a small but vocal group that actually hates gay people. Or, my personal fave, "both sides do it too!" whenever any evidence of anti-gay incivility was brought up.

I bring up these issues mostly as a reminder that many LGBT people and allies have a quite different perception of NOM and its purported goodwill and intentions with respect to saving marriage than do, apparently, many conservatives. The organization itself was formed in 2007 specifically to put Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, on the ballot in California. And, recently, NOM has increased its anti-trans advocacy, suggesting that it's moving toward a more sinister adaptation to the reality of ever-increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage: opposing transgender rights and equality.

For the organization to begin activities like promoting private marriage counseling and rooting out marriage tax penalties would seem to be quite a drift from its original, monomanically-gay-related purpose and history.

Frankly, I don't want NOM to lead a cultural movement. I would be very wary of folks at that organization being widely asked or expected to do so. The organization promotes hetero supremacy and asinine, bumper sticker thinking about gender essentialism. I question how many Americans even could look past its problematic anti-LGBT history and truly believe that the organization possesses the moral capital to "lead" a cultural movement around marriage at all.

Personally, I will not respect the organization or its leadership until they look within, ponder their losses, and publicly apologize to the LGBT community and acknowledge any harm caused through its advocacy and campaigns. I'm confident I'm not alone there.

No comments: