Monday, October 10, 2011

NOM's 'defense alliance' backfiring

The National Organization for Marriage recently began what it calls the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance (Marriage ADA), which is a campaign to supposedly spotlight incidents of "Christians" being "intimidated" or  "persecuted" for standing up for the so-called traditional view of marriage (i.e. one man + one woman).

Marriage ADA features video testimonies of supposed "victims" of said intimidation.

But Equality Matters has raised a very interesting question which echoes something which has been trolling about in my mind the day the second "victim" - Jerry Buell - came out.

Is this thing backfiring on NOM?

Equality Matters took a clear look at the five examples NOM has featured demonstrating so-called "gay intimidation" and found them to be proving the opposite - i.e. these folks are not being victimized and NOM is demanding special privileges for those stand against marriage equality, even to the point of not being accurate about their stories:

Since its inception, Marriage ADA has posted five such videos. And so far, not a single one has actually demonstrated someone having their rights or dignity denied. 

The first video posted tells the story of Frank Turek, a corporate consultant who claims to have been fired from Cisco Systems “for being somebody who has a traditional marriage viewpoint.”  

In reality, Turek is far more than your average “traditional marriage” supporter. As Right Wing Watch has documented, Turek has a history of making outrageous anti-gay comments, including asserting that gay rights advocates and Islamic extremists are “in concert together” because they both hate Western civilization. He’s also compared homosexuality to alcoholism and pedophilia, calling it a “road to destruction.” It’s Turek’s views on gay people, not gay marriage, that got him in trouble. His contract with Cisco – and later with Bank of America – was terminated after employees complained about anti-gay remarks Turek was on the record as having made.

In other words, the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance’s first horror story was neither about marriage nor defamation. 

The second story promoted by Marriage ADA was that of Jerry Buell, a Florida high school public school teacher who was temporarily suspended from his position after posting anti-gay comments to his Facebook account:
On July 25, Buell posted on his Facebook page, "I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up."
"If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don't insult a man and woman's marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???," Buell added.
Buell was suspended while school officials investigated to determine if Buell had violated the school’s ethics code or social media guidelines. Ironically, even organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, which strongly opposed Buell’s comments, still came to his defense. Buell admits as much in NOM’s video:
What I like about it is the people who were opposed to what I said and said “I totally disagree with your stand, but doggone it I’ll stand next to you because you had the right to say it.”
Within days, Buell was allowed to return to the classroom. No further disciplinary action was taken.
NOM’s final three videos tell the stories of Rose Marie Belforti, Ruth Sheldon, and Laura Fotusky – three New York clerks who have either resigned or may be asked to resign from their positions due to their unwillingness to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Although Laura claims to have received “negative comments” after filing her resignation, none of the three women reported facing “threats to their person, property, or livelihood,” as NOM claims at the end of each video. They voluntarily resigned from their jobs after recognizing that upholding the laws of the state of New York would require them to violate their personal beliefs about marriage. 

So let’s recap NOM’s alleged victims of “defamation”:
  • a man whose contract was terminated after employees complained about his anti-gay history
  • a man whose temporary suspension ended after he was supported by a pro-gay group
  • several woman who decided to resign once they realized their jobs as government employees would require them to violate their religious beliefs
None of NOM’s videos demonstrate how opponents of marriage equality are having their “rights and dignity” denied. None of NOM’s videos are even examples of “defamation.”  If you look past NOM’s ominous background music, these videos really just tell the story of how the LGBT community and opponents of same-sex marriage are learning to find an acceptable middle ground, even as gays and lesbians begin to experience greater acceptance and equality in the law.

I am making a wild guess here but I think I know who NOM's sixth "victim" will be.
If it's who I think it is, then NOM will be digging itself deeper in a hole.

And I just happen to have a heavy shovel and a sturdy back.

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'Final score: Bryan Fischer - 1, Mitt Romney - 0' and other Monday midday news briefs

Mitt Romney Mildly Scolds Bryan Fischer - Bryan Fischer attacks Mitt Romney's religion and Romney answers back with this? What a wimp!

Fischer Says Romney "Insulted" Values Voters Crowd - Meanwhile, Fischer gives Romney a swift kick in the "you know what."

To those making the Romney fracas all about Mormonism - And here to provide the post-game wrap up - Jeremy Hooper.

Values Voter Bigotry Fest Erupts In War of Words Over Romney's Faith - Poor Romney. He is like a rabbit trying to appeal to a bunch of hungry crocodiles.

Ugandan Party: Coincidence or Conspiracy? - Officials from a gay-bashing country (Kill the Gays bill)attending an American conference put on by gay-bashing American groups. Coincidence my tuckus.

One Values Voter poll, two #FAILs - The gay community makes a quiet, yet effective strike at the Values Voters summit.

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SPLC's report on anti-gay hate groups needs wider audience. Provide it.

Tony Perkins
The Southern Poverty Law Center has come out with a stunning report on the anti-gay stances of the Family Research Council and the American Family Assocation. Part of it reads as follows:

 The Family Research Council -

The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

In Its Own Words
“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

“[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion.”
— Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in “Desecrating Corpus Christi,” 1999

“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets of a new sexual order.’”
--1999 FRC pamphlet, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex with Boys.

“[T]he evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.”
— Timothy Dailey, senior research fellow, “Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse,” 2002

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

Bryan Fischer
The American Family Association -
Initially founded as the National Federation for Decency, the American Family Association (AFA) originally focused on what it considered indecent television programming and pornography. The AFA says it promotes "traditional moral values" in media. A large part of that work involves "combating the homosexual agenda" through various means, including publicizing companies that have pro-gay policies and organizing boycotts against them. The AFA has a variety of outlets to disseminate its message, including American Family Radio Network, its online One News Now and the monthly AFA Journal. In early 2011, the AFA claimed more than 2 million online supporters and 180,000 subscribers to its Journal.

In Its Own Words
"[T]he homosexual lifestyle is characterized by anonymous sexual encounters and celebration of sexual obsession and perversion unparalleled in any other social group."
– Richard Howe, "Homosexuality in America," AFA publication, 1994

"As with smoking, homosexual behavior's ‘second hand' effects threaten public health… .Thus, individuals who choose to engage in homosexual behavior threaten not only their own lives, but the lives of the general population."
– Gary Glenn, president of Michigan chapter of AFA, 2001

"Homosexuality is not only harmful to homosexuals themselves, but also to children and to society."
– Stephen Bennett, AFA writer, 2004

"If President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and homosexual activists get their wish, your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals who may very well view them with sexual interest."
– AFA press release, February 2010

"The homosexual movement is a progressive outgrowth of the sexual revolution of the past 40 years and will lead to the normalization of even more deviant behavior."
– Don Wildmon, AFA website, 1999 (still posted as of 2011).

"Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."
– Bryan Fischer, AFA director of issue analysis for government and public policy, 2010

It would be in the gay community's best interest if more folks read this report and referred it to their friends and neighbors.

In a weekend in which we saw Republican presidential candidates flock to these two groups like they pushing manna and a leader of one of these groups (Tony Perkins of FRC) presented as a legitimate election analyst,  this report needs to be pushed hard.

And we need to be the ones who push it. It's simply not enough to say that SPLC has named these organizations as hate groups. We need to provide a copy of this report to everyone we can.

A copy of the full SPLC report is here (PDF).

Hat tip to LGBTQ Nation.

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