|Carlos Maza went undercover at a NOM conference.|
Carlos Maza of site Equality Matters (i.e. Media Matters) did something incredible.
He went undercover at a National Organization for Marriage conference which, was according to him, was "meant to prepare college students to defend "natural marriage" on their campuses by introducing them to a number of prominent anti-gay speakers and activists."
Maza said he wanted to see whether or not NOM's plans for halting marriage equality was not built on an idea of animosity towards the gay community. He also wanted to see what NOM officials were saying about the gay community when the media was not present.
Since its founding in 2007, NOM has loudly proclaimed that its "battle is not with an orientation"; that, despite opposing gay marriage, the organization isn't motivated by animosity towards gay and lesbian people. This distinction - "we're not anti-gay, just anti-gay marriage" - has allowed NOM to differentiate itself from organizations that have been labeled "hate groups" for peddling known falsehoods about LGBT people. But, I wanted to see it for myself. Attending ITAF would give me an opportunity to find out what NOM was really saying about LGBT people when it wasn't mincing words for mainstream media outlets.
To say that what Maza found wasn't pretty is a severe understatement. According to Maza, the organization is heavily pushing the idea that gay relationships are unstable:
The first seminar of the morning was given by Bill Duncan, director of the anti-equality Marriage Law Foundation. His talk - "Marriage and the Law" - attempted to establish a legal case for barring same-sex couples from marrying. The speech was basically a rehashing of NOM's list of pre-approved marriage talking points; marriage is about procreation, marriage equality would redefine the institution of marriage for everyone, mothers and fathers aren't optional, etc. It was also a perfect example of the kind of 'protect marriage' rhetoric NOM prefers to use when it's in the public eye. Duncan's comments were anti- equality, sure, but none of what he said was particularly anti-gay.
Next up was Dr. Jenet Erickson, an assistant professor at BYU's School of Family Life. Her seminar, titled "Marriage: The Indispensable Social Institution," focused on the relationship between marriage and parenting by attempting to make the case that married, heterosexual couples offer the best environment for raising children. She called same-sex relationships "inherently unstable," suggesting that gay partners eventually get bored of each other as a result of having the same gender.
At the end of her speech, Erickson was asked how she would counter stories of well-adjusted children raised by same-sex parents. She responded by asserting that the majority of same-sex couples are "dysfunctional" and "erratic," citing a widely discredited gay parenting study conducted by UT Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus
That same-sex households are inherently dangerous for children:
At noon, I sat in on a talk titled "The Truth About Same Sex Parenting Studies," led by economist Douglas Allen. I had read Allen's work through the Ruth Institute blog before - including a piece in which he wrote that same-sex relationships were more unstable, unhealthy, and promiscuous than heterosexual relationships.
Allen began his talk by attempting to debunk the enormous body of research indicating that same-sex parents can effectively raise children. He listed a number of familiar but inaccurate criticisms of modern same-sex parenting studies: sample sizes are too small, sample sizes aren't random, the studies' authors are biased, and so on.
Allen went on to claim that lesbian relationships are more likely to experience instability and dissolution because women's menstrual cycles become synchronized when they live together for a long period of time:
ALLEN: This is a puzzling one, but very interesting. The lesbian households, they tend to be much more likely to marry in the rates, not just in numbers, in numbers and rates, but they're much less stable than the gay households. And lots of theories about why that is. You know, getting on the same menstrual cycle, getting really attached to your own biological child and not being willing to share the biological child with your female spouse.
That gay households invited child abuse:
Allen cited the (Mark Regnerus) paper's claim that children raised by gay parents are more likely to be sexually abused in the home:
ALLEN: [Regnerus] came up with some shocking results. What's good about his study: so he wanted to use a large sample, and he tried but he still ended up with fairly small numbers given his definition. He wanted to use a wide range of hard measures, that's very commendable. He has about forty different measures. And, I think what's most commendable, he posted or has agreed to post, all of his data, all of his procedures, all of his work. That's a huge leap forward in this literature. What's not so good about it, well this is what he's gotten beat up for. So he has a very wide definition of what it means to grow up in a same-sex household. "I grew up in an opposite-sex household, but my dad had an affair with another man when I was twelve," that counts as growing up in a same-sex household. A lot of people have said "no, that counts as himgrowing up in a dysfunctional household." And, you know, they're probably right about that. So that's the Achilles heel of this study, but he has been literally vilified in the blogosphere and all over the place. And of course, he admits this, he's also unable to disentangle all of his effects. But he admits that. He says "look, I'm finding all these really seriously bad correlations." You know, if you grew up in a same-sex household, by his definition, you are multiple times more likely to face sexual abuse, for example. [emphasis added]
And that accepting gays would cause an increase in pedophilia because homosexuality is a "dangerous lifestyle" in general:
Once the breakout sessions were over, I visited a table at which Ruth Institute employees were selling a variety of education materials - books , CDs, DVDs - about sex and marriage. One book I recognized immediately: Robert Gagnon's "The Bible And Homosexual Practice." (Editor's note - Gagnon was a speaker at the conference)
Gagnon's book is a treasure trove of some of the most extreme anti-gay commentary imaginable: gay people have shorter life expectancies, homosexuality can be cured through treatment, homosexuality is an "inexcusable rebellion against God," to name a few.
In the book, Gagnon boldly proclaims that "there can be little doubt" that increased acceptance of homosexuality will result in an increase in pedophilia:
A second negative effect of societal endorsement of homosexuality has to do with the problem of pedophilia and its role in "recruiting" homosexuals into the fold. There can be little doubt that affirmation of a same-sex lifestyle will increase the incidence of pedophilic activity, regardless of society's attempt to distinguish the two. The greater the latitude given to sexual expression, the more likelihood there will be of people crossing the line into illicit conduct. Indeed, a substantial body of literature emanating from the homosexual community entertains the morality of adult-adolescent sex. [Page 479, emphasis added]
Homosexuality's alleged health risks, according to Gagnon, are a form of "payback" against gay people for engaging in behavior that they know makes them "worthy of death."
Participation in same-sex intercourse is partly its own payback for turning away from the one true God, since Paul regards such behavior as itself unclean, a dishonoring of one's own body, and a self-shaming act of obscene indecency. At the same time, it is evidence of God's future judgment, since the participants have no excuse for not knowing that those who do such things are worthy of death. [Page 337, emphasis added]
Believe it or not, this only scratches the surface when it comes to what NOM is secretly peddling against the gay community. We have all known that NOM founder Maggie Gallagher's claim that NOM hasn't been demonizing the gay community was bogus.
Now, thanks to Maza, we have definitive proof as to how utterly false her claims have been.