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06/16/2010

Audio: NOM's webchat #FAIL

by Jeremy Hooper

So the National Organization For Marriage's Brian Brown just held a truly hysterical Prop 8 webcast, in which folks were encouraged to ask questions. So this writer of course did. Oh, and Brian of course danced around them all:

(G-A-Y mentions come at 7:44, 10:06, 12:22)

The first one: No, no no -- DO NOT reframe my question and tell me what I meant to say, Brian Brown! I'm not talking about Christian people's right to engage in politics. I'm talking about the CIVIL system of marriage itself, which is already disconnected from religious ceremony! A civil marriage license is a requirement for any couple who wishes to have their union recognized by the government, but religion is ALWAYS optional. And faith leaders, even now, are free to deny engaged couples for any number of reasons (interfaith, no faith, moral reasons) -- something that almost all civil equality advocates support. NOBODY IS GUNNING FOR CHURCHES' RIGHT TO ABSTAIN FROM ANY KIND OF MARRIAGES! Yet 99% of the arguments against CIVIL marriage equality for same-sex couples are faith-based. And NOM, while they will never admit it, is a Catholic institution whose arguments come from that same place. So this, the civil marriage vs. religious ceremony question, is absolutely the point that I meant to raise. Because it's the point we should be discussing. The conversation we should be fleshing out for the American voting public, rather than muddying with Godly fears.

The second one: I didn't just bring up Corretta for no reason -- it was in response to Brian's mention of the civil rights movement (and other mentions we've heard him make to MLK in the past). If he wants to bring up MLK, then one would think he'd have to acknowledge the fact -- THE FACT -- that the person who surely knew his heart most, his wife, was a staunch LGBT ally! These folks love to bring up anti-LGBT equality niece Alveda King, but they NEVER want to talk about Corretta. Why so quick to dissolve the sanctity of the King marriage bond?

The third one: This was in response to Maggie and Brian's constant mention of the "7 million Californians who voted to protect marriage," yet complete blind eye to the over 6.4 million who voted to preserve equality. Yes, in an election, a majority "wins" (even if the win is un-American). But to hear Brian and Maggie tell it, the state of California is very much in favor of Prop 8. Like crazy in favor. Like it's a wonder they haven't replaced the Hollywood sign with an anti-equality slogan. But in reality, we all know that the vote was EXTREMELY close. And considering the hyper-motivation and vast church networks o their side, it's a near certainty that they turned out their vote much more than our side did. That was my point: That if you are going to constantly talk about the 7 million, then the 6.4 deserve some intellectual play!

***

**Oh, and I didn't abruptly cut the audio. This is how it played out -- the audio just suddenly cut off. After a long delay, Brian popped back in for like one more minute, but nothing all that substantive was said.

***

**Other questions I raised that went unanswered:

-NOM recently quoted the Traditional Values Coalition. Are they proud to associate with one of only 12 groups in this nation who have earned the SPLC's anti-gay hate group label?

-Brian, Maggie, Robert George, and just about everyone involved with NOM is a Catholic. Shouldn't this be made clear?

-Maggie recently gave glowing praise to Eve Tushnet, a lesbian who believes that gay people should be celibate. Someone who also tells me that she has done web work for NOM. So since she is in their praiseworthy ranks, are we to believe this to be the standard that NOM wants for all gay people: Abstinence?

-Why the lies about the Ocean Grove, NJ situation? In truth: The church pavilion in question was receiving a special tax break under NJ's Green Acres tax-exemption, which requires compliance with state non-discrimination law in order to qualify. So what they "lost" was a special break on a public accommodation that they wanted to restrict to only the heterosexual public. But Brian and Maggie continually obfuscate the truth, using this pavilion against us in marriage cases. Why can't they flesh out the facts?

-The pro-Prop 8 side bullied a pro-equality business called Abbott & Assoc., demanding that they make an equal donation to the anti-equality cause or face retribution. How come this always escapes mention whenever a NOM speaker reaches the "we're the victims of bullying" portion of the program?

-Brian opposed civil unions while serving at his CT post. Is this still the standard he holds today. Meaning: Does he oppose civil unions (or in the case of CA, strong domestic partnerships) now?

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