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10/22/2010

NOM: The farthest-reaching political time waster in American history?

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization for Marriage was in court again yesterday, working those financial fine lines and election law margins that keep them on the air in several states without explicitly letting the public know where the money's coming from. This time the states in question are New York, where for some bizarre reason Brian Brown and company want to run ads supporting Carl "don't want gays brainwashing children" Paladino, and Rhode Island, where the group's trying to run a general ad criticizing marriage equality as a whole:

In Buffalo on Thursday, a federal judge reserved decision after a NOM lawyer argued it would be unconstitutional to regulate the group as a political committee because it's not controlled by a candidate and doesn't spend most of its money on candidates.

Meanwhile in Providence, a judge said the group could go ahead with ads in Rhode Island as long as it reports how much it's spending.

Gay marriage foes seek freedom in running ads [AP via PBPost]

NOM is hurtful, NOM is working against the constitution, NOM is offending the lives and loves of millions. Yea, yeah, yeah -- you've heard it all before.

What really stands out to me with this story involving two different court case in two different states is just how wasteful this whole fight truly is! Because of the contrived existence of groups like NOM, we on the pro-equality side are forced into court, forced onto the streets in protest, forced to spill much digital ink on the so-called "culture war," and forced to generally pause our lives to focus on this silly fight. But at the same time, so are those on the anti-equality side. Because groups like NOM have put so much information out there that has duped the public into seeing this as the fight of a generation, many good and decent people are spending mucho time putting an undue amount of mental, financial, and emotional effort on a situation that matters to their lives not! Courts get tied up, election boards are forced to hold lengthy hearings, political minds that could be solving actual real world problems are instead spilling mindful attention on anti-gay marriage gambit. In the span of a limited lifetime, *THIS* is what continues to waste all of our hours?!?!

We kind of just accept that things exist by a virtue not greater or meritorious reason than their manufactured presence. A starlet's undeserved fame? A bad TV show that just kind of runs 201010220949under the radar for many seasons? A political group and political fight that enters into our national lexicon? We all just kind of accept certain contrivances simply because they are out there in the public, thanks to PR agencies, determination that goes beyond skill, fortuitous nepotism, or access to a healthy bank account. This modern day "protect marriage" machine is in that exact same vein.

As we move forward, we really should start addressing the real, real problem here: That the benign civil marriages of same-sex couples should NOT. EVEN. BE. A. CONVERSATION. IN. 2010. AMERICA, but it an overwrought dialogue because of artificial aggression. We don't have to buy that issue of Us Weekly simply because someone's publicist is telling us to accept the instant stardom of this or that reality TV personality. Same token: We don't have to buy into Maggie Gallagher's hobbies, simply because the Catholic church, conservative establishment, and nameless donors have turned this whim into a movement.

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