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05/23/2011

If it walks like a ban and it stigmatizes like a ban...

by Jeremy Hooper

Whenever Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten writes about same-sex marriage, it seriously sounds like she's simply repurposing a National Organization For Marriage press release. So it's no surprise that in the wake of the news of the state legislature sending a marriage discrimination amendment to the state's 2012 voters, Kersten would write a column designed to deny that animus is at all a reason behind the biased push. A column that's all the more ridiculous, considering the incredibly nasty, Paul-Cameron-citing things that the state's chief anti-equality lobby group (And NOM partner) is so proudly saying about us.

But actually, it's not Kersten's generalized denial of bigotry towards which we care to direct our focus. Instead, we want to take a look at this chunk:

6A00D8341C503453Ef0133F5025A69970BWhy do polls consistently fail to predict voters' behavior? There are several reasons. First, many polls use misleading language. They ask people if they want to "ban" same-sex marriage instead of using the amendment language that voters will actually encounter in the polling booth. (In our state, that language is: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.")

"For years, the 'ban same-sex marriage' language in polls has produced about a 6 to 10 percentage point undercount on support for traditional marriage," says Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage. "If you want to get the least favorable result on marriage, this is the language you choose for your poll."

One reason for the undercount is that some people interpret the "ban" language as implying that same-sex marriage or homosexual relationships will somehow be criminalized or made illegal, according to Gallagher. The "ban" language also casts traditional marriage supporters in a negative light. It compels them to say they are against something, rather than allowing them to articulate what they are for.

KERSTEN'S FULL OPINION PIECE: Gay marriage supporters opt to intimidate [Star Tribune]

Okay. So again, not surprising to see Kersten citing Gallagher. Also not surprising to see Gallagher knocking "ban" language, since NOM admits, as its number one talking point, that their side loses percentage points whenever the word "ban" is (accurately) used. A huge portion of the "protect marriage" crowd's work revolves around fake terms designed to hide true intent (e.g. "protect marriage"). We know this. Hell, they all-but admit this.

But here's the thing: These folks can call the proposed amendment "peanut butter and jelly" if they want, and it still won't change the reality. The reality is that THE ANTI-LGBT FORCES ABSOLUTELY DO WANT TO BAN US! And as we showed you in yesterday's post: Not only ban us from marriage, but also repeal things like non-discrimination laws, and cultivate generalized animus that calls us both "abnormal" and "changeable." That is the Minnesota Family Council (i.e. the group pushing the marriage amendment, alongside NOM) who says this. When they talk, mightn't it be germane to listen to what they are actually saying?!?!!?!?!?

The "ban" language costs the anti-LGBT movement BECAUSE IT SHOULD. When people actually stop and think about what it means to change a precious governing document so that it kowtows to largely faith-based animus against LGBT people in order to make gay families more legally-estranged under the law, people do hopefully find a more reluctant conscience. That is called humanity. The other side is proposing a cruel ban meant to slight a swath of the same.

Peanut butter and jelly is a yummy sandwich. Anti-marriage-equality amendments are crude and discriminatory bans. Those are just facts. Facts do not change simply because one side realizes their political inconvenience.

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