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09/10/2011

Days and Slights: This Week in NOM (Sep. 4 - Sep. 10)

by Jeremy Hooper

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Dear NOM Watchers,

I just saw Contagion. For those not in the know, that’s the star-packed movie (Winslet, Paltrow, Damon, Law…) all about a drastic viral spread that wreaks havoc on the world and her people. Basically, without spoiling the flick: What starts as a tickle in the planet’s throat rapidly turns into a full-on body blow, until the Earth’s landscape is on fire, literally and figuratively, with riled up citizens desperate to save themselves and their loved ones from that which threatens life as our cinematic counterparts know it. By the time of rolled credits and moviegoers prying their feet off a soda-sticky floor, everyone on screen has been forever changed by this true and undeniable threat to the culture and the ensuing fight to preserve it.

Most of my fellow flickers surely thought of the action and how it might translate to our own world, via something like Swine Flu or SARS. Understandably so. But I, as with so many situations where my duties rob me of my frivolity, couldn’t help but think of “culture warriors” like NOM, who so carelessly toss around fear words in order to push the idea that gay people’s loving bonds are the pervasive blight that’ll ultimately undo all that is around us, should the communicable idea of tolerance not be quarantined. My mind went there, because that’s what I see and hear all day: Groups like NOM acting as if same-sex weddings could neither be black tie nor casual, since “Hazmat orange” is the only acceptable dress code for such dangerous affairs.

And I’m not being hyperbolic when I pin such disastrous predictions on them, either. Here, just listen to NOM’s own Jennifer Roback Morse (of NOM’s affiliate The Ruth Institute) scare Christian college students with a talk about “the last remnants of what was once a great civilization,” which she foretells will happen if those who “suffer from/struggle with same sex-attraction” are free to marry:


*AUDIO SOURCE: Same-Sex Marriage Affects Everyone [NOM's Ruth Institute]

Morse’s vision is nothing short of apocalyptic, what with its crumbling coliseums and whatnot. But her vision is not movie fiction. It doesn’t stem from disease or famine or the kinds of attacks that we are all heart-heavy in remembering on this anniversary weekend. People like Ms. Roback Morse seriously present gay people’s marriages — my very own marriage, in fact — as the dangerous contagion of our own shared screenplay. Same-sex couples are the unwilling stars of their bizarre morality tale.

At the very least, they could serve popcorn.


Laborious, indeed

This week started off with a big Republican presidential forum, presented and moderated by NOM’s co-founder, Robert George. While most people were enjoying a day off with some good food and good friends (or hopefully lukewarm edibles and tolerable company, at least), Professor George, far-right Sen. Jim Demint, and even-farther-right Congressman Steve King were grilling the GOP slate (sans Santorum and Perry) before CNN cameras.

For the most part, the debate was slow, uneventful, and lacking in any real soundbites. The bigger story is that it happened at all, earning credence from the likes of CNN. Because here we are talking about George, a man who is on record saying of LGB people:

…it is not really about benefits. It is about sex. The idea that is antithetical to those who are seeking to redefine marriage is that there is something uniquely good and morally upright about the chaste sexual union of husband and wife—something that is absent in sodomitical acts and in other forms sexual behavior that have been traditionally—and in my view correctly—regarded as intrinsically non-marital and, as such, immoral.
Robert P. George on the Struggle Over Marriage [Public Discourse]

This is the kind of thing that paves an accessible pathway towards our potential next President? The type of rhetoric that a theoretical next White House occupant either tacitly or outright supports? The kind of organization that is steering the Republican party’s “values” ship? Really?

NOM Exposed’s Kevin Nix has his own take on what did (or did not) go down at the forum.


Discrimination: You’re Tired

Many of you know that NOM launched its national profile off of a particularly nasty billboard campaign that compared a Massachusetts state lawmaker to both Benedict Arnold and Judas Iscariot. Well this week, NOM got back in the roadside (un)attraction game, this time in NY state.

The latest target: State Senator Roy McDonald (R-Saratoga), one of the supposed “turncoats” who voted for marriage equality. McDonald doesn’t even have an announced opponent vying for his seat in 2012, but that little fact didn’t stop NOM. The organization has already erected a big, yellow billboard on which they — in the most dated of pop culture fashions — deliver a Trump style “You’re Fired” proclamation to the pro-equality Republican.

NOM has promised to unveil similar campaigns focused on each of the “turncoats” who stood up and did the right thing for civil rights. So if you’re driving down the highways of New York keeping an eye out for food and gas signs, don’t be surprised if you’re also greeted with this hot air.


Populism 8

In a post regarding this week’s Prop 8 hearing, which she covered on behalf of NOM, the aforementioned Jennifer Roback Morse cast the people who support equality as “The Beautiful People,” proceeding to pit the supposedly privileged equality crowd against “The Little People” who support Prop 8. Because apparently the Catholic, Mormon, and evangelical churches are tiny and powerless in the country, at least in J-Ro-Mo’s world.

Those of us who know the everyday people who suffer at the hands of bias (or who are those people) know how ridiculous it is to say that the long-denied minority is the privileged class sitting in the “beautiful” seat. Unfortunately, those who don’t want America to know these everyday portraits insist on spinning fictions. Ms. Roback Morse is particularly adept at these kinds of fantasies (see video at beginning of this post).


Card, not the Bard

Also this week came word of a few-years-old book penned by NOM board member Orson Scott Card, in which the prominent Mormon writer changed Hamlet so that the father is an evil, gay pedophile who dupes the young prince into a number of vindictive acts. According to reviews, the old king also molests Laertes, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Horatio, which of course “turns” them all gay. Horatio eventually kills Hamlet’s father for what he did to him.

Of course it’s not all that surprising to learn of this obvious attempt to stigmatize gays through print, considering this is the same Orson Scott Card who, back during the Prop 8 summer, wrote that “any government that attempts to change [marriage] is my mortal enemy,” declaring his intent to “destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.” [SOURCE] What’s more surprising is that NOM, an organization that so desperately wants and *needs* to stay mainstream, keeps showing these more revelatory Cards.


(NY-9) — in why, NOM?

Perhaps the biggest NOM news of the week was in regards to the special election being held next week in New York, where Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner are vying for Anthony Weiner’s vacated seat. As of mid-week, NOM had given nearly $50k towards the fight to defeat Weprin (NOM’s larger interest) and elect Bob Turner (a concern, but not as much as defeating someone who voted for marriage equality in the state Assembly). NOM President Brian Brown vows to spend upwards of $75k by next Tuesday.

Then on Friday came the mailers. NOM has created three for this race, one for Latino voters, one for Jewish voters, and one for all others. The Latino one predictably uses imagery from the May 15th rally in the Bronx, at which state senator Rubén Díaz and buddies contributed to the visual record some of the most incendiary rhetoric imaginable. The “all others” mailer use imagery from NOM’s July 24th rally, where NOM bussed in a crowd to march an extremely religious (and in some cases, just plain extreme) message through the streets of midtown Manhattan. Though the most jaw-dropping was the Jewish one, on which the highly Catholic and somewhat Mormon NOM accused the Orthodox Jewish Democrat of mocking “our torah.”

Because that’s NOM: All things to all people, just as long as those people are not gay and registered at Crate & Barrel.

I and NOM Exposed will have more on the Weprin/Turner race, why NOM is so focused on this one seat, and what the organization stands to lose should Weprin prevail. Stay tuned for that.

For now I bid you a safe and happy adieu. Until next week, kiddies

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hooper
Good As You/ NOM Exposed

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