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11/19/2011

Days and Slights: This Week in NOM (Nov. 13- Nov. 19)

by Jeremy Hooper

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On this week's edition of her Catholic radio show, NOM affiliate leader Jennifer Roback Morse announced that on next week's edition (Monday, 6-8PM Pacific), she will play host to NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher. The subject the two will discuss: Thanksgiving, and how families with different views on marriage equality can have respectful conversations around the dinner table.

Now, I'm not surprised that Maggie would want to have such a conversation. She has publicly stated that members of her own family disagree with her on marriage, and has made a point to say that her parents raised her with a buoyant "agree to disagree" view. Considering Maggie's entire national profile is built around the sole subject of same-sex couples' right to marry and her own financial gain is steeped in the same, it seems like it'd be hard for her to completely avoid the subject every time the family gets together. So as far as peace of mind while snatching a piece of pie goes, it's understandable why this T-day true would be ripe on Gallagher's conversational mind.

It's even commendable, the notion. If we are to have this contrived "culture war," it'd be ideal to have it in civil voice. If I have to disagree with Aunt Fern about the proper placement of the gold band that so proudly adorns my finger, then I'd prefer to at least preserve the sanctity of my vocal cords and blood pressure. So as far as the topic, on its face: Yes, I wholeheartedly support the ability to fling thoughts and ideas rather than forks and cranberry sauce terrines.

The thing is: I can make such a truce, if I so choose. This idea of civility is one for someone like me to seek or declare, not someone like Maggie of Jennifer. If I want to take pause for one day and not have to be saddled down by the harsh rhetoric and even harsher policy pushes that threaten my rights as an American citizen, then I can rightfully push that pause button. Or not.  The choice is mine, as the person who is constantly targeted by this lame "culture war."

But when Maggie and Jennifer talk of such civility? Well that's all fine and good, until you consider that they are the ones who are forcing this issue onto the American table! These are two people who have, quite literally, made hundreds of thousands of dollars by turning my rights -- your rights, our rights -- into a national debate. They spend considerable time, energy, and resources keeping people like Aunt Fern confused about what LGBT people are really seeking, what those goals mean for America, and how the peaceful push forward will supposedly stifle the rights of religious people. Through various channels, both of these NOM personalities are cultivating the utter incivility that's shown to LGBT Americans every day of the year. They are not experiencing or suffering from a "culture war": Maggie Gallagher, Jennifer Roback Morse, and the far-right movement are the ones who waged it!

So when these two NOM personalities broach the subject of mashing sweet potatoes rather than each other's heads, I will actually agree to a temporary armistice. But I will do so not because of their ask, but rather because I have made those terms independent of their appeal. This request is not theirs to make.

Now let's move on to some of the ways NOM talked turkey this week…


Condemning Conan

On Monday, NOM took to the organizational Facebook wall for the purposes of condemning TBS late-night Screen Shot 2011-11-14 At 8.24.56 Amfunny man Conan O'Brien. Calling his recent decision to perform a same-sex marriage a "publicity stunt" that managed to both "trivialize marriage" and show what a "shame same-sex marriage is," NOM was sure to send in its belated RSVP to this legal bonding.

But fine, let them knock it. Conan broadcasted love to millions. NOM is broadcasting hostility to millions fewer. I'm okay with that matchup, its odds, and its usable takeaways.


'Children..who have been taken from their parents'

The aforementioned Jennifer Roback Morse posted a truly nasty, truly unwarranted attack on same-sex adoption this week. Responding to a new campaign to encourage adoptive parenting within the LGBT community, Roback Morse pulled out all the stops. She worked to stir up anti-gay ill will within the African-American community. She positioned same-sex couples' decisions to adopt, here in our world with an overabundance of children in need of good homes, as some sort of threat to straight couples adopting. And in a truly odd and nasty turn, Morse even referred to adopted kids as "children…who have been taken from their parents." The whole thing (which she proceeded to read on her Catholic radio show) is honestly one of the most pointedly offensive takes I had the misfortune of reading all month.

Check it out here, if you want even more insight into the truth behind the NOM agenda.


Salacious tease; obvious agenda

NOM's been doing this thing lately where they float certain ideas out there. Just to ask a theoretical question, ya know?

The most prominent one this week involved a particularly marriage-unrelated concern:

Screen Shot 2011-11-15 At 1.22.04 Pm

Don't be fooled by the line noting LGBT people's generalized "no."  Or the question mark. NOM is trying to plant seeds in supporters' heads. Period.


Because it takes a village to redefine 'defamation'

One big "announcement" this week was that Canadian sportscaster Damian Goddard has joined NOM's misnamed Marriage Anti-Defamation project. I put "announcement" in quotes because I actually told you that Goddard is working for NOM way back on September 26, when I also showed you how he was Screen Shot 2011-11-17 At 2.58.52 Pmpushing his support for a certain "gays can change" group. But I digress.

NOM unveiled Goddard with yet another splashy (and horribly rated) YouTube video all about how he lost his contract with SportsNet simply because he opposes same-sex marriages. Goddard makes these claims despite the network's repeated insistence that Goddard lost his gig for a number of "well documented reasons," which they have said they will make public if and when he brings forth proceedings against them. So far that hasn't happened.

If you want to keep an eye on the new Marriage ADA spokesperson, he actively tweets @heydamo.  And by all means, if he follows you, follow him back.  Would hate for NOM to make a video about social media non-interaction also being a form of "defamation."


Rumor has it…

A meme that's been going around far-right circles suggests Senate Democrats plan to attach the Respect for Marriage Act (DOMA repeal) to the must-pass Defense Authorization Act, as a way to "jam through" the legislation. This week NOM took that meme and ran with it, actively press releasing the idea as if it were fact.

Only problem? Nobody involved has suggested as much. HRC denies it. Sen. Dianne Feinstein denies it. And so on and so forth.

As HRC's Fred Sainz told the Washington Blade: "Their members and their donors are, obviously, upset at their very poor performance"…"NOM needs to give them a red herring that equals hope or shows that they are working on something no matter how big of a lie it is. They're trying to raise money with this is what they're trying to do. They are trying to give the sense that something is going on when this is not something that is in the works."

Perfectly stated.  In NOM's religious "values" world, bearing false witness is very, very bad. Until it's not ($$).


NOM celebrates 'standing'; they really should sit

NOM was also trying to make a big deal out of this week's Prop 8 decision. Amid a pleas for even more funding, NOM called the California Supreme Court's ruling on standing (a.k.a. who has the right to defend Prop 8 in court) "a huge victory for NOM and supporters of Proposition 8."

The truth: This week's decision simply puts us back in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we can continue to demolish the Prop 8 proponents' inadequate case with our trusty set of facts. The only thing the NOM crowd "won" was the next step towards their eventual loss in the Ninth Circuit, followed by an inevitable journey to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Ted Olson, David Boies, and the entire legal team will continue to outshine the opposition. It doesn't matter who that opposition is when you have a case as strong as ours playing out in venues where the usual lies and spin games are carefully scrutinized.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why NOM would want to make a mountain out of this week's relative mole hill. As the largest contributor to the discriminatory ban, NOM's entire existence is wrapped up in this Prop 8 case. They know what our side's momentum in this ongoing federal trial is doing, both practically through our gained ground and sentimentally via our gained polling. In a developing story with so few "yays" for their side, NOM has no choice but to craft a smile.  I see right through it.


The Family Leader called gays a 'public health hazard'; NOM calls them an ally

And finally, let's close with NOM's biggest pet project of the week: The 11/19 presidential forum that they are hosting with the uber-anti-gay Family Leader and those longtime side-thorns at Focus on the Family. NOM been seriously touting its access to the leading GOP presidential candidates (sans Mitt Romney), and sure to mention NOM president Brian Brown's chance to speak directly to the White House hopefuls.

Makes sense that they'd tout such things, since this event is sure to get a lot of attention.  But that attention: It's good for us!  For about a year now, I've been honing in on the Family Leader, a group that uses phrases like Screen Shot 2011-11-17 At 2.58.52 Pm"public health hazard" to refer to homosexuality and even launches programs that directly compare marriage equality to second hand smoking. I'm not being dramatic when I say TFL is one of the most over-the-top of all of the state groups I cover. And now, thanks to this heightened platform, more and more people are going to learn that. We're already seeing it in local Iowa media, where certain points about TFL's record (and that of its president, Bob Vander Plaats) are starting to hit MSM airwaves. This is only going to increase as the Iowa caucus season rolls on.

NOM made a choice here. In the quest for attention, NOM chose to side with two other groups that are not just "protecting marriage," but who are instead doing everything they can to deny LGBT people of their very peace of mind. That might be good for some short-term donations from hyper-motivated individuals inspired by Saturday night's forum. But in terms of the ongoing fight for marriage equality (i.e. the organization's stated purpose for existence), NOM is leaving behind a trail that more than proves its willingness and desire to say, do, and affiliate with just about any kind of outfit, no matter how over-the-top.  The Internet will certainly not forget any of it. Many of us will work long days and nights making sure that voters in the upcoming marriage referendum states (MN, NC, etc.) don't either.


Until next week, my Tofurkys,

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hooper
Good As You/NOM Exposed

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