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11/12/2011

Days and Slights: This Week in NOM (Nov. 6 - Nov. 12)

by Jeremy Hooper

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Dear NOM Watcher,

My husband hurt his knee this week. Not sure why or how, but he's been in some real pain that's proving slow to heal. Sucks.

I've done all that I can to help him. Knee brace. Naproxen. Ice packs. Johnnie Walker. Because that's what a spouse does: He or she steps up at a time of weakness, helping his or her beloved regain lost footing.

It's at these times of illing and ailing that the NOM agenda really makes me angry. Not annoyed, determined, weary, or humored by the organization's lack of self awareness, the usual emotions that NOM engenders within me in various combos at various times. No, no -- when I'm watching my nearest and dearest cringe in a pain that I'd gladly take on so that he wouldn't have to, that's when all of the "protect marriage" bullcrap really makes me mad. During the richer, better, healthier parts of the marriage vow, I can more easily limit my focus to the politics of the fight. But when experiencing the "in sickness" part? I can only see the humanity. Or lack thereof, as is the case with the NOM view.

Andrew will be better in a few days, of that I am sure. At which point I can dedicate the larger portion of my brain to this contrived "culture war" filled with talking points that carelessly toss around terms like "sanctity" and "defense" in ways more decontextualized than the ephemera that adorns the walls of a typical T.G.I Fridays.  But even when I do go back to indulging the game, that won't change one major fact: That the humanity lies on our side of the fight, not theirs.  The heart of this fight is in our homes and in our passionate push to protect the same.  We are the ones who fight for our loves ones, so that we can live out both the good and the bad without this extra layer of cruelty. They are the ones who've turned said cruelty into a vehicle for collecting paychecks, political invites, and a more divided America.

Don't ever lost sight of that.  Not even as we move on to this week's attempts to divide us...


Mined for Golding, came up with coal

The biggest NOM news of the week came out of the Iowa special state Senate election, where pro-equality Democrat Liz Mathis prevailed over NOM-backed candidate Cindy Golding. This was the race that NOM dropped-in to the tune of $40,000. $40,000 that could've gone to one of those Catholic Charities that they're always talking about helping, but instead went to unsuccessful politicking. Priorities, ya know?

One interesting development came just hours after the Mathis win was announced. NOM Cultural Director Thomas Peters immediately tweeted his belief that Golding was a "weak" candidate, even though earlier in that same night, he'd told those same tweeters to get out to the Iowa polls and vote for Golding. So basically, we have a man who works for an organization that threw a ton of cash and capital at a certain politician and who himself solicited votes that would bring that politician into an influential office, all while he himself saw the candidate as weak.  Doesn't that say much more about NOM's negligent "win at all costs" strategy than it does about us, Ms. Golding, or Iowa voters?  I'd say so.

But regardless of their view on Ms. Golding's candidacy, what matters it that NOM tried and failed in this high profile race. I see it as a turning point in the familiar NOM playbook; time will tell us if I'm right.


Fox blues: NOM's Kurt/Blaine chorus needs some autotune

If there's one thing that's truly shocked me about NOM over the past year or so it's how far off the "it's only about marriage" script they now frequently stray, instead committing the organization to the generalized anti-LGBT animus we see from other "pro-fam" groups. Not that I ever thought the NOM crowd had deep regard for homosexuality, mind you. It's just that they used to be nothing if not pragmatic, always cognizant of that "moveable middle" that both sides are courting. But now they seem to have either changed tactics, or they simply don't care to hide what was always underlying the "protect marriage' work.

Latest case in point: This week NOM went after "Glee" for having two of its lead characters, Kurt and Blaine, sensitively discuss and then ultimately lose their virginities. NOM staff took to the organizational blog, Twitter, and Facebook wall to denounce the "filthy" show:

Screen Shot 2011-11-11 At 2.15.36 Pm

Now obviously this episode had nothing to do with marriage, as Kurt and Blaine would both rather star in "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" than have one of their own. But with the new NOM that we've come to know over the past many months, it doesn't have to be about marriage. The organization is now actively courting that small, hyper-motivated crowd that's driven by good old fashion contempt for LGBT lives, loves, and fictional portrayals thereof.  They now routinely trade pragmatism for denunciation.

It's a gamble on NOM's part. If I were a betting man, I'd put my big money on team Klaine!


"Beginning to worry"

I absolutely adored the way NOM President Brian Brown began a fundraising e-blast that he sent around this week. In what I'm taking as an admission greater than he'd ever let on, Brian began with the four words "I'm beginning to worry."

We can all think of a million reasons why someone who heads an anti-equality group would see a need to worry, from increasing poll numbers to the astounding strides we equality advocates have already made in a relatively short time. But of course Brian couches his worries behind the smokescreen of NOM being the little guy who is outpaced by the huge, pro-LGBT money machine, saying that NOM's limiting itself to "real America," "grassroots" support is the reason why everyday folks need to cough up some cash right here, right now. Brian's "worry," we come to find out, is that poor NOM is just spreading itself too thin, considering how expansive/expensive the fight now is.

To which I say: "Brace yourself, Brian!" This push forward is only going to get bigger. And better. And stronger. And louder. And more active. Because this train is moving in one direction, and it aint stopping until it reaches the only acceptable destination. And that destination is not at the beginning of Brian Brown's worry -- it's at the end of our time worrying about groups like NOM!


DOMA going way of DODO: Step 1

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Senate Judiciary Committee's historic approval of the Respect for Marriage Act, a measure that would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.  It was the first legislative move forward on DOMA since its mid '90s passage, which is [a] annoying in the sense that it's taken fifteen years of hard work to get that, yet [b] comforting in the sense that we're talking about this rather than talking about something like an even nastier Federal Marriage Amendment (so-called).  In terms of our ongoing civil rights struggle, this was a great highlight.

And how do we know it was a big deal move? Well, for one: Brian Brown "charmingly" called the the theoretical repeal "a suicide strategy on marriage." And as we all know: The coarser the language, the greater the fears.

But even with so much good, we shouldn't get overly confident. It's still a very long road ahead for us, for DOMA, and for our overall attempts to get beyond this rocky path that NOM has unnecessarily laid before us. And I can assure you that there will be more setbacks along the way.  All we can do is commit ourselves to doing the work, celebrating the good while learning from the bad, so hopefully we can reach peace sooner rather than later.

Forget Kurt and Blaine's first time: It's their wedding night, in Ohio with full state and federal rights, that I really can't wait to see!  And we'll get there if we just plow through.


Until next week,

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hooper
Good As You/NOM Exposed

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