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11/15/2012

Is the 'protect marriage' movement embarrassed of its most dedicated?

by Jeremy Hooper

It happens every time. When campaign time rolls around, the National Organization For Marriage and Frank Schubert swoop in and "clean up" the rhetoric that has been peppering that state's anti-LGBT discourse for years prior.

Screen Shot 2012-11-15 At 2.21.07 Pm Ken Hutcherson, the Washingtonian who has been speaking for that state's anti-LGBT side more fully than anyone else over the past decade, is the latest casualty of NOM's micromanaging—and he's pissed. This from One New Now:

With a heavy lineup of pro-family groups coming to The Evergreen State to join the effort to protect traditional marriage, the co-founder of Antioch Bible Church soon found out that they weren't operating out of the same playbook.

"Their intention was to be moderate, non-controversial," [Ken] Hutcherson told OneNewsNow in an exclusive interview, pointing out that the National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family and Family Policy Institute's unbiblical strategy was a severe departure from the state's churches' aggressive campaign to stop same-sex marriage using the weight of family values and Scripture. He notes that the groups essentially told him and other local Christian leaders' that their message on marriage and social issues was too offensive.

"They did not want me involved basically in the top leadership, so I took a back seat and let them run with it," Hutcherson shared. "And that really hurt our unity out here."

Pastor Tackles PC that Cost Election [ONN]

Now, you might remember that Hutcherson kicked off this year's campaign by linking gays to NAMBLA and claiming that "Muslims have come out in favor of same sex marriage, so they can usher in Sharia Law which allows polygamy." So in terms of NOM, an organization that depends on seeming somewhat middle road so as to not turn off everyone but the far-right, it's no wonder, on a practical level, why they hid voices like Hutcherson's (even if NOM's own Chris Plante joined some of his events).

But at the same time, the whole thing really is kind of bullshit. I get why Hutcherson is mad, just like I understood why Mike Heath publicly raged when he was pushed out of his state's "official" fight back in 2009. For years these men labored for their cause—a cause that is not really detached from NOM's cause. People like Hutcherson and Heath took many of the lumps on the road toward sentiment becoming a campaign, putting themselves out there for the same overall goal as NOM. And the thanks they get comes in the form of the D.C.-based NOM and California native Frank Schubert swooping in and (a) telling them how to run their state's operation and (b) telling them that their public services are no longer needed? That has to sting! I totally get it.

The cold, hard truth is that the organized anti-LGBT movement wishes it had a different base than it actually does. They wish they had top business leaders, attractive celebrities, a cadre of public thinkers, a truly bipartisan support system, and a monied body of willful grassroots donors. They publicly spurn their most ardent supporters (e.g. Heath, Hutcherson, Brian Camenker, Peter LaBarbera, etc.) because they know that their own side's messaging, when carried out to its logical extent, doesn't sit well with the moveable middle. They will use these more loose-lipped voices for behind-the-scenes stuff or early organizing, but they run away from these people when their actual vies come to light. It's so ridiculously obvious!

On this one, I fully side with the Ken Hutchersons of the world. I think they should stand up and demand that their own, organized movement start acknowledging their work. Truly. In fact—I insist!

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