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01/22/2013

Anti-equality groups are a-spinnin'; here's Focus on the Family's version

by Jeremy Hooper

It's seriously like the far-right anti-LGBT crowd, whose work was essentially put on a notice in the President's historic inaugural speech, is trying to workshop new lines in hopes that one of them will stick.
Carrie-Gordon-Earrl
This one comes from Focus on the Family's Carrie Gordon Earll:

President Obama’s policies to dismantle one-man and one-woman marriage in federal law and to require faith-based organizations and faith-holding companies to provide faith-violating health care coverage run contrary to the words in this speech,” Earll said. “In fact, the future definition of marriage and the practice of our religious freedoms now lie with the courts — due to the actions of the president.
[SOURCE]

Let's dissect this.

(1) There's the turn of phrase that accuses POTUS of wanting to "dismantle one-man and one-woman marriage." Only in this heavily spun "pro-family" world does the push for more freedom come at the expense of someone else's freedoms. Yet despite the obvious absurdity, groups like Focus on the Family continue to state the fiction as fact. In this fabricated setup, we equality supporters "dismantle," we "destroy," we "damage," we "weaken," we "threaten"— we never just get or gain.

(2) The conflation of marriage rights and conserva-popular side issues (in this case health care). This is another old trick. They love to link LGBT equality to other causes, in hopes that it will all seem like part of the same bag of "liberal" tricks. They put this, the politics-transcending conversation about human rights, on the same partisan playing field because they want to rally movement conservatives to their discriminatory cause. Yawn.

(3) There's the idea that President Obama's actions contradict his speech. This idea might be true if President Obama actually were dismantling other people's marriage—but he's not. When he makes the call to treat LGBT people fairly under civil law, he is no way suggesting that we treat S people any less fairly. His actions and words are fully reconciled.

And then (4) the idea that marriage questions are now before the court because of this POTUS. Um, what?! LGBT questions were before the court before this President and will probably be before the court well after this President. I'm assuming Ms. Earll is talking about the President's decision to drop defense of the awful and awfully unconstitutional policy known as DOMA, but (a) the choice to stop defending this terrible law is completely in line with the President's stated beliefs, and (b) the fact that the question is before the courts is completely independent of the administration's actions. Marriage questions are before the courts not because we have a President named Obama but because we have a government branch known as the judiciary! Citizens are free to pursue their options within this branch and test whatever legal inequalities they perceive. Thus the marriage cases.


Look, I get why Focus on the Family employees are spinning like the Tasmanian Devil's anti-equality cousin. Yesterday's uber-visible speech does threaten to dismantle something: the decades of discrimination that this Colorado Springs mega-organization has worked for both political connections and profit. Focus, like all anti-equality outfits, is in org protection mode right now. This, the bread and butter fight on which they have long dined, is losing its palpability.

Only problem with their attempts to name reality? The fact that there already is a reality—one that already has a name.

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