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01/30/2013

NOM gets some company for its 3/26 SCOTUS march

by Jeremy Hooper

Westboro Baptist Church, fresh off its amicus brief telling the Supreme Court to oppose marriage equality so that God doesn't destroy the nation, plans to demonstrate outside of the SCOTUS building on March 26—the same day and time that the National Organization For Marriage will hold its "marriage march." Church spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper tells me:

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Let me say right off the bat that I am not directly equating NOM with WBC. I do not believe they are one and the same and I would never say that they are. Every decent-minded American, from any political stripe or viewpoint, has spoken out against this, a church that pickets funerals and viciously decries most anyone who wasn't born of the Phelps lineage. NOM has certainly spoken out against WBC in the past, and I would expect them to do so in the future.

But at the same time, we must acknowledge the facts. Both groups will be protesting for the same basic goal of blocking marriage rights for same-sex couples. Both groups will be protesting, largely, because of what they see as their faith convictions, with supporters in both camps focused as much on the eternal as they will be on the civil court case playing out before them. Members of both groups are drawn to take a day off and show up at the Supreme Court because they believe stopping same-sex couples from marriage is the key to safeguarding our society. Both groups will be carrying signs and chanting slogans that are meant to steer people away from equal rights, if not from homosexuality itself.

Yes, these two groups have major differences—huge, irreconcilable, deal-breaking differences—in belief, tone, fervor, frankness, decency, pragmatism, and overall goals. Again, I want to be sure everyone understands that I see, know, and recognize the CLEAR dissimilarity between the National Organization For Marriage and the 'God Hates F*gs" church. Clearly.

But I also understand that both sets of protesters outside of that Supreme Court building on March 26 will be telling anyone who will listen that I should be legally estranged from my husband for the good of society's sake, often coupled with a belief that my marriage and very sexuality are displeasing to God. In terms of the practical rights being debated inside that court, the clear distinction between those groups who are joined against me matters much less. The fact of the matter is that both groups want a majority court to go against citizens like me. That is what I care about. Whether that message comes from a smiling or yelling mouth is far less important.

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