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Certain anti-choice orgs extending that mindset to marriage equality

by Jeremy Hooper

The Baptist Press reports on an interesting rift developing in Ohio, speaking to larger rifts that are sure to grow the conservative movement. The gist:

CLEVELAND (BP) -- The nation's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life group, the National Right to Life Committee, has broken ties with a Cleveland affiliate accused of causing dissension by adding the gay marriage issue to its platform..

Like the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), Cleveland Right to Life denounces abortion, infanticide and euthanasia in its mission statement. On June 24, after a year and a half of discussion, Cleveland Right to Life announced it had updated its mission statement to include same-sex marriage as a practice "contrary to 'the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God.'"
Cleveland Right to Life president Molly Smith, along with a board member, met with [Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman] to discuss his views on gay marriage. They thanked the senator for his pro-life record but explained his support for gay marriage conflicted with the views of Cleveland Right to Life and its membership. The hour-long meeting was cordial, according to a news release at the time.

Smith said the two sides left the meeting "agreeing to disagree.... There was no animosity." But two weeks later, on July 17, NRLC sent a letter addressed to Smith, asking her to "remove from your website the claim that you are affiliated with NRLC." The letter chided Cleveland Right to Life for adopting "an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life," and said it had "issued public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. senator who has supported the right-to-life position on every vote ... and who is a sponsor of major NRLC-backed bills."

FULL: Gay marriage causes pro-life rift in Ohio [BP News]

So basically, certain "pro-life" groups are starting to determine that opposing same-sex couples' civil rights is an organic fit for their cause. This doesn't surprise me even a little bit, since trying to turn the current developments in marriage equality into the "Roe v. Wade of our time" is something we've been seeing a lot of in the past few months. There was also a dominant "pro-life" presence at NOM's recent "march for marriage," which the org. (and particularly its Comm. Director) made strides to equate with D.C.'s much more well-attended "march for life." The attempt to marry the two causes, if you will, has been going on for some time.

But it's really dumb politically. There are a great deal of people who identity as "pro-life" who still support marriage equality, and a smaller (but still existent) contingent of pro-choice individuals who oppose same-sex couple's legal rights. These are not necessarily conflicting positions for people who consider issues on their merits rather than because of certain motivations. And while I might personally advocate for my position on either of the two issues when dealing with someone who is on my page with one but not the other, I'm not going to stand in concrete opposition and make a blanket foe of the one fight's dedicated ally.

To me, the growing effort on the far-right to combine the two causes speaks to how contrived the marriage movement really is. Or at the very least, it shows how some would prefer its support base stop analyzing the arguments surrounding the marriage debate and instead see it as part of a bigger ball of wax they they must sign on to if they want to play under certain political tents. And in doing so, the hardliners will alienate many.

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