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08/15/2014

Catholic organization NOM takes itself out of pertinent debate on *civil* marriage

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization For Marriage is a very Catholic organization. That is not news. I beat that drum for years, back when NOM failed to acknowledge its obvious religious root, but now NOM is not really even trying to hide it.

In its latest social media post, NOM, the head group fighting civil marriage equality in this nation, shows just how different of a conversation they are having from those of us who are arguing the constitutional facets of the freedom to marry under civil law:

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 At 4.00.52 Pm
[NOM]

That is a perfectly fine thing for NOM to believe—for NOM and its staffers. For them, marriage very well may be "more than a civil contract." A lot of people do, in fact, opt to couple their civil marriage license with a religious ceremony and solemnization. Here in America, couples do have that choice.

But they also have the choice to not. And that is where the civil marriage equality fight is focused. The civil marriage equality fight is exclusively about the civil contract. No one in the LGBT movement is seeking to force churches to marry any couple, straight or gay, that they do not wish to marry. Individual LGBT people might seek that within the churches to which they belong, but the marriage equality movement is not. We are focused only on the civil contract.

There is also no kid requirement attached to the license. Again, a lot of married people (self included) do choose to raise children. However, the idea that the civil marriage contract is largely focused on kids and how we teach them is completely, 100%, in every way untrue. You cannot claim an option as a mandate!

Yet that is what NOM is trying to do. NOM, like most anti-LGBT social conservatives and their groups, is trying to force Americans to buy into a viewpoint that they have chosen for their own lives. They don't care about public policy, at least not in the fair way in which shared policy is supposed to serve the needs to the full public at large. In truth, NOM and related groups are trying to steer this nation to accept its own lifestyle choices as not only the best way forward, but rather the only way forward.

This all would be a lot more palatable if NOM would change its name to something like "Catholics for Canonical Marriage." But as they exist, as a benignly named and supposedly diverse political group with more focused interests? It's a shady game that needs to be called out.

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