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Photo: Heritage Foundation's 'courage to stand' marriage panel

by Jeremy Hooper

The anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation hosts some sort of summer event for interns, which they call "Courage to Stand." Today there was a marriage panel; here was the lineup, as Tweeted out by one of NOM's more recent hires, Claire Chretien:

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 At 2.48.17 Pm

Four conservative Catholics, first of all. That's notable. At this point, the modern marriage inequality movement is almost a fully conservative Catholic movement. People are not talking about this enough.

The moderator is "pro-life" activist Kate Bryan. You might remember her from that truly silly piece she wrote about Macklemore's "Same Love," in which she wished (marriage equality supporter) Eminem would write a heterosexual (read: discriminatory) version of the song. The only thing funnier than Bryan's piece was the self-victimizing tweeting that went on in the days after, in which Bryan turned people who criticized her article into "haters." Because that's what the younger members of the pro-discrimination crowd love to do on social media. Squeezing themselves into a victim costume is like their version of planking or grumpy cat.

Speaking of young members of the pro-discrimination crowd, this panel also includes Ryan Anderson. In addition to being so anti-equality that he directly tells gay residents of marriage equality states that they will never "really" be married, even if the law allows them to be, the more notable fact about Ryan is that he has made it quite clear that he believes gay people have a calling to be celibate. That is the conservative Catholic view, and Ryan fully embraces it, even if he isn't so quick to admit it when on national television or somewhere where he knows it would dissuade support.

Then there's Maggie Gallagher. Funny that Heritage would include the NOM co-founder on this panel considering that she has basically dropped out of the movement. In fact, Maggie has repeatedly over the past year conceded that the Supreme Court will soon rule in favor of fifty-state equality. Probably not the person I'd use to rally young'uns to this overwrought fight. But hey, it's their movement.

And then we have Brian. It truly astounds me that this man remains the leader of the modern marriage inequality movement. Since Brian, who once marched in the streets against Bishop Gene Robison's ordination and who has himself encouraged parents to attend "ex-gay" workshops, has been at the helm of NOM, the organization has done little more than lose. And lose big, too! Not only have they lost an astounding number of battles at the ballot box and in the court, but NOM has also made a lot of really bad mistakes that have irreparably damaged both their own reputation and that of the larger "pro-marriage" movement. In fact, I am someone who believes, objectively, that the other side would be much better off if they never had created NOM. NOM has made that movement look like a mess—and Brian, his style, and his bizarre leadership choices are a big reason why.

I will concede that these panelists have taken a stand. I might even say they've show courage, since it does take some bit of fortitude to publicly stand for discrimination in the face of so many good, decent, caring, constitutional, and compassionate reasons not to do so. But if they think this keep-doing-what-you're-doing style is going to inspire the next generation and change the game, then they are just not paying attention to the tide or temperature of this fight in this nation. These panelists helped create the modern "pro marriage" movement's beleaguered state—they're not going to lead anyone out of it.

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