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NOM Joins Anti-Lawrence v. Texas Crowd

August 10, 2011 12:18 pm ET by Carlos Maza

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) posted a blog entry Tuesday spotlighting a Los Angeles editorial about a legal scholar, Jonathan Turley, who is currently filing a lawsuit against Utah’s anti-polygamy laws.

At first glance, the post isn’t anything special. NOM is no stranger to promoting the myth that marriage equality will lead to polygamous marriages, and Turley’s lawsuit is a golden opportunity for the organization to validate its anti-gay horror stories.

What makes this post interesting, though, is what NOM chose to highlight about Turley’s lawsuit. In addition to quoting segments of the LA Times editorial, NOM added: “And it all goes back to Lawrence v. Texas.

Lawrence v. Texas is, of course, the historic 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision which invalidated state laws criminalizing gay sex. It was a landmark victory for the gay rights movement, finding that the government could not criminalize private, consensual acts between two gay adults solely on the basis of public disapproval of homosexuality.

Apparently, NOM is under the impression that the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence paved the way for courts to legalize same-sex marriage and, eventually, polygamous marriage.

NOM isn’t alone, either. The Family Research Council (FRC) -- which has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- filed an amicus brief in the Lawrence case, using reasoning similar to NOM’s in order to justify state sodomy laws.

Last year, FRC’s Peter Sprigg went on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews to declare that Lawrence had been wrongly decided:

SPRIGG: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

MATTHEWS: So we should outlaw gay behavior?


Moreover, GOP 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum has echoed FRC and NOM’s position, arguing that the Lawrence decision “open[ed] up the gates for all sorts of consensual activity.”

This anti-Lawrence sentiment is cause for major concern, and raises serious questions about what groups like NOM and FRC ultimately hope to accomplish in the fight against marriage equality. Since the Lawrence decision has -- as the LA Times article put it -- "plant[ed] the seeds” for the legalization of same-sex marriage, the final goal of groups like NOM and FRC seems to be to pull the decision out by its roots: reversing Lawrence and allowing for the re-criminalization of homosexuality.

If that’s the case, LGBT people have much more to worry about than the right to get married.


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