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Not So Nice: Meet The Group Behind Minnesota's "Low-Key" Anti-Equality Ads

October 08, 2012 12:32 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Kalley Yanta

The anti-gay group Minnesota for Marriage (MFM) released a set of television ads that reveal nothing of its history of bigotry, but state media outlets can still hold the group accountable.

Minnesota for Marriage, which is working to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in November, released its first two TV ads last week. According to MinnPost, the "low-key" ads are a "far cry" from the typical anti-gay fear mongering typically seen in state campaign ads:

A far cry from the breathless, ominous ads that have aired in other states to date, the 30-second spots depict the central issue as the rights of voters, not those of same-sex couples.

In fact, neither ad so much as mentions the words "gay" or "lesbian." Instead they are peppered with mentions of "voters," "voting" and "the people."

[...]

"They're trying to make arguments that are not going to be seen as bigotry or anti-gay," said Kate Knutson, a professor of political science at Gustavus Adolphus College whose research has followed marriage amendment campaigns. "I think it's very effective.

Considering how close the final vote on the amendment is likely to be, it makes sense that MFM is shying away from anti-gay rhetoric. In Minnesota, blank ballots count as "no" votes, and running overtly homophobic TV ads might cause on-the-fence voters to feel uncomfortable about casting a "yes" vote.

As Minnesota for Marriage continues to run its "low-key" TV ads, state media outlets are responsible for informing voters about the extreme anti-gay bigotry that actually motivates the organization.

NOM And The Minnesota Family Council

MFM has gone out of its way to avoid being depicted as anti-gay, dismissing claims by gay rights groups that a campaign to protect marriage is discriminatory and hate-driven. Looking at MFM's financial backers, though, it's hard to view the organization as anything more than a front group for some of the state's more radical anti-gay voices.

MFM receives a bulk of its funding from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Minnesota Family Council (MFC).

NOM - which is currently raising money for MFM's television advertisements - is one of the most powerful and notorious anti-gay groups in the country. Though it bills itself as a "pro-marriage" organization, NOM's anti-gay rhetoric goes well beyond the toned down language used in MFM's TV ads.

NOM routinely peddles the myth that gay men are more likely to molest children than heterosexual men. The group also promotes the widely discredited practice of "ex-gay" therapy to cure people of their homosexuality. At a recent NOM conference, speakers called gay relationships "inherently unstable" and asserted that lesbians have difficulty raising children because their menstrual cycles become synchronized.

This anti-gay rhetoric compelled the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Mark Potok to state earlier this year that NOM "presses hard on the hate group line."

The Minnesota Family Council also spews anti-gay falsehoods. According to a May 2011 SPLC report:

Bloggers quickly revealed the existence of a "legislative handbook" on the MFC's website claiming, among other things, that "the homosexual population includes a disproportionate number of pedophiles," that "some homosexuals have become urolagniacs (ingesting urine and feces) and engage in bestiality as well as other deviant behaviors," and that LGBT people are abnormal and disordered — all claims that have been roundly rejected by credible scholarly researchers. The handbook also advocated the removal of "sexual orientation" from the state's Human Rights Act, asserted that "[t]here is no evidence that a significant number of homosexuals are being discriminated against," and recommended that a "religious and conscientious objector" clause should be added to the law — evidently to allow Christians to ignore the legally protected human rights of LGBT people.

The MFC quickly removed that section of its handbook from its website, although it can be seen here. On Wednesday, [MFC President Tom] Prichard defended the postings in a National Public Radio interview as getting "into the nature of homosexuality and homosexual behavior." But he didn't restore the lurid material to his group's website. [emphasis added]

Prominent MFC employees have made similarly egregious anti-gay comments. MFC President Tom Prichard, for example, has argued that LGBT youth are more likely to attempt suicide because "they've embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle." MFC Director of Communications (and Minnesota for Marriage Communications Director) Chuck Darrell has called homosexual behavior "a killer." And Barb Anderson, one of MFC's researchers, believes that many gay teens are "sexually confused" as a result of sexual abuse and can be cured through "ex-gay" therapy.

Minnesota Pastors for Marriage

While MFM's main website may be clean of the anti-gay rhetoric espoused by its major backers, plenty of evidence of the group's anti-gay extremism can be found on one of its partner websites: MNPastorsForMarriage.com.

 As Good As You's Jeremy Hooper has documented, MNPastorsForMarriage is an official product of MFM. Its website lists a host of documents littered with extreme anti-gay talking points. Here are just a few examples:

Homosexual behavior and Pedophilia are two very destructive immoral forces in Western civilization. It is one thing for homosexuals to practice their deviant behavior contrary to God's design, but it was not that long ago that it seemed unimaginable that there would be a promotion of the Homosexual lifestyle within our state-directed education system. [God's Design for Marriage and Family, accessed 10/5/12, emphasis added]

God's judgment on homosexual and lesbian relationships is not because he is a killjoy, but because he is opposed to what kills joy. And our opposition to such partnerships is not because of some knee-jerk homophobia, as they say again and again, but because of a settled and reasonable conviction that God knows better than anybody what is good for us and for society. [Let Marriage Be Held in Honor Among All, 8/11/91, emphasis added]

Therefore, Satan is obsessed in destroying marriage, the coming together, fitting together of the two complimentary halves of humanity - male and female, since they are on earth, a mirror, an image, of what is to be fulfilled at the end of this age. 

And that is why we are in the battle we are in. It is not ultimately about earthly marriage, about our religious freedoms, our church's, or even about the practice of homosexuality as such. It is about the desire of Satan to decimate the picture of God's ultimate design for the Cosmos - the Grand Wedding of His Son to the Prepared Bride. [The Biblical Foundations of the Marriage Debate, accessed 10/5/12, emphasis added]

Homosexuals claim: "We were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay." They cite "gay gene" studies predominantly conducted by researchers who are homosexuals - studies that have been repudiated by credible research. Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual. They essentially practice Joseph Goebel's Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: tell a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually most mindless people will believe it. [Stand for Marriage, accessed 10/5/12, emphasis added]

Previously:

Maddow Zeroes In On Minnesota's Constitutional Amendment Vote

Why Anti-Gay Groups Are So Eager To "Let The Voters Decide" In Minnesota