May 20, 2011 5:41 pm ET - by Carlos Maza
For years, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has attempted to portray itself as an organization that opposes same-sex marriage without being anti-gay. As NOM’s chairwoman Maggie Gallagher has repeatedly emphasized, the organization has a problem with same-sex marriage, not homosexuality:
I’m very proud of the message that NOM has carried consistently and with great love and courage: which is that marriage matters because children need a mom and dad; Our battle is not with an orientation but a political movement that seeks to use the law to embed a new moral idea: there is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex couples and you’re a hater, bigot and quasi-racist if you disagree. [emphasis added]
In theory, then, NOM should have no problem with school programs that celebrate important gay and lesbian historical figures or school curricula that include positive representations of the LGBT community, right?
On Thursday, NOM pushed a poll - released by the extreme anti-gay group Save California - indicating that a majority of respondents were opposed to having California public schools celebrate Harvey Milk’s birthday. Save California has accused Milk of being a sexual predator and condemns Harvey Milk Day as a form of “sexual indoctrination.” Randy Thomasson, the group’s president, has accused Democrats and teachers unions of attempting to recruit children into homosexuality. The poll never mentioned the issue of same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month, the organization highlighted a poll by the anti-gay WorldNetDaily (WND) which claimed to find that a majority of Americans oppose “teaching gay subjects in elementary schools,” as a proposed bill in California would do. Again, the poll had nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
NOM’s opposition to exposing school children to “gay subjects” was also on display in a blog entry last week. NOM posted video of a pro-gay student protest in Tennessee entitled “Should Public Schools Teach About Gay Marriage?”
Unsurprisingly, the word “marriage” isn’t uttered once in the video. The protest was in regards to Tennessee’s proposed “don’t say gay” bill, which would prohibit teachers from discussing any form of sexuality other than heterosexuality in public schools and would seriously undermine efforts to combat student homophobia.
NOM’s(non-marriage-related) animosity towards LGBT-friendly school curricula, however, wasn’t on full display until later that week after a blogger at Queerty.com wrote a post arguing that discussing LGBT issues with students was essential to reduce anti-gay bullying and intolerance:
We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it.
Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?
Gay marriage is the centerpiece of an ambitious movement to use the power of government, including the public schools, to impose a new public morality in the minds of Americans (including of schoolchildren) in which traditional views of marriage are treated as hateful, discredited bigotry, whether parents like it or not.
So what’s the deal with NOM’s opposition to bringing up LGBT issues in public schools?
One possibility is that NOM isn’t really concerned with protection “traditional” marriage so much as it is with marginalizing, smearing, and restricting the rights of the LGBT community. There is a good amount of evidence pointing to this conclusion.
Another possibility, however, is that NOM realizes that the more kids learn about LGBT community and the more they see that gays and lesbians are human beings are worthy of being treated with respect and dignity, the harder it will be for them to oppose marriage equality. The more kids and teenagers come to view gays and lesbians as being they’re equals, the harder it will be for groups like NOM to convince them to deny equal treatment. In that sense, NOM’s mission to protect “traditional” marriage is inextricably linked with the mission of making sure that people continue to see gays and lesbians as inferior, as less-than.
NOM deserves to be treated like any other anti-gay group. Its effort to keep “gay issues” out of the classroom puts LGBT youth in danger of violence and harassment and reveals the organization’s true anti-gay ideology.
Copyright © 2010 Equality Matters. All rights reserved.