September 01, 2011 10:20 am ET - by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) works tirelessly to ensure that it isn’t labeled an anti-LGBT hate group. Always looking to shield itself from accusations of bigotry, NOM has made a habit of insisting that it’s focused solely on preserving the ‘traditional’ definition of marriage and not on demonizing or smearing the LGBT community.
NOM’s president Brian Brown has stated that his organization operates with “the love of God and our neighbor in our hearts.” NOM chairwoman Maggie Gallagher has claimed that her organization’s “battle is not with an orientation” but with those seeking to ‘redefine’ marriage.
Unfortunately for NOM, actions speak louder than words. In the month of August, NOM and its educational project the Ruth Institute promoted a wide variety of anti-LGBT propaganda and misinformation, most of it totally unrelated to the issue of same-sex marriage.
NOM began the month by continuing its long war against safe schools for LGBT youth, lamenting a Toronto school board’s decision to adopt an “Inclusive Education Policy” which stated that “all people are deserving of dignity and are created equal.” NOM also targeted UNC Wilmington for providing students with a list of gay-friendly churches. According to the article NOM promoted, the university was making a mistake by promoting a lifestyle that will “hurt you badly” and “end your life prematurely.”
The Ruth Institute condemned the “It Gets Better” Project, which is aimed at reducing LGBT suicides, for promoting “deviant sex” and encouraging teens to participate in a drug-filled, disease-ridden, and violent lifestyle. Concerning Elmhurst College’s decision to ask students about their sexual orientation, the Ruth Institute wondered why being LGBT would be a “’desirable’ trait” and suggested that students would lie about their sexual orientation to receive scholarships. Finally, the Ruth Institute called the American Civil Liberties Union “just evil” for trying to provide high school students with access to pro-LGBT websites, asserting that the move was an excuse to expose children to gay pornography.
Promoting the ridiculous claim that marriage equality paves the way for polygamy was also at the top of NOM’s August agenda. Both NOM and the Ruth Institute promoted an article which claimed that “with same-sex marriage in the bag, polygamy is looking like the next big thing in the United States.” In a separate post, NOM blamed the ‘slippery slope’ on the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case which resulted in the decriminalization of homosexuality.
NOM was also working to promote the myth that homosexuality can be cured or changed through treatment. One blog entry decried the investigation of a UK therapist who was found to be performing “ex-gay” therapy. NOM’s post included a video in which both the therapist and her attorney claimed that the treatment has a “high success rate… That is actually the evidence.” A separate blog post slammed the American Psychological Association (APA) for its alleged liberal bias, including the group’s denial of “the reality of data demonstrating that psychotherapy can be effective in changing sexual preferences in patients who have a desire to do so.” Not to be outdone, the Ruth Institute also promoted an article that asserted same-sex marriage could cause children to choose to be gay.
If its anti-LGBT animus wasn’t obvious enough, NOM began attempting to link homosexuality to pedophilia this month. It started off subtly at first. An August 17 blog post about a conference on pedophilia simply asked “Can You Normalize Pedophilia?” but made sure to include a disclaimer: “yes, we know many – probably most – in the gay community would be as outraged as anyone else by the idea.” That disclaimer was apparently null and void the very next day when NOM’s Brown asserted that the redefinition of marriage would result in the normalization of pedophilia. A few days later, NOM made the “slippery slope” argument again, even creating a “pedophilia” category for its blog (hopefully not a sign of things to come). The Ruth Institute wasn’t far behind, promoting an article that compared the push to declassify pedophilia as a mental illness to the push to endorse marriage equality.
For reasons I can’t fully understand, NOM also thought August was the time to enter into the fight over the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT). NOM at least made an effort to make its post seem marriage-related, asserting that military chaplains might be forced to abandon their “biblical views” on marriage or resign from their positions after DADT is repealed. The Ruth Institute, on the other hand, wasn’t so subtle, arguing that repealing DADT in the UK has “done damage to morale and discipline.”
A significant chunk of NOM’s August work was devoted to promoting smears about the LGBT community and fear mongering about ‘homosexual activists.’ One blog post chastised Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for backing away from her comments that the “gay and lesbian lifestyle” is “personal despair and personal enslavement,” suggesting that she should have gone as far as advocating for the re-criminalization of homosexuality. Ruth Institute president Jennifer Roback Morse used a blog post to express her “humble opinion”: “anal sex is icky.” In case there was any doubt that she was attempting to condemn homosexuality, Morse later clarified that her comment had nothing to do with marriage. The Ruth Institute later promoted a video in which conservative author George Gilder called homosexuality a “learned” and “addictive form of behavior” that young boys could be taught to embrace. NOM’s Brown accused gays of issuing a “fatwa” against an anti-gay Florida school teacher, declaring that “the jihad continues.” And in what appeared to be a submission for the most ironic blog post of the month, NOM whined that LGBT activists are the “real gay bigots and bullies” while simultaneously calling homosexuality a “fatal” and destructive behavioral choice.
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