November 07, 2011 10:45 am ET - by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) became the target of national criticism in October after it swiped photos from President Obama’s 2008 campaign rallies for use on its New Hampshire website in order to suggest that throngs came out to hear NOM’s message. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and the Human Rights Campaign both condemned NOM for its questionably ethical practices, eventually forcing the group to issue a response.
But NOM’s photo debacle was just a fraction of the organization’s anti-LGBT dishonesty in October. Despite its focus on marriage battles in New Hampshire and North Carolina, NOM found plenty of time to promote misinformation and smears about the LGBT community.
In September NOM President Brian Brown proudly touted a study which purported to demonstrate that some people can change their sexual orientation, calling it “good news from the scientific community.” In October, NOM continued promoting the study, directly publishing a press release from the study’s authors and defending the “rights of religiously-motivated to change orientation.”
By attacking efforts to stop anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, NOM continues to demonstrate that its anti-LGBT agenda isn’t limited to the marriage issue. The organization practically begged its supporters to sign a petition to repeal California’s FAIR Education Act, a law that requires public schools to teach students about the historical contributions of LGBT people. Once that effort failed, NOM attacked the law for being difficult and confusing to implement.
NOM promoted an article condemning efforts to combat “heterosexism” in Canadian schools. The article depicted anti-bullying programs as nothing more than an excuse to promote “the homosexual agenda”:
As the homosexual agenda continues to infiltrate the Catholic educational system in Ontario under the guise of anti-bullying programs, a newer and potentially more sinister homosexual program has already come knocking at the schools’ doors this fall.
The group was outraged to find out that a Connecticut school allowed an anti-bullying play which included a gay kiss to be performed on school grounds without informing parents of the kiss in advance. Brown referred to the play as evidence of a “new moral norm” being promoted by LGBT equality activists.
NOM’s disdain for gays and lesbians is more than obvious, but October saw an increase in the organization’s anti-transgender rhetoric. It began on October 4, when NOM lamented a Canadian magazine’s decision to apologize for publishing an offensive and transphobic advertisement. NOM defended the ad – which fear-mongered about LGBT-inclusive curriculum – as being “pro-family.”
A few hours later, NOM posted an article about a same-sex couple learning to raise a transgender child, linking to a column that condemned the parents for engaging in “human experimentation.”
NOM’s classiest moment, however, came when it mocked a transgender seven-year-old in Colorado for joining the Girl Scouts. Ari, a contributor to NOM’s Ruth Institute blog, joked about the girl’s story, writing “I guess you’re going to have to start calling them ... the ‘Mostly Girl Scouts.’” In a follow-up blog, Ari continued his assault on transgender individuals:
[L]ife is full of unfair things and that his sex is just one of those unfair things.
The art of being happy depends on people learning how best to deal with those inconvenient facts. Pretending they don’t exist or hiring a surgeon to mutilate one’s genitals is not likely to be the best solution.
Of course, no month of anti-gay misinformation would be complete without a few of NOM’s baseless horror stories about marriage equality. In October, NOM asserted that same-sex marriage would lead to “pro-gay history curriculum” and the beginning of “time-limit marriage.” The group also promoted an article that attempted to link marriage equality to polygamy, an argument that NOM later repeated while promoting a Fox News segment about polygamists in Utah.
Unlike in August and September, NOM avoided explicitly trying to link homosexuality to pedophilia last month. Instead, it chose to continue hyping stories about David Norris, the gay former Irish presidential candidate who was embroiled in pedophilia scandal earlier this year. Instead of focusing on Norris’ pro-equality campaign positions or support for gay rights, NOM used his story as an excuse to reinforce the myth that gays and lesbians are more likely to be pedophiles than are heterosexuals.
As always, much of NOM’s misinformation was targeted at smearing LGBT people directly. NOM promoted an article which described homosexuality as a “destructive” influence on society. Another NOM-touted column asserted that homosexuality causes “physical and mental harms” and callously warned that it doesn’t “get better” for LGBT people.
NOM was thrilled to promote an article about a gay man who claimed “the only reason gay people want to get married is because they can’t. Let them, and the divorce rate would be higher than (that of) heteros.” After all, it’s not homophobic if a gay person says it, right?
The organization has also come to the defense of Viki Knox, the New Jersey high school teacher who came under criticism after writing that homosexuality is a “perverted spirit” that “breeds like cancer” on her Facebook page. After posting several blog entries about the incident, NOM asked its supporters to sign a petition in defense of Knox, claiming that gay marriage advocates were attempting to “silence” her.
And then there’s Jennifer Roback Morse – the head of NOM’s Ruth Institute – who went on Lutheran Public Radio’s Issues, Etc. To warn that the “gay lobby” wants to create an “alternative moral universe” and “is never gonna be satisfied.”
To see last month’s round-up, click here.
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