On Thursday, June 19, the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM) will host a march on the U.S. Supreme Court and a rally that will feature remarks from a cast of characters, many of whom have made a career spewing hate and vitriol about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across America and around the world. A featured speaker at the rally will be Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, head of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and architect of the now-defunct Proposition 8. Cordileone, in his official capacity as overseer of one of the largest ecclesiastical provinces of the Roman Catholic Church, will be sharing NOM’s stage with speakers who have compared homosexuality with bestiality, same-sex marriages with “Frankenstein creatures,” and LGBT advocates with Nazis. His association with these individuals is completely at odds with the tone set by Pope Francis, who has been publicly steering the Roman Catholic Church in a new direction, preaching a message of love and acceptance toward gay people.
In a September 2013 interview, Pope Francis was quoted as saying; "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”
“I doubt His Holiness would give his blessing to some of these speakers’ revolting characterizations of LGBT people,” said Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at HRC. “At a time when the Pope is asking, ‘Who am I to judge?’ Archbishop Cordileone and his cohorts continue relentlessly searching for bigger stages and louder megaphones from which to spew their judgments.”
Take a look at a few of the greatest hits from the anticipated speakers at NOM’s rally:
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. – Founder & President, High Impact Leadership Coalition
- "Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your kids. What we're facing is a radical force of people who want to change the way America looks the next twenty years, and we need to stop this thing now.” – August 2012 at Glenn Beck’s Under God Indivisible Conference
- “It’s obviously disingenuous when they say marriage equality for everyone and I was just pointing out the fact that it really isn’t marriage for everyone, it’s a special kind of marriage for radical gay activists. They want to impose their will on the culture and if you cannot reproduce you may try to recruit, and what I mean by that is what is going on is an attempt to reshape, refashion the mind, hearts and desires of the next generation. Many Christians are sitting back and we aren’t speaking out, but the reality is just like during the times of Hitler we have people coming after one group after another group after another group, and folks are saying, well this doesn’t affect me I’ll let this slide, we have a problem that really we have a whole generation of people who want to affect not only their lives and choices but the choices of another generation.” – May 2012 on the American Family Association’s radio program Nothing But Truth
- “What we’re dealing with is a satanic plot to destroy our seed. I think where we are now is that there is an issue of justice that is being perverted and we have a minority group in a sense that has decided that they are going to impose their will on the culture – by force – and redefine God’s law and not care whether a whole generation of people are so confused that they don’t even remember the role of a mother and a father.” – April 2011 radio interview with Bradlee Dean
Dr. Jim Garlow – Senior Pastor, Skyline Wesleyan Church
- "Our President gave a speech a few days ago in which he said, ‘the tragedy of 9/11 was that it robbed so many children of having a mommy or a daddy.' Well, you know something Mr. President, your failure to defend marriage and to redefine marriage means that everybody who is under that redefined marriage will lack either a mommy or a daddy and that is morally wrong.” – June 2011 at the Faith and Freedom Conference
- "Isn't it interesting that the African Americans that were brought here against their will, coercively, in bondage and chains in a horrific experience called slavery...they end up being, in state by state, in many cases, what has saved us from the bondage and enslavement that would come upon us if gay marriage actually passed in a state, California being a prime example where the African Americans saved us from the bondage we would've faced."– March 2011 interview on Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson
- "[If] we lose, we go to jail. How soon I don't know. But the fact is this is the kind of case where political correctness is bearing down. If a pastor refuses to perform a homosexual wedding, if we lose on this, he will be or she will be so incredibly vulnerable at that time."– July 2008 interview with One News Now
Ryan Anderson – Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
- "From the premise that homosexual characteristics are 'determined,' many make the unwarranted leap of asserting the moral legitimacy of homosexual acts. Alcoholism, for example, is often claimed to be genetic, yet its being genetic does not mean it is good… We neither excuse the crimes of a pedophiliac priest for genes that attracted him to children, nor do we dismiss the generosity of someone like Mother Teresa as the consequence of her biological makeup. We have good and bad desires, and likewise we have orientations that may incline us toward good or bad. These desires and orientations, however, are not morally important; only our actions and intentions are. Regardless of our 'natural' yearnings, we are called to the good."..."All people, regardless of their genetic makeup, orientation, or "natural" urges, are called to be saints. No one is excused from living out his or her calling in the realm of sexuality — not the womanizer, the "easy" girl, the engaged couple that just can't wait, the porn enthusiast or the sexually active gay couple."– 2003 column in the Daily Princetonian
Gary Bauer – Author and politician
- “It seems to me that if you are talking about oppression, I can't think of a greater oppression than to try to force somebody to continue to live as apparently you and some others here are living. Again, if that is your choice, you will bear the consequences of it, but how you can be against somebody else trying to get out of that way of life if they choose to do so and find happiness some other way is bizarre to me. I will encourage anybody I can to get out of what I think is a destructive lifestyle. I don't believe a healthy society can endorse, subsidize, or encourage it. I am sorry if this disappoints you, but again, on this, I am immovable.” – April 1998 discussion at Harvard University
Rev. Bill Owens, Sr. – Founder & President, Coalition of African-American Pastors
- “Well if it’s a civil right for a man to marry man, and a woman to marry woman, what’s the difference of a man deciding he wants to have sex with a dog?” “When people that you don’t know they’re homosexuals, and they get caught into something, they will tell you it was early childhood that they were molested. Sometimes by a family member, sometimes by their father, or sometimes by a friend. It starts in early childhood. Homosexuality spreads because somebody abused children."– May 2012 press conference for Coalition of African-American Pastors
The planned events are billed as “a clarion call to the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress, as well as the mainstream media, that America stands for marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” even though poll after poll from the last few years shows a strong majority of Americans support marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Last month the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted unanimously to impose record civil penalties against the NOM totaling $50,250 and directed the organization to file disclosure reports with the Commission after a four-year investigation exposed “a significant violation of law” by the national anti-LGBT organization. The penalties are reportedly the largest ever imposed for a campaign finance violation in Maine history. The bipartisan five member commission approved a staff report that concluded that NOM intentionally violated Maine law by failing to register or report its activities despite playing a central role in co-managing and funding a $3 million marriage referendum campaign in 2009.
In October 2013 it was revealed that NOM president Brian Brown had traveled to Moscow in support of a bill – now law – that bans the adoption of Russian children by gay couples, unmarried couples and single people in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. People For the American Way reported and shared a video from an interview Brown gave to a local television station, where he told the reporters that prohibiting adoptions by gay and lesbian couples was a way of halting a slippery slope of “very negative developments all over the world.” In a speech before the Russian Duma’s committee on family, women and children, he stated, “Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother.”
Earlier this month a new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News indicated that 50 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. Additionally, 56 percent of Americans and 77 percent of those under the age of thirty support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Other recent polls show rising support for marriage equality among various demographic groups. A March 2014 poll shows 61 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners under the age of thirty support marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. One month earlier, the New York Times and CBS News released polling that puts marriage equality support among Catholics at 62 percent. More recent polling info is available online here.
There are at least 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 31 states and Puerto Rico. So far five federal appeals courts are presiding over 11 marriage equality cases over the coming weeks and months. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic marriage rulings last year, no state marriage ban has survived a federal court challenge.