Days and Slights: This Past Week in NOM (Nov. 23- Dec. 3)
December 04, 2011, by Jeremy Hooper
Dear NOM Watcher,
LifeSite News is an incredibly incendiary website. Its founder and editor-in-chief, John-Henry Westen, is a vocal proponent of “changing” gay people, saying “Christians care enough about those men and women who are in these destructive lifestyles to tell them that it’s hurtful — and it is hurtful.” Westen has also declared that “The only way to truly win [the same-sex marriage] debate is to raise the long-ignored subject of homosexuality itself: to teach the truth that homosexual acts are perilous to the body, and especially to the soul,” adding that “to fail to do this would be to fail to address the heart of the matter.” Oh, and just recently he likened homosexuality to playing near a cliff, saying gay people live in realities that are “harmful to their bodies, to their emotions and also to their souls.”
At this past summer’s annual meeting of LifeSite staff, the keynote speaker told the workers that their battle is against “the unseen adversary, Satan, in his primary assault on mankind.” This same speaker described LifeSite’s opposition as “human beings who are [Satan's] agents, both knowingly and unknowingly (and I would think that probably almost all of them unknowingly cooperate with evil on this scale).” Reminder: We’re the opposition.
For more on LifeSite and its editorial penchant for courting true extremists like Scott Lively and citing junk science from the likes of Paul Cameron, see Box Turtle Bulletin’s years of coverage on the subject. Otherwise, we could be here all day.
So okay, why do I lead off this week’s National Organization for Marriage wrap-up with this little chunk of insight into one Canadian, conservative media outlet? Well, simple: Because NOM staffers, as of late, has taken to pushing LifeSite “news” whenever they get the chance. On just the NOM blog alone, the organization has advanced LifeSite content a whopping one hundred thirty-two times in the past year, twenty-seven times in the past two months alone. If they linked there once, twice, or even ten times, then that’d be one thing. But one hundred thirty-two links in three hundred sixty-five days, just on their blog alone (plus many more links on NOM’s social media properties)? That’s a choice, not an accident. A choice that raises pertinent questions.
For a group that itself claims to stand only against marriage and not the LGBT individual, this, the matter of what they so obviously see as a trusted “news” source, would seem to be of relevant interest. After all, this is what they are telling supporters to read as a way to support the NOM view. Presumably, these “here, go read this” activities are not designed to booster this nation’s literary rate, but rather this nation’s prevailing view on gays and their marriages. So why? Why would an organization so frequently send their readers to an outlet with a “homosexuality is a destructive lifestyle” point of view if they didn’t share such an outlook? Why would NOM staffers turn to this kind of source so often unless they themselves are relying on it for their data? Oh, and why should any of us believe that NOM and its personalities want to stop just at marriage, when they are courting/emboldening a media outlet that admittedly seeks soooooo much more than that?
If there is any one thing that has defined NOM in 2011, its been a noticeable drift towards far-right extremism. This newfound fondness for LifeSite News is but one relatively small example of that. Small, but telling.
My hope, as we head into 2012, is that we will be even better about putting the magnifying glass to NOM’s behavior. With forthcoming ballot fights in states like North Carolina and Minnesota and legislative battles in states like New Hampshire, it’s up to us to cut through the “it’s just about marriage” tone that NOM will surely put in campaign ads and press quotes. But there are not two different NOMs which get to shift with convenience. Every day, this one, united organization is acting out in ways that force any focused watcher to question their true motivations. We mustn’t be afraid to raise our voices.
Occupy NOMTube: She is the 0%
Did you learn from and ultimately utilize Maggie Gallagher’s Thanksgiving “advice” in your own gluttonous celebrations? No? Well then you’d seem to be in good company, as the Internet seems to have unanimously rejected Maggie’s T-day video.
I was astounded on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when I learned Maggie’s video had a zero percent rating on Youtube. Sure, I thought it was funny and pretty darn awesome, considering how fully I reject her work against my marriage. But I was also astounded as just an Internet viewer, since I don’t think I’ve ever seen a zero percent video before. It’s not like the Internet is this exclusive club of equality activists. Trust me — I get plenty of daily emails reminding me of how much opposition is out there! But for whatever reason, only ten users clicked the “like” button during Thanksgiving weekend (vs. 1,091 dislikes). That would seem to be a message.
What’s even more astounding is that now, even after NOM and various staffers tried to stem the tide of negative ratings by social media-ing the video to their own followers, only three additional users have come to Maggie’s support. The rating now (as of 8AM, 12/3) stands at 2,154 dislikes and only 13 likes, still giving it a zero percent rating (Youtube doesn’t do decimals). Sure, many users simply didn’t click anything at all. But still: NOM actively tried to change the tide and got nothing. It’s just more indication of how tiny their support system truly is, even with people and groups on their payroll whose primary job is to make them powerful in this area.
NOM resorted to another tried and untrue tactic this week, taking one isolated incident of harassment and exploiting it as if it were representative of the larger LGBT equality movement. This latest case involved Paul Blair, a man well known for his affiliations with very far-right figures like Janet Porter and Sally Kern. After Blair spoke at a recent city council meeting in Oklahoma City against the decision to add sexual orientation to the local nondiscrimination ordinance, he reported a harassing phone call that made threats against his physical well-being. Now, obviously I and every single person working in this movement decry such incidents in a strong, unqualified way. Any reasoned person rejects such incidents. Fortunately, actual incidents like these are very few and very far between, on both sides.
Only problem? Our opposition loves to take any such incident and turn into “evidence” of pro-LGBT militancy. On its Facebook page, NOM did exactly that:
Look at the copy of the link. “Gay groups are becoming more violent.” Not one person: Gay groups. Period.
This is all part of NOM’s increasingly aggressive, multi-front strategy to cast aspersions on the character of the equality movement. It’s an all-out attempt to change the American psyche, which is, from a purely humanistic way, far more offensive than even NOM’s efforts against our civil rights. More dangerous, too.
NH’s unprovoked attack gets extra hand
While he seeks the GOP nomination for Governor of New Hampshire, Kevin Smith, former Executive Director of Cornerstone Policy Research (NH’s anti-gay lobby), has announced plans to lobby on behalf of NOM. The stated goal: Taking away the state’s marriage equality.
Some things to know about Kevin: (1) During his tenure at CPR, the organization began pushing “ex-gay” therapy as its one and only “resource” on homosexuality; (2) Kevin has gone on record to say that he not only wants to take away the state’s in-place marriage rights, but also the civil unions that existed prior to the marriage equality law. In a fair world, this attempt to roll back a certain population’s fairly earned civil rights would be seen as cruel, at best. But in NOM world? It’s apparently both “moral” and gubernatorial. Odd.
The real question: Will New Hampshire residents, with so many real issues on the table, get behind a candidate who thinks the path to Concord’s top office is laid by lobbying for a special interest group on this incredibly misfocused, highly misdirected cause?
Snatching victory from the jaws of ‘big deal!’
Last month, it was a procedural Prop 8 development that the NOM crowd was spinning into a great “victory.” This week it’s a New York judge’s decision that moved them to over-celebration mode.
To read NOM’s site this week was to think they had just stripped the Empire State’s same-sex couples of their fairly earned right. In reality, nothing has changed. Judge Robert Wiggins determined that yes, a case challenging the state’s marriage equality law could go forward. But it wasn’t on merit. It didn’t alter anything. All it means is that the anti-equality side will get a day in court. Fine. Whatever.
In fact, I am personally thrilled that this case, headed by the ultra-over-the-top Liberty Counsel gets to go forward. You might remember that Liberty Counsel actually argued, after the Prop 8 proponents’ loss in Judge Vaughn Walker’s court, that their side lost because they weren’t anti-gay pro-”ex-gay” enough. Which is actually a consistent position for LC, since it is truly one of the most reliable “did you really just say?!” quote providers in all of “Culture War”Ville. That this organization is leading the charge to roll back NY equality says so much about the motivations behind marital bias. That NOM is backing the push says so much about NOM!
I look forward to this case going forward because it will bring new attention to Liberty Counsel and to their co-conspirers at the New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation (NOM’s big NY ally). Both groups haven proven a willingness to drift off the merits of marriage and onto generalize animus towards LGBT people. For our world at large, that is an obvious negative. But when it comes to our efforts to get beyond the bad so we can eventually live out our lives of good in a world of peace? I’m of the mind that more light equals more opportunity. This forthcoming trial will give us yet another chance to shine that light!
Until next week, my gay apparel donners,
Good As You/NOM Exposed