The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

NOM ‘March For Marriage’ sponsor warns equality will stop gays from ‘overcoming’ homosexuality

March 28, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper, Guest Contributor

The bond between the National Organization For Marriage and the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) could not be stronger.  The head of that organization, Willie Owens, is NOM's named religious liaison, a role Mr. Owens has held on to even despite (or because of?) his penchant for equating homosexuality with things like bestiality and pedophilia.

Just a few weeks back, Brian Brown travelled down to Memphis, where CAAP gave him an honorary "degree."  The picture from that day is the banner image on CAAP's website:

NOM's religious liaison

CAAP was also a sponsor of the rally that NOM held this week in DC.  Two different leader of CAAP, the aformentioned Rev. Owens and Bishop David Hall, addressed the crowd about the supposed ills of equality.  Brian Brown introduced the men with glowing praise.

Okay, so there's your background.  Now time to move on to what this CAAP organization really teaches.

Last week, to promote their upcoming appearance at the NOM rally and to rally their base against the pro-equality arguments to be presented before the high court, CAAP posted a document called "Promises Promises."  Much of the document is filled with the same ol' fears about marriage—the same ones that NOM speakers have been hoping will gain traction with an increasingly supportive public.  But check this out.  This document, from this NOM sponsor, also includes this aggressive push for the idea that gay people are abused into being, confused and perverted, and both able and demanded to "overcome" their "lifestyles":

CAAPUS document

This is in there because this is what they believe.  No, of course they didn't say it in DC, just like NOM's Comm Director didn't admit that he supports a "12 step program for people with same-sex attraction" and NOM's affiliate leader didn't admit she wants gays to be celibate.  But just because they didn't say it there, when they knew the mainstream media cameras would be on, doesn't mean they don't believe it.  To me, it's the stuff they say when the spotlight isn't so bright that gives you more insight into their actual goals.  Whereas these big, media-heavy events are like progamatic pep rallies, the quieter moments are like diary entries where the true heart is more candidly revealed.  More often then not, this candor translates to some version of a "gay cure."

As this conversation continues, we must pay focus to the deeper agendas that always seem to pop up.  With so much history in the making, a lot of people are wondering "what's next?" for both the pro-equality and anti-equality movements.  We know the answer for us: we will move on and take care of the outstanding issues that continue to keep LGBT people down, from inclusive nondiscrimination policy to stopping international abuses and everytihng in between.  There is so much positive work that needs to be done even after we win on marriage.

But what becomes of an anti-equality movement if it is robbed of its ability to stop the marraige equality momentum?  Well, I suggest we look at what this movement is telling us.  When they can no longer stop our marriages, will it be our orientations ourselves that come into focus?  As someone who both studies and judges the opposition movement on its own words and actions, it's hard for me to say no.