The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

The real threat: That NOM might trip over its own layers of spin

May 10, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

In its post-vote press release that actually overstates the lay of the land (only the Minnesota House has passed a marriage bill; the Senate still awaits), NOM is decrying the Minnesota legislature for moving forward with equality.  NOM writes:

Washington, D.C. — Only six months after gay marriage activists promised Minnesotans that there was no threat to marriage in Minnesota, today's passage of a bill to redefine marriage reveals that proponents of last November's failed Marriage Protection Amendment were telling the truth all along.

"Minnesota voters should be outraged that they were sold a bill of goods by gay marriage activists last November," Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, commented. "Our opponents filled the airwaves and spent millions claiming marriage was under no threat in Minnesota. And yet they lost no time in pushing for the redefinition of marriage as soon as our marriage protection amendment failed, despite new polling that shows a majority of Minnesotans oppose redefining marriage. We have long argued there is a very grave threat to marriage and today we witnessed our predictions sadly confirmed."


I trust that you see the problem, but if not: NOM has carved out such a fantasy world for its organization and its supporters that they are presenting, as truth, the idea that marriage equality is a "threat."  That's the fundamental issue here that informs all of the rest. They are working from such an agreed-upon and aggressive lie, that this press release puts them like three or four layers down into a world of illusion.  A world of spin.  A world where down is up, progress is poison, and Pam and Sue's loving marriage is some sort of parasite that's going to rot the larger institution.

Yes, those of us who support civil equality have said, are saying, and will continue to say that our marriages do not pose a threat.  And why?  Well, because we actually aren't parasites—we are human beings.  We are taxpayers.  We are members of the community with as much capability of contribution as our heterosexual peers.  If we were encouraging legislation that mandated divorces, limited the choice to have children, or truly denied heterosexual couples in any real and tangible way, then our lives, loves, marriages, and related advocacy could be seen as a threat to marriage.  But since that fantasy is not reality, those of us who comment on civil marriage equality and what it means (and what it has meant for nearly a decade in Massachussetts) must focus on the facts at hand.  

But that's the problem with NOM: this organization is increasingly fact averse.  Going back to this press release, they start the whole thing off with a lie (e.g. same-sex marriages are a "threat").  Then they move on to the next  fallacious claim (e.g. our opposition movement was actually the one lying when they denied they were a threat).  They then fan the hosilities that we know they are fond of fanning (e.g. those of you who support us should be outraged at the opposition for "lying").  They round it all out by acting as if this whole bag of tricks speaks to their own veracity (e.g.  "We have long argued there is a very grave threat to marriage and today we witnessed our predictions sadly confirmed.").  The end result is a "protect marriage" effort that's not only discriminatory—it's also startlingly anti-intellectual.

Does NOM believe the fiction that it's working so hard to write, or are the NOMmers just hoping others buy into it?  You know, that used to be a compelling for a NOM geek like me, but I gotta say, it's really starting to lose its allure.  At this point, I'm much more interested in seeing to it that everyone else understands how mired in fakery this whole NOM charade truly is.