The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

NOM’s Ruth Institute: Marriage equality will ‘treat mothers like slaves, children like chattel’

July 26, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

Jennifer Thieme is an increasingly prominent spokesperson for NOM's Ruth Institute.  That being the case, let's all listen in as this top staffer compares same-sex parents to slave owners:

Nobody can know with complete certainty how history will view our debate over the definition of marriage. Advocates of redefining marriage fancy themselves to be the heirs of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. But I think there is reason to doubt this comparison. As a matter of fact, I think the defenders of the natural family have a far stronger claim on the legacy and mantle of Lincoln. I believe that, in spite of the intentions of its advocates, the policy of gender-neutral marriage policy (commonly known as gay marriage) will come to treat mothers like slaves and children like chattel. Favoring gender-neutral marriage policy over natural marriage policy will empower and expand the state at the expense of civil society, the family, and ultimately, the individual. Let me explain these seemingly astounding claims.

Slavery was more than forced physical labor. It also meant that the government did not have to defend the biological bonds between slave parents and their children. Do you remember the TV series Roots? Remember this scene when Bell told Kunta Kinte the story of her first husband Ben, their two daughters, and what the slave owner did with the two daughters after he hanged Ben?

Why was the slave owner allowed to take Bell's daughters away from her? It's because we had a "get the government out of marriage" situation when it came to slave marriages and families. The government was not forced to recognize slave marriages or the natural reality of slave families. This shifted power away from the slaves, toward the government and the slave owners. In this respect, gay marriage policy, no fault divorce, and calls to "get the government out of marriage" yield the same result: the government is no longer forced to recognize or respect the natural family as a unit. Only the very wealthy can shield themselves from the negative consequences of this situation.


One objection to the slavery parallel is to say that in the modern day examples, the non-parents care for the children and want to be parents. But some masters cared about their slaves, and some slaves felt loyal to their masters. That did not justify allowing the government to disregard their marriages and their biological bonds to one another.

I have no doubt that many, many people in gay parenting situations are loving people. But this does not justify violating a child's "unalienable rights" and self-evident truths to his or her own mother and father. All children are "created equal," with the emphasis on "created"--created by way of a mom and a dad, whom they have self-evident and unalienable rights to be with, barring extraordinary circumstances.

FULL PIECE: Log Cabin Republicans: Would Abraham Lincoln Have Supported Gay Marriage? [Christian Post]

I can't even fathom the thinking that leads a writer like Thieme to go down this road.  If the idea to use slavery as a commentary conceit were to scratch my brain for even a split second, I'd immediately SHUT. IT. DOWN.  There are certain allusions that are way too out-of-line to apply to a modern policy debate—even more so when that policy debate deals with the civil rights of a minority population and you, the writer, are working for the team that strives to take those rights away!  

Look, I understand why the folks who work at NOM or its affiliate organizations (the Ruth Institute is a project of NOM's c3 "Education Fund") see a need to flip the script and frame their cause as the one that's on the right side of history.  That is an uphill burden, and we all know it. Unfortunately for them, Jennifer Thieme, in a clumsy attempt to score points by equating The Kids Are All Right with Roots, just set her team back a few steps.