The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Washington Post Profiles Marriage Equality Banning Crusader

August 28, 2009

There’s a lot to unravel in today’s Washington Post profile (“Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile”) of National Organization for Marriage head Brian Brown.  Overall the piece is a terribly one-sided, myopic view of a man and an organization who have made it their life’s work to deny loving, committed couples the same rights and responsibilities that they enjoy themselves.  Not exactly what I would call “sanity” even if it’s with a grin on his face. The writer Monica Hesse seems to be caught up in Brown’s pearly whites too much to realize that what comes out of his mouth is a torrent of lies and distortions.  She says their “Gathering Storm” ad was a “misstep” for its “melodramatic dialogue and fake lightning.”  How about the fact that nothing about it was true?  You’ll remember we debunked that one pretty easily. How about the whole theme of the kinder, gentler marriage crusader who doesn’t have anything against gay people per se?  Jeremy at Good as You reminds us in a post this morning that Brown’s words are in fact belittling and accusatory.  Hesse makes the editorial assertion that “his more informed opponents know that scoffing is a response born of fear.”  Talk about belittling.  Especially when you’re characterizing a response to an entire ad based on exploiting people’s fears (remember “the clouds are dark and the winds are strong… and I am afraid”?).  And where does Hesse include an alternative viewpoint on NOM?  Nearly a third into the piece and then NO WHERE ELSE. And of course the piece allows Brown to claim that he and his cohorts are the victims in this debate — that those of us who want all families protected under the law have out gunned and out maneuvered him.  He says “the Human Rights Campaign is massive” not acknowledging that LGBT organizations are and have been outspent by the anti-gay industry for decades.  He says those who want to ban marriage for same-sex couples “have not had such an organized force?”  How about the 2004 and 2006 elections when conservative voters where whipped into fear and sent into voting booths to make sure same-sex couples were denied the rights to visit their partners in the hospital or inherit property if ones of them should die? Aside from the irresponsible journalism, at least this piece is a reminder that organizations like NOM are out there and are committed to ensuring that same-sex couples remain second-class.  Their fingerprints were all over the passage of Prop 8 in California; they’ve begun running ads in state legislative races in Iowa; and they’re the driving force behind a repeal of Maine’s equal marriage law.  They’re ramping up and so must we.