NYT Op-Ed Calls Out Anti-LGBT Fearmongering

by HRC Staff

In the final days of this election, our opponents have again resorted to some of the most deceptive tactics possible to advance their extremist agenda.

NOM exposed; National Organization for MarriagePost submitted by Dan Rafter, former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Anti-LGBT groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) are once again resorting to underhanded tactics as part of a last-ditch effort to draw support for their extremist agenda in the face of rising support for equality. Not only has NOM poured well over $5 million into fighting equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, but they’re also aggressively disseminating some outright lies about marriage equality designed to intentionally deceive voters – including the tired falsehood that allowing loving and committed couples to marry somehow impacts what kids learn in the classroom.

Here are the headlines of just a few of the many e-mails NOM has blasted out in the past few days: “Maine Elementary Students Subjected to Graphic Homosexual Sex Instruction,” First Business Owners...Next, Parents...,” and “Same-Sex Marriage Law Targets Christian Business!”

The New York Time’s Frank Bruni calls out these deceptive tactics for what they are: fearmongering in advance of a critical election for the LGBT community.

Bruni writes that the growing support for marriage equality nationwide is likely a factor in why groups like NOM are again resorting to spreading such vitriol:

This fearmongering worked four years ago in California, where voters rejected same-sex marriage after the repeated broadcast of a commercial in which an adorable little girl exultantly informs her aghast mother that in school that day, she learned that princes could marry princes and that she could marry a princess. A stern-looking man then sweeps in to warn viewers that they will be saying O.K. to such ostensible brainwashing if they let gay couples say “I do.”

The analogous commercial this year spotlights David and Tonia Parker, who insist that after Massachusetts began to allow same-sex marriage in 2004, their son and other children were forced to learn about homosexual relationships in school. While it’s true that some schools mentioned same-sex couples in diversity discussions, it wasn’t mandated by the state or connected to the advent of same-sex marriage, and the referendums this Election Day say nothing at all about curriculums. Moreover, a federal court that heard a lawsuit by the Parkers rightly determined that a cursory reference to gay couples in classrooms “does not constitute ‘indoctrination,’ ” as the Parkers had claimed.

David Parker is just a textbook homophobe in the garb of a humbly concerned parent. He has likened homosexuality to alcoholism and equated teachers who mention it to sexual predators using foul language in the park.

He and his ilk love to link gay rights with sexual predation. An ad used in Florida in 2009 shows a blond girl in a pink T-shirt entering a playground restroom; seconds later, a man in a baseball cap and sunglasses follows her in. The commercial then claims that the Gainesville City Commission made this legal, presumably by including transgendered people in an anti-discrimination ordinance that covered public accommodations.

Our opponents are ruthless and are willing to do whatever it takes to advance discrimination against LGBT Americans – even if it means spreading blatant misinformation about an entire population of people. They’re hoping to intimidate people into voting against fairness for their LGBT neighbors.

HRC launched the largest mobilization effort in our organization’s history to ensure equality prevails at the polls this year, and part of that effort includes countering the lies that regularly emerge from groups like NOM. Get to the polls and vote - help us send a strong message to NOM that Americans by and large support equality. There is too much at stake right now for anyone to sit idly by and assume their voice doesn’t make a difference. Learn more about all the critical races and get live results as they become available at www.hrc.org/election