Saturday, September 24, 2011

NOM, The AFA, and Anti-Gay Orgs...Do We Still Care?

This post is to settle somewhat of an argument between my husband and I who have a difference of opinion on whether or not it does any good to write about the doings of antigay groups like The National Organization for Marriage or characters like Tony Perkins and The American Family Association.....correction, what he actually said was that no one cares enough about them to read what they are up to.

Every day that goes by see's these groups, and the individuals that speak for them, slide into increasing disfavor. With DADT repealed, the potential likelihood of the return of marriage equality to California via the courts, and polls that are NOT in their favor, antigay groups are having to take a different stance in the public eye...the one of the victim. If they can't win the game of spinning public opinion into fearing that gays will destroy the nation by wanting to be a part of its institurions than they will fall back on creating the fear that gays want to attack and harm them and anyone who believes similarly.

An example of this fallback strategy is NOM's creation of a subgroup who's task it is to advocate for anyone who feels they have been targeted for violence or harrasement due to their belief that marriage is just for straight people and not for gays.  NOM's newly created Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance( not to be confused the the rebel alliance)  was so laughable...and it's charter do beyond the pale that I felt practically compelled to take it apart piece by piece. But...I was discouraged to do so on the basis that no one gives a rats behind about them. Which makes me ask the question...Is it true? Have they slid so far as to have faded into irrelevancy?....because personally, I think that's a mistake.

The fact of the matter is that even though Tony Perkins and the AFA are a designated hate group. Yet they are still being called on to testify in congress as experts. The congressional hearings over DADT is the last example  I have heard of but that is still pretty recent. The groups public face, Tony Perkins, is still invited to CNN to speak as if he is qualified to speak about the military and gays even though his only qualifications are a tour of duty and a sack full of bias. This man, and the organisation he represents is still hurting us and has an ear in Washington.

And NOM, while far from out. The tide may be turning against them in some respects but there are many more states that they can...and do...find traction in. I would also place dollars to donuts that a NOM member will be called on to testify in Washington if/when DOMA sees more congressional hearings. Also, without the incredibly dedicated work of Jeremy Hooper of Good As You, NOM would not nearly have so many black eyes to their reputation. Because of his Jeremy's work NOM has lost any claim they have to being just a rational, middle-of-the-road group concerned about marriage. They have let that mask slip because the facts are out. They have strong religious funding and their entire reason for being is religious in nature. That's who they are and who they have always been. However, many people don't see that which still gives this group the air of false neutrality that empowers their fear based message.

My personal opinion is that NOM creating a suborg based around victimization is an admission that things aren't going as well as they would like. However, putting Maggie Gallagher as the head of it is a red flag for me. She has been at the forefront of nearly every ballot measure and served as the most visible spokesperson for NOM's carefully crafted image of non-animus "rationality" image we all knew was a lie. Maggie knows how build a climate of fear around a subject and religious/political persecution seems to be the card they want to play next. The question is "Why?". I can't help but ask if the move has a signifcance we need to pay attention to before it bites us in the soft parts.

Which brings us full circle......The days when NOM was standing in our backyard and people actually believed their fabricated fear tactics has waned to some degree. Nom and the AFA have repeated their lies and distortions too many times for them to work on a large scale anymore...but there are many that still believe them. If marriage equality was coming up for a vote in your state, how would you feel to see Maggie Gallagher on stage spinning the same lies to a crowd of nodding heads? In a debate about bullying programs... we can still see Tony Perkins on TV scaring up folks with the spector of the "gay agenda" and finding credibility on CNN. And I'm to believe that they are too discredited to care what they do anymore?

If we had all been a little more aware of NOM's strategies before Prop 8 might we be having a totally different conversation right now? It may not be gripping news... nor pull at the heart strings as dearly but we have seen the consequences that happen when we stop talking about it....when we stop at least paying attention.

So I put the question before you...the reading audience. Do the activities of NOM, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Tony Perkins, the AFA, Focus On The Family, and various anti-gay pundits interest you enough to read about it? Is giving them blog time also giving them them too much attention and thus power? Do we care anymore what they do?.......Tell me what you think.

Until next time dear readers.....


  1. Only a fool underestimates their enemy.

  2. I think these groups do come up again for different groups of people. When my friend came out at a Christain college, he was handed stuff and sent links to some of these organizations. Also, I had a student want to write on gay marriage for a term paper and she used Focus on the Family as a source. She was able to mitigate that with other more balanced views but being a Christian it was the first place she turned to for info. Sometimes, ignoring gives power and talking about it lessens the power. These are impolite houseguests that won't leave and I don't think not talking about them will stop them. Silence is sometimes the answer, but not here.

  3. Of course we have to write about it in order to point out the falsehoods and mis-statements by the bigots out there.

    You have to know your enemy to vanquish them.

  4. Hmmmm. I was gonna start with "in a nutshell...", but nothing I say would fit in a nutshell. It's like weeds. You face a garden full of weeds you have to attack them, full on. You use a rotovator, you burn them out, whatever, a blanket saturation attack. Now (and follow the metphore here), you see one weed in your garden but it's only one weed and there's something good on TV. Tomorrow you have 3 weeds so you can't let them be. The attack has to continue but the strategy has to change. Dan Savage produced an excellent example with Santorum. Savage destroyed his name, he didn't spend hours debating him cos Santorum's stance is a joke. So Savage made his name a joke.

    In a war you let the wounded leave the battlefield. But there's no allowance for that here. These people want to take away your rights and the only way to stop that is to continually take away any power they have. Santorum is back, running for President this time, you can't leave these people unattended.

    So fight them, tooth and nail, but fight wisely. Make them look ridiculess.

    (p.s. Thanks for the methaphoical chicken soup)

  5. I think that it is critically important to fallow what they are doing, if not to start the campaign the tear down what ever new false hoods they are seeking to construct, but also because only a fool thinks they have won enough battles that they can take their eyes and ears off the activities of their enemy, effectively surending the element of surprise over to them. The war has not been won yet and we need as much intelligence about our enemy at hand as we can possibly have, so that we can take out their weakest flanks and eventually them, them selves.

  6. i believe that in order to defeat your enemy is to point out their bigotry and their lies and prove them wrong. So not only should we know what they're saying, but prove them wrong. Some may think it's giving them attention, but there will always be someone to pay them attention even if we don't want to. So i say give them the kind of attention they aren't looking for.

  7. As long as organizations present a false dichotomy, and the press acquiesces, between marriage equality and discrimination; I will always be intrested.

    Until everyone can sponsor his or her partner for full, legal citizenship; I will always be interested.

    Until I can kiss my partner in public without strange looks at best, and dying for it at worst; I will always be interested.

    Flatly, I will always be interested, because this isn't going to happen for a wile.

  8. the only way people can spot a lie is if they are exposed to the truth.
    Bigots Love Silence. Ignoring bigots doesn't make them go away, it only makes them bolder.

  9. The activities of the AFA, NOM etc. definitely interest me, even though I don't even live in the USA, because the battle for gay marriage is (finally!) hotting up over here in the UK. It's actually two battles - Holyrood (the Scottish government) is looking at full legalisation, including allowing (but not requiring) religious gay marriages. England & Wales look likely to get the second-class status of civil marriage only, with a ban on religious marriages. I don't know what will happen in NI and the territories (Gibraltar, Caymans, Falklands, etc.) but I do know that the country's main right-wing religious groups (the Evangelical Alliance, Christian Institute, Roman Catholic Church, New Frontiers, etc.) are already well organised and prepared for the fight, and they'll be looking to NOM, AFA etc. for tactics, so we need to look to you guys for counter-tactics.

    The fight itself is likely to be very interesting - and particularly hotly contested in my area since two of our three local MPs will be in the thick of the fight, on opposing sides.

    The MP leading the fight against gay marriage is Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire (the constituency directly south of mine). Nadine is also the point-woman for the anti-abortion campaign - she's basically a prettier version of Virginia Foxx (although almost anyone would be prettier than Ms. Foxx, if we're honest). Everything I've heard about her tells me she is very dangerous. This is mainly because, whereas right-wing female politicians in the USA tend to be caricatures (Palin, Bachmann, Foxx, Kern) Dorries is very much not a caricature: those who've met her say she comes across as a very caring, kind and well-meaning person. That makes her far harder to defend against, because you end up wanting to like her despite what she stands for.

    At the last election, Bedford & Kempston (my constituency) returned a gay Tory, Richard Fuller, as our new MP - and he's likely to be heavily involved in the campaign for gay marriage. YAY! It doesn't hurt that, even by the standards of a Commons where several MPs could be supermodels, he's rather easy on the eyes ;-) I'd prefer it if his other social and economic policies were ones I could agree with though.

    There's another reason why the fight will be very interesting locally however: just before the election last year Bedford was the scene of a scandal that changed the outcome of the election. You may remember it: one of Cameron's senior policy advisors, Philippa Stroud, who was running for a seat in south London, was revealed to have set up an ex-gay "treatment centre" in Bedford, and then a second one in Birmingham. (Phlippa's husband's family are family friends, placing me in a somewhat unenviable situation since I was one of those interviewed for the Grauniad article.) In an election as close as last year's, losing a fraction of a %age point in votes meant losing many seats, so the timing (a week before the election itself) couldn't have been better for Cameron, nor worse for the Tory Right: had the scandal not broken, Cameron would have had a slim majority in the Commons, and the Tory Right would have done the same thing to the country that the Tea Party is currently doing to the USA. Instead Cameron was "forced" into an oh-so-convenient coalition with the Orange-Booker led Lib Dems (the Orange Bookers are the lib Dem right, so ideal partners for the David & Gideon-led Tory Left) and has been able to use them as a bulwark against his own party's lunatic fringes.

    In effect, if the scandal had never happened there wouldn't be a chance of seeing gay marriage before 2015. As it is the way the vote is likely to split means that there could be a majority of 100 or more when the vote finally takes place, so while the Religious groups do have a lobbying advantage they've got an uphill fight.

  10. @Tavdy

    "In effect, if the scandal had never happened there wouldn't be a chance of seeing gay marriage before 2015."

    Isn't funny how life works out...its almost like kismet, cosmic coincidence,...or intelligent design even :P I find it fascinating how UK politics is so rife with alliances of convenience. Here, if a president...or any politican, finds himself surrounded by the opposing faction he simply closes his eyes, rams his fingers in his ears, and goes "LALALALALALALALA!...!!!" until the problem goes away...its like magic really.

    and lastly I think you guys could solve your problems with Nadine Dories by dressing up like Klingons and attacking her offices with glitter and batleths....Qapla!

  11. @Tavdy

    ...or simply by being "more mary poppins than thou"....Sorry, but thats what your description of here brought to mind. :D

  12. I don't think giving them attention is really giving them power of sorts. The sort of attention that these organisations and individuals recieve online is usually revelation and humiliation. It's more important that people are kept in the loop and hear the truth.

  13. @Michael Hardin

    well said.

  14. These groups really became popular after the advent of the internet. They are masters of using fear and distorions on people who are ignorant to open up their wallets and send them money... Their days are numbered. More and more people old and young are coming out of the closet and people are realizing that they have gay friends and relatives and neighbors. We are not these "scary" folks who are out to pervert children and destroy society. These people are the scary ones. They are scary and evil. Can you imagine making a living by scaring people into sending "hate" dollars? I hope I live to see the day when these horrible people are in the unemployment line..

  15. Gallagher and Brown wanna keep thier hate goin as long as they can - so they don't have to get REAL JOBS.....Brown has 7 kids...(all under 12) ...7 kids....the chances of having a gay child are high,could u imagine being a gay kid in that douchebags family?

  16. I think that repealing DADT is going to make a big impact upon everything. People from all walks of life will work and get to know homosexuals and when they get out of the military they will bring that new understanding back to their little communities that fill the Bible belt and it will change everything. I think gay marriage will become more of a reality once gay soldiers demand to be treated equally under the law.