Coming to a public school near you? That’s how Brian Brown’s latest letter opens, as he is eager as ever to scare National Organization for Marriage supporters about what their kids will learn. But that’s just the president of the organization’s introduction to NOM’s other favorite theme: self-victimizing. Here’s a quick tour through Brown’s latest distortions: “Live and let live? SSM Architects Seek to Silence Christians.”
CLAIM: Teaching kids about gender variation is somehow a bad thing: “‘People can be girls, feel like girls, they can feel like boys, they can feel like both, and they can even feel, like I said, kinda like neither,’ he teaches them. This is a movement that know what it is doing.”
FACT: Alvin McEwen has a whole post dedicated to a lie from the first published draft of this letter, in which Brown suggested the lesson was for Kindergartners, not fourth-graders as was actually the case. Aside from sounding scary about it, Brown doesn’t actually indicate what he thinks is wrong with the gender lesson. Factually, there is nothing wrong.
CLAIM: The United States is a Christian nation: “Could Christianity, which gave birth to America, become an illegitimate stepchild in our own nation?”
CLAIM: Marriage equality will make “some people more equal than others” because people who support traditional marriage will be “demoted to second-class citizens.”
FACT: Considering just about every bill that opens marriage rights to same-sex couples explicitly offers protections for religious institutions and leaders, the opposite is true: supporters of traditional marriage are promoted with the privilege to discriminate.
CLAIM: Under Illinois’s new civil union bill, Rockford Catholic Charities had to end its adoption and foster care program because “the threat of litigation made continuing to help these children too risky.”
FACT: Rockford Catholic Charities voluntarily ended their services because they no longer had the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. They prioritized willful discrimination over the needs of children. Christians are not the “victims” of marriage equality advocates’ “intolerance,” as Brown suggests; children are the victims of Catholic Charities’ intolerance towards same-sex couples.
CLAIM: Equality advocates, including GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders), oppose religious protections in Rhode Island’s civil unions bill.
FACT: Brown takes GLAD attorney Karen Loewy’s quote out of context, citing only the last sentence of what she actually said. Her full quote:
This unprecedented exemption means a civil union spouse could be denied the ability to make medical decisions for her spouse in a hospital; it means that a math teacher at a religiously-based school could not get the same health insurance for his legally recognized partner that all other teachers receive. This exemption actually diminishes nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations and employment that Rhode Island employers and institutions have successfully lived with since 1995. It just inflicts gratuitous harm on Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian families.
But Brown, of course, insists that the “gratuitous harm” is done to the religious people and institutions who are forced to not discriminate in opposition to their beliefs.
CLAIM: Opposing ex-gay “reparative” therapy is an attack on people who just want to help, as evidenced by a Great Britain counselor who was found guilty of “professional malpractice.”
FACT: The psychological community is in complete agreement that efforts to change sexual orientation are harmful and do not work. The appropriate therapeutic response for individuals struggling with their sexual orientation is affirmation; there are no points awarded for “being willing to help” when the “help” is dangerous and ineffective.
CLAIM: Equality advocates regularly offer “open, ugly hatred” against opponents, as evidenced by death threats to New York Sen. Rubén Díaz.
Nobody in the LGBT movement approves of death threats, but more importantly, any “open” death threat should be prosecuted. Díaz claims to not preach hate, yet he regularly lies and openly attacks people who are gay and lesbian.
CLAIM: (Via a column by NOM’s other public face, Maggie Gallagher) Because young minds are changing on the issue of abortion, so too can “traditional marriage” rally again in the future.
FACT: Maggie’s claim is wrong on two fronts. First, unlike the polling for marriage equality that has steadily increased, polling for abortion has remained consistently even over time. Secondly, in 2011, more people are again pro-choice than pro-life (49–45 percent).
NOM wants to paint opponents of equality as victims, but it’s hard to have sympathy for people who lie and complain when they lose the right to discriminate against and harm other people.