This Wednesday, the Senate will hold a hearing on the repeal of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. The Republicans have invited three anti-gay voices to defend the law, all of whom have prominent reputations for demonizing the LGBT community. Notably absent, though, is any representative from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that has led the charge against equality in the national debate but which lost recent fights against same-sex marriage in New York and civil unions in Rhode Island.
Here is a quick look at the anti-gay reputations that precede these witnesses:
- AUSTIN R. NIMOCKS (ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND): ADF is one of the chief legal cogs in the conservative Christian propaganda machine. The group regularly opposes LGBT equality through the spreading of falsehoods and has previously partnered with Exodus International, which administers harmful ex-gay ministries. (Exodus calls ADF a “friend.”) The organization is vigilant about putting same-sex “marriage” in condescending mocking quotes (even using SS”M” for short-hand in tweets) to imply that the unions of same-sex couples will always be inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. Simultaneous with these bullying tactics, ADF promotes the idea that anti-gay Christians are the victims of “bigotry” and “intolerance” against “religious freedom.”
- TOM MINNERY (FOCUS ON THE FAMILY): FOTF maintains ties to many state-level anti-equality groups and is helping them raise over $6 million to fight marriage equality over the next year through the covert “Ignite An Enduring Cultural Tradition” campaign. The group also inherited the “Day of Dialogue” (formerly “Day of Truth”) from ADF, which encourages Christian youth to be vocal about their anti-gay beliefs to show “love” to their LGBT peers who are “hurting” and “vulnerable.” Last April, Minnery clarified that FOTF would oppose an openly gay nominee to the Supreme Court because homosexuality is sinful.
- ED WHELAN (ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER): This will not be Whelan’s first trip to the Hill to challenge marriage equality. He testified in favor of DOMA in April, wherein he attacked the Obama administration for “doing whatever it can to promote same-sex marriage.” Equality Matters points out that Whelan has been on a “never-ending crusade” against LGBT equality, focusing in particular on the trial to overturn Proposition 8. He recently argued that Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling against the law should be vacated because as a gay man, Walker’s impartiality “might reasonably be questioned.”
The Democrats’ speaker list includes Joe Solmonese (Human Rights Campaign President) and Evan Wolfson (Freedom to Marry President), as well as three individuals who were in or are in same-sex marriages: Susan Murray, Andrew Sorbo, and Ron Wallen.