Tony Perkins isn’t the only anti-gay conservative coming to dinner — so is the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown. Brown has accepted Dan Savage’s invitation to join his family for dinner and have a recorded debate moderated by Mark Oppenheimer from the New York Times. His only stipulation was that he wanted to bring his own camera crew, just to ensure that neither side distorts the debate. Savage replied that he’s going to have to scrub his home of all symbols of his Catholic heritage, lest Brown take offense:
It looks like I’m gonna have to clear all the Catholic kitch out of our living room and dining room — my 5′ plaster Jesus, our 3′ plaster Mary, all my other plaster saints, the dozens of rosaries hanging around their plaster necks, the stack of disintegrating hymnals on the mantle, etc. Wouldn’t want Brian to think there’s something disrespectful about our collection. Our Catholic kitch is all family heirlooms. My late grandfather’s rosaries, most of them prayed to pieces, were headed to the dump when I picked them out of the trash. But will knowing that my 5′ plaster Jesus has been evacuated to our bedroom be more of a torment for Brian?
The recorded meeting of these two dining and debating will be a serious milestone to watch — twice, to see what both camera crews capture and edit. Perkins’ dinner with the Family Equality Council’s Jennifer Chrisler will not be similarly documented, but the fallout will still be noteworthy. Perhaps Brown and Perkins believe this an important opportunity to stand on their principles, but perhaps these invitations have simply painted them into a corner. By accepting the invitations, they seem willing to at least dignify the humanity of these families, which is encouraging. If, however, they meet these children and then still persist in denying them the security of being legally connected to both of their parents, it will be that much harder — and uglier — for them to justify their anti-equality positions.