The anticipated debate between “It Gets Better” Project founder Dan Savage and the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, which came about after Savage made provocative statements noting that the Bible supports the practice of slavery, is now online for all to view. Savage and his family hosted Brown for dinner in their home, and afterward, Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times hosted a dinner-table debate over the issue of same-sex marriage. Savage offered an articulate explanation of the many conflicts presented in the Bible, pointing out how it fails to align with the 21st Century Zeitgeist of morality and so serves no authority on the question of same-sex marriage. Brown, immediately citing the shooting at the Family Research Council (which happened the same day the debate was recorded), focused entirely on assuming the status of victim, claiming that the primary consequence of marriage equality is that individuals like him will be labeled as “bigots.” This passage seems to sum up Brown’s primary argument:
BROWN: What I see attempted here, and sometimes in other things that you’ve said that I think are much more colorful than what you’ve just laid out, is the notion that we are deserving — that those of us who know that marriage is the union of a man and a woman — that we are deserving of treatment less than others because we are bigots and we deserve what we get. And I don’t think that’s true. And I don’t think that that helps further the debate. And I think that the attack on Christianity, as I said earlier — I don’t think people look at that and say, “Hey, you know, Dan Savage has a point.” If anything, it makes people say, “Why are you doing this? Why are you doing this? This doesn’t further your argument.”
Watch the full hour-long debate:
For Brown’s point to be valid, there would have to be an actual campaign against the rights of Christians, which of course there isn’t, though there is very much a fight against the rights of gays and lesbians. What is most compelling about the debate is that Brown never mentions the existence of same-sex couples or their children, despite having just dined with such a family and continuing to sit in their household. Instead, he resorts to self-victimization and blatant refutations without any supporting evidence, simply saying “Dan, You’re wrong” time and time again. The few examples Brown cited to defend his arguments, such as the flawed Mark Regnerus study or the Ocean Grove Pavilion in New Jersey, were skillfully debunked by Savage.
Toward the end of the debate, Oppenheimer cornered Brown on what the actual fallout of same-sex marriage would be for heterosexual couples beyond the fact that he would be called a bigot, to which he had no meaningful response. Brown then admitted that decades of nationwide same-sex marriage without consequence still would not convince him to change his position.
Unfortunately, Brown largely talks past Savage, sticking to his talking points and refusing to consider any of the arguments made. NOM seems to believe it can capitalize off of the debate, judging from the graphic-riddled website it dedicated to the matter. In reality, all Brown managed to demonstrate is his ability to ignore the very existence of same-sex families while emphasizing his own self-righteousness.