Earlier this month, Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute spoke at a Catholic Women’s Conference in Venice, Florida. Equality Matters noticed some sweeping generalizations about how gay men are all ashamed of their homosexuality because they know that it’s “deeply wrong”:
MORSE: I’ve noticed in my encounters with men who are same-sex attracted particularly that they have a sense of shame. Have any of you ever noticed this? … I’ve noticed that a lot of the people who are very active in the movement to redefine marriage will describe that when they were teenagers that they had a sense of wrongness — of being wrong — and of God thinking they were an abomination, like they all knew that verse. [...]
So they have this sense of wrongness and I think that many of them believe that redefining marriage is going to make them feel better. I think they think that if all of us will approve of them that they will feel better… Making yourself feel good about doing something that is deeply wrong for you is not in the end going to work.
Listen to it:
Morse is actually kind of right, but for the exact wrong reasons. When everybody in a gay adolescent’s family and community are telling him that he’s “wrong,” of course he’s going to absorb those messages. That doesn’t mean he believes those ideas — it just means he has to navigate a situation where everybody else around him does. It’s not surprising that such a young man might then want to encourage people to support him instead of condemning him. Indeed, seeking affirmation is a sensible way of counteracting years of shame.
What Morse is really doing is abdicating any sense of responsibility. She’s reinforcing this sense of internal shame by proclaiming that it’s a natural part of being gay, when in fact it’s quite obviously the result of the very messaging she promotes.