The National Organization for Marriage believes its arguments against marriage equality are stronger if they come from people who are actually gay, which is why it is more often highlighting “gays against gay marriage.” Today, NOM highlights just such a story from Doug Mainwaring, who believes it’s “possible to oppose same-sex marriage based on reason and experience.” Of course, NOM doesn’t bother to mention any of the details that distinguish Mainwaring’s experience from people who actually identify with the LGBT community, nor the fact that he’s sung this tune plenty of times before.
Mainwaring’s narrative echoes many ex-gay testimonials, particularly in his abstention from gay sex, choosing instead to have non-sexual philia love friendships with men. In fact, he married a woman with whom, despite a temporary divorce, he still lives and raises a family. He has repeatedly written and testified against marriage equality for same-sex couples, but not just because of his trite “kids need a mother and a father” argument — Mainwaring believes the “liberal intelligentsia” is trying to dismantle marriage altogether. Such paranoid perceptions of liberal views are perhaps unsurprising; Mainwaring is co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots in Maryland.
His own words demonstrate just how far removed he is from the reality of LGBT families. Here’s how he describes his despair at the thought of raising his kids with another man:
Over the last couple of years, I’ve found our decision to rebuild our family ratified time after time. One day as I turned to climb the stairs I saw my sixteen-year-old son walk past his mom as she sat reading in the living room. As he did, he paused and stooped down to kiss her and give her a hug, and then continued on. With two dads in the house, this little moment of warmth and tenderness would never have occurred. My varsity-track-and-football-playing son and I can give each other a bear hug or a pat on the back, but the kiss thing is never going to happen. To be fully formed, children need to be free to generously receive from and express affection to parents of both genders. Genderless marriages deny this fullness.
Mainwaring’s shallow perception of what constitutes intimacy, including what he is even capable of showing, demonstrates how unqualified he is to discuss same-sex marriage and families. He has clearly carried an anti-gay stigma with him throughout his entire life and has just as narrow an understanding of the lives of gays and lesbians as his fellow opponents of equality. NOM’s attempt to somehow drive a wedge within the gay community is pitiful, if only because Mainwaring in no way represents it.