The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has so far not been classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, because for the most part, the organization’s spokespeople focus their rhetoric on “traditional marriage” instead of demonizing homosexuality. (This has become less so, particularly given Jennifer Roback Morse’s repeated endorsements of ex-gay therapy.)
In a recent Tea Party Unity conference call, Brian Camenker of the anti-gay hate group MassResistance challenged NOM President Brian Brown about this selective language use, asking why NOM doesn’t just admit that homosexuality is a “perversion.” Brown admitted that he didn’t think harsher language could sway Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, but he encouraged group’s like Camenker to keep doing their own thing:
CAMENKER: It’s concerning to a lot of people that the arguments being used in the various court cases concede that homosexual relationships are legitimate and not a perversion or what have you, we just don’t like them, and we wonder if there was more of a hard stance that they are not legitimate, that it is perverse, unnatural and what have you, that we might have some better success in some of the cases. […]
BROWN: Whenever I’m asked about what I think about homosexuality, I’m very clear, I believe and as a Catholic I believe in the traditional teaching of our church. I think that sex is reserved for marriage, period. As far as the legal arguments go we may differ. I think a lot of the legal arguments have been made in the Prop 8 case especially have been made to speak to [Justice] Kennedy and Kennedy has already found in the Lawrence case, for example, that states can’t ban sodomy. So it’s not likely that a stronger argument about homosexuality is really going to shift Kennedy.
I know some people think we need to focus more on homosexuality. All I’ll say is that when asked I state what I believe and many of the religious supporters that we’ll have at the march clearly will stand up and proclaim biblical truth on marriage, but I’m not sure whether legally that is the best strategy. Also, different groups need to do different things, not all groups have to do the same thing. So folks that are taking a harder line in focusing more on homosexuality, there need to be different groups doing different things.
Listen to it (via RightWingWatch):
Brown’s subtle confession here is incredibly telling. NOM know there are a lot of negative things it’s not saying about gay people and homosexuality, even though its members seemingly believe all of the same things. Certainly it has no problem taking umbrage on behalf of these hate groups or featuring their rhetoric at their rallies.
If NOM is encouraging other groups to be harsher opponents of homosexuality just so it can save face, it’s no less responsible for it in the end. Indeed, by strategizing in this way, Brown has proven that even the most polished rhetoric “defending traditional marriage” is just as anti-gay, and they understand it has the very same consequences. If NOM’s motives and beliefs are part of the public rhetoric, then attempting to hide under polite talking points simply adds dishonesty to their already offensive intentions.