NOM’s Violent Rhetoric: The Marriage Equality Movement Is A ‘Bullying Behemoth’


NOM's Brian Brown crying after New York passed marriage equality in 2011.

NOM’s Brian Brown crying after New York passed marriage equality in 2011.

The situation does not look very good for the National Organization for Marriage: it ended 2012 more than $2.7 million in debt, and it has lost all of its most recent fights, including in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Delaware, Illinois, and Hawaii, among others. The preeminent organization opposed to marriage equality is nevertheless convinced that history is still on its side, and it is once again resorting to violent language to demonize advocates of LGBT freedom.

In a fundraising email sent out Wednesday morning, NOM repeatedly props up the marriage equality movement as “arrogant” “bullies,” suggesting that they will “stampede” over conservative goals. Here’s a sampling:

When history looks back on the 2012-2013 legislative year, I believe it will be remembered as the year Americans realized the same-sex marriage movement for what it truly is: a bullying behemoth that puts the very foundations of our democracy at stake. […]

And we’ve also seen more and more people waking up to how brazen the radical same-sex marriage movement is in their approach to this debate. They don’t want debate at all: they want to silence the opposition.

They want to shut us up, to ignore the arguments, and stampede toward their goal. Every day, more Americans are realizing that same-sex marriage works by way of bullying and ignorance; and as they realize this, they know that that’s not the way debates in America are supposed to work. […]

Make no mistake: we still have to fight hard to ensure that people continue waking up to how arrogant the same-sex ‘marriage’ bullies have grown with their small wave of victories over the past year. […]

No, the American people are waking up to see the same-sex marriage movement for the radical, bullying, anti-democratic and even anti-American behemoth that it is. And we’re going to work hard to wake more and more of them up to the fact — with your help!

This is not the first time NOM has tried to incense potential donors with violent rhetoric. In August 2012, the group sent an email about its eagerness to “fight” the “gay ‘marriage’ thugs and bullies” who launched a “full-frontal assault” on equality opponents like Chick-fil-A.

This portrayal does not match up with what advocates for marriage equality have actually been doing:

  • Couples in Illinois and Ohio have simply tried to secure marriage before terminal illness ends their relationships.
  • When signing Hawaii’s marriage equality law into effect, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) celebrated the fact that “those who have been invisible will now be visible to themselves and the whole world.”
  • When Minnesota passed marriage equality, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (DFL) adorned the bridge across the Mississippi River with rainbow flags and called it the “Freedom to Marry Bridge.”
  • During the debate in Delaware, Sen. Karen Peterson (D) had the courage to come out publicly for the first time, suggesting simply, “If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, you need to work on your marriage.”
  • In his ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out that when the federal government recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples, it will end the humiliation of the tens of thousands being raised by those couples, allowing them “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.”

If this is the kind of “bullying” NOM insists on fighting, perhaps it’s unsurprising that donors are abandoning the cause.