Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed
×

Archives – July, 2010

NOM’s growing desperation

(A warm welcome to my friend and colleague Michael Crawford with Freedom to Marry, a partner in NOMTourTracker.com. This is vitally important pushback. – Adam)

By Michael Crawford, New Media Director, Freedom to Marry

In a clear sign of its growing desperation to place positive spin on its failing anti-gay bus tour, National Organization for Marriage is now throwing every possible smear at equality supporters while attempting to paint themselves in a coat of victimhood.

In his latest email screed, NOM President Brian Brown had this to say about “gay marriage radicals”,

They’ve come to our peaceful marriage rallies in city after city to harass and intimidate us. We’ve seen men harass a nursing mother, refusing her request to feed her children in private and instead stare at her and block her ability to watch our rally from a safe distance. We’ve seen protestors draped in the rainbow flag storm the stage and scream, red-faced into the microphone to prevent our speakers from talking. We’ve seen them bait a five year old child, asking her if she’s being raised by her mother to be a bigot. We’ve even heard a gay marriage supporter threaten to kidnap a child in attendance at a rally.

Reading that, one almost forgets that it’s NOM and its supporters that are continuing to unleash an increasingly violent stream of anti-gay rhetoric. The “solution to gay marriage” sign calling for the murder of gay and lesbian couples is but one example.

gay-hate-sign.jpg

Despite Brian’s best attempt at placing a Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak over NOM’s homophobia, the traditional media is not falling for NOM’s song and dance.

From Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman:

So why would NOM hold a rally where it is sure of being badly outnumbered by motivated and well-organized critics? Maybe because that’s what it wanted. The Summer for Marriage Tour could have been called the Come Shout Us Down Tour.

The endeavor has managed to make opponents of gay marriage look like a brave, embattled minority, even though they constitute 53 percent of the public and have gotten their way in all but a few states. At today’s rally, NOM supporters just number two or three dozen.

NOM’s typical ploy is to conjure up phony claims of harassment and infringement and complain when anyone speaks the truth about its record and agenda. In its increasingly cynical attempts to provoke responses from equality supporters, NOM’s “One Man, One Woman” tour has devolved from a media gimmick to a display of prejudice and incitement to violence.

With this week’s display, NOM’s mask has slipped, revealing what lies beneath their diversions, protests, and veneer. NOM is funneling millions of dollars into political campaigns aimed at stripping away basic protections from gay people and their families while attempting to portray themselves as a being in the tradition of the Black Civil Rights Movement.

The real victims of NOM are committed, loving gay couples across the country who are denied the freedom to marry and the critical safety net that marriage brings.

127 Comments July 29, 2010

St. Cloud, MN: Dueling rallies, with equality prevailing

(We’re in St. Cloud, MN today, about 90 minutes northwest of yesterday’s tour stop in St. Paul, where despite the largest pro-NOM turnout of the tour, hundreds of pro-equality supporters outnumbered them and carried the day with a peaceful, positive message. Courage staffers Arisha Michelle Hatch, Anthony Ash and Phyllis Lozano are on the ground covering today’s events. We’ll be adding updates to this post, including pictures and video, throughout the day so keep refreshing to stay up to date. Don’t forget to check out this morning’s video and analysis from the stop in St. Paul, as well as photos and a summary on what happened there -Adam)

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Today, 73 NOM supporters gathered on a lawn in front of Granite City Church. Despite being on private property, staff from the church permitted us to stand on the lawn and record the proceedings.

NOM supporters outside St. Cloud rally venue

A handful of equality counter-protestors are standing about 250 feet away from the church on the sidewalk holding handmade signs, such as the ones below:

Equality supporters in St. Cloud, MN

A larger crowd of pro-equality activists are rallying and marching on a different side of town. NOMTourTracker.com has a reporter there who will be sending in photo and video footage as it comes. Stay tuned…

UPDATE BY ADAM (11:10 AM PST): Phyllis just radioed in from the other side of town, where a hand-count of 89 equality supporters held a separate rally to show their support for the freedom to marry.

Equality supporters marching near St. Cloud State University

Phyllis told me a community organizer, Justin Michael, spoke to the crowd largely composed of students from St. Cloud State University, the second largest in the state (the rally is being held in Barden Park, next to the University). There’s a lesson here: St. Cloud is part of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s district, a virulent opponent of equality (and many other progressive issues). But this goes to show again that even in the reddest bastions of homophobia, we can find the future in younger supporters of equality like the students from St. Cloud State. We cannot write off areas of the country that may seem more conservative by their representation or character.

Justin Michael rallying equality supporters in St. Cloud

Phyllis said Justin told her they chose to rally in Barden Park, several miles away from Granite City Church, because they didn’t agree with the views of the pastor there and refused to rally on their turf. After rallying, they planed to march nearby before returning to the park to demonstrate their support to the rest of the city.

We’ll have video with Justin and folks from the rally as it comes in.

UPDATE BY ARISHA (1:35 PM PST):

The NOM rally in St. Cloud today was all about talking points; more specifically, how to respond when equality activists ask confusing questions to NOM supporters.

On the other side of town, 89 equality activists assembled, held a rally and then marched down the streets of St. Cloud waving rainbow flags. They didn’t go near the church.

Back at the NOM rally, Chuck Darryl, Communications Director for the Minnesota Family Council (who was also at the St. Paul rally), led the attendees through a series of common questions that equality activists may confront them with; interestingly enough, all of the questions he referenced were questions that we NOM Tour Trackers have been asking NOM supporters for the last few weeks.

“What do you say when activists compare [gay marriage] to the African American civil rights movement?” asked Darryl.

You could hear a pin drop.

“That’s a hard question to answer, right? [. . . because] it creates a false analogy. [. . .] Inter-racial marriage did nothing to redefine [the institution of] marriage.”

“What do you say when people ask you how [same-sex marriage] will affect your marriage?”

More silence.

Next, Darryl cited a recent “San Francisco study” – a study that in the last few days has become a common talking point for NOM – which claims to have studied the “sexual patterns of 566 gay male couples from the Bay Area.” The study, conducted by the Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University (Darryl, by the way, couldn’t name the author of the study and was not prepared to discuss its statistical validity) concludes that “[m]any Bay Area boyfriends negotiate open relationships that allow sex with outsiders.” The study of gay couples also reported that 47 percent reported open relationships, 45 percent were monogamous and the remaining 8 percent disagreed about what they were.

Because of NOM’s “renewed” focus to staying on message, I decided to go straight to the source – I wanted to confront Chuck Darryl himself to see how this Communications Director might hold up to my questioning.

I asked Darryl several questions, including many of the questions that he posed to the silent NOM audience. Clearly, staying on message is easier when people aren’t around to ask follow-up questions, but I digress.

I didn’t pull out any tricks. I asked him all of the questions that he expected me to (and a few more). I asked him how allowing same-sex couples to marry might affect heterosexual marriages. I asked him if he knew who conducted the study about gay men that he was citing. I asked him why the article was relevant. I asked him if that study had been peer reviewed. (“It’s science,” he answered.) I asked him if he was a sociologist or a statistician – whether he could speak to the validity of the research (“Are you,” he asked).

I asked him if perhaps the study had polled a different subset of the community – if it had polled 600 lesbian couples or 600 of the now 18,000 married California same-sex couples – whether he thought the results would be different. I asked him if polling in allegedly monogamous heterosexual relationships would reveal similar infidelity numbers, eliciting my favorite response of the day:

“Marriage domesticates [heterosexual] men,” he stated emphatically.

I asked him if allowing the access of gays, lesbians and bisexuals to the institution of marriage may have that same domesticating effect – whether it’s possible that being told your whole life that you will never be able to marry the person you’re attracted to may manifest itself in a way that is antithetical to monogamous relationships.

He didn’t see (check that, he wouldn’t admit) the connection.

(Anthony’s working hard to get the video uploaded now, but let’s just say that I’ve seen better spin before. I’m curious to know how you think Darryl handled my questions.)

In other news, I learned a new term today, courtesy of Bob Battle: “homophobe-phobes”, meaning, people who are afraid of people who are afraid of gay people.

That’s one phobia I’ll fess up to, anyone else with me?

UPDATE BY ADAM (2:56 PST):

Here’s an interview by Phyllis with Justin Michael, an organizer of the pro-equality rally near St. Cloud State University, describing why they chose to hold a celebration, rather than a protest, and to hold it in a separate location:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzCDRS8dnk0]

And

UPDATE BY ADAM (5:21 PST): Arisha’s discussion with Chuck Darryl- actually, it’s one of a one-sided discussion because Darryl couldn’t muster a response to many of her points- is below. It’s just amazing.

How do you think Darryl did?

182 Comments July 29, 2010

Two amazing videos from St. Paul + analysis

By Adam Bink

Some more coverage and analysis from yesterday’s events in St. Paul, where despite the largest turnout of the tour for NOM, equality supporters still had greater numbers:

  • Video highlight: watch Arisha spar with Brian Brown over what he thinks of Larry Adam’s “lynching” sign, Brian’s attempts to change the topic to signs he finds “inappropriate”, and why he tried to get our NOMTourTracker.com videographer arrested in Annapolis:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x14TLLyWWUo]

  • Yesterday,
  • Yesterday, Brian Brown said:

    “We’ve taken great pains to make clear what were all about. We view ourselves as a new civil rights movement … committed to something that in the 1960s was key: the right to vote.”

    As I wrote on Tuesday, it’s a laughable, even appalling statement. Civil rights is all about extending rights, while Brown supports amendments like the 2004 Federal Marriage Amendment that would, for the first time in our nation’s history, amend the U.S. Constitution to restrict rights rather than extend them. And as Chris Geidner points out, civil rights leaders like Julian Bond pointed out at the National Equality March that he believes the spirit of the 1960s movement is with the side for equality, not Brown and his cohorts (and I would add Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights hero in his own right, and many, many other leaders to that list, as well).

  • Craig Cady raises the question of whether it’s more strategic for equality supporters attending NOM events to remain silent and let NOM’s own twisted logic speak for itself, particularly given that NOM’s goal is to make themselves look like an oppressed minority. See Brian Brown’s e-mail from yesterday:

I thought I had heard and seen it all, but the radicals reached a new low yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin. NOM and its supporters gathered peacefully in Madison to pray for marriage and to stand in support of marriage remaining a sacred union between men and women.

We were honored to have Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison address the crowd. Bishop Morlino spoke of the need to love one another even as we disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage. Yet when he led the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer, the gay marriage radicals screamed and booed him.

I actually agree with Jack Craver’s response, which is that if the message and delivery are done well, it can be better than silence. I would point to the rally organized in the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda yesterday and the positive, calm chant the pro-equality supporters said. Here’s the video again:

Very powerful and a positive frame, as is the rest of the speaker’s address. I’ve been to other rallies where we’ve calmly sung “This Land Is Your Land” over homophobic speeches. There are ways besides silence to win the message of the day, and our side is finding them.

91 Comments July 29, 2010

NOM speaker scandal: Pastor compared gays to alcoholics, adulterers, pedophiles and more

(Cross-posted with permission from Good As You. Note that while Pastor Brad Brandon did speak at the NOM rally today, the comments highlighted in this post were made during a rally earlier this year as well as on his “Word of Truth” radio show. Listen to the audio links below.)

By Jeremy Hooper

brad-brandonEarlier this year, Minnesota Pastor Brad Brandon told a group of “traditional marriage” supporters that gay activists are teaching kids how to flog their logs:

Brandon, a young pastor from the Hastings area, was among several dozen people who showed up for the rally on Thursday afternoon. He fired up the crowd by saying that homosexuals teach kids to masturbate.



He said he was at the Capitol a few weeks ago. “A group of homosexuals were here and they were teaching a group of high school students that masturbation was okay right here in this rotunda! This must stop!

He added, “We are the last stand.”

Pastor says Minnesota gays teach kids how to masturbate [The Colu.mn]

Now today, this same Mr. Brandon is helping NOM get its own rocks off in St. Paul, joining in on the organization’s latest marriage tour stop:

Saint Paul, Minnesota
Summer for Marriage Tour Stop:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Minnesota State Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155

Speakers:
Brian Brown, President, National Organization for Marriage
Bishop Bob Battle, Senior Pastor of Berean Church of God in Christ
Chuck Darrell, Director of Communications, Minnesota Family Council
Father Mike Becker, Archdiocese of Minneapolis St. Paul
Pastor Brad Brandon, KKMS Radio
Pastor Sam Crabtree, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Saint Paul, Minnesota [NOM]

“Gays want your kids to Pat the Robertson”: It’s all just more unsubstantiated silliness from the epic FAIL known as the NOM tour.

***

*MAJOR UPDATE: Explosive Brad Brandon audio:

Clip 1: Comparing gays to alcoholics:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



*AUDIO SOURCE: Word of Truth Radio — 8/15/09

Clip 2: Directly likening gay people to adulterers and pedophiles:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



*AUDIO SOURCE: Word of Truth Radio — 8/15/09

Clip 3: Gays are indoctrinating with Dora and Bob The Builder, thanks to guiding influence from folks like Satan and Hitler:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



*AUDIO SOURCE: Word of Truth Radio — 8/15/09

Clip 4: Just like some of NOM’s past speakers, Brandon is also into the “gays can change” idea:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



*AUDIO SOURCE: Word of Truth Radio — 8/15/09

UPDATE BY EDEN: NOM is proud of their association with Brad Brandon, of course. That’s why they posted this picture and quote on their web site today.

But just in case their site gets scrubbed later (Hi Louis!), here’s a screen grab so Brandon’s NOM speech doesn’t go down the memory hole:

NOMTourTracker.com: Brad Brandon on NOM site

UPDATE BY EDEN: Andy Kelley, our New Media Organizer, just sent a tweet to retweet if you’ve got a Twitter handle. Just click here to auto-tweet it from your account:

RT @EqualityOnTrial #NOMTour pastor compares gays to alcoholics, adulterers & pedophiles http://bit.ly/9Ive0D via @GoodAsYou #lgbt

UPDATE BY EDEN: A few folks in the comments have posted Rob Tisinai’s brilliant video that sets the record straight on the outrageous “pedophilia” comparisons spread by Pastors like Brad Brandon:

UPDATE BY EDEN: So, will NOM condemn the previous statements made by Pastor Brad Brandon? Or is NOM more than happy to provide a (prominent?) platform for this virulent strain of bigotry?

127 Comments July 28, 2010

NOM outnumbered again: Despite largest turnout of tour, NOM fails to outdraw equality supporters in St. Paul, MN

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Today, NOM Tour Tracker is coming to you from the Twin Cities. Our team is on the ground in St. Paul, MN, the 11th stop on the NOM tour. And for once, NOM did a decent job of getting its supporters out.

In the largest NOM turnout to date, I hand-counted 163 NOM supporters before I stopped to file this blog post. And Brian Brown’s just giddy about  it.

“They told us, you can’t protect [traditional] marriage in California,” he said, laughing.  “We passed it […] They said Maine is a [liberal] state, we beat them worse.”

Despite this, NOM supporters were still outnumbered by supporters of equality. A hand-count total of 217 equality supporters showed up to outnumber NOM supporters. The largest contingent of equality supporters stood behind the NOM rally before marching up the steps and inside the State House for a rally. 33 equality supporters have stayed behind, silently holding signs and rainbow flags. Brian acknowledged the local equality organizations’ commitment to have a “peaceful and respectful” counter-protest.

I videotaped one NOM supporter approach the young children of a lesbian counter-protestor with a magic trick.  He held up a red and blue card.

“Which card is longer?”

The guardian of the children intervened.

“Don’t talk to my children.”

The man demonstrated the card trick for me.  On the back are a copy of the Ten Commandments.

We’ll post that video later today. Below is a photo of the anti-equality rally:

Anti-equality supporters in St. Paul

UPDATE BY ADAM (10:51 PST): More photos are coming in. Here’s one of the rally inside the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda (which I recently learned has the 2nd-largest self-supporting marble dome in the world… you can guess the largest in the comments):

Pro-equality rally inside the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda

Equality supporters outside:

St. Paul, MN: All men are created equal

Equality supporters in St. Paul, MN

Here’s a photo of equality supporters remaining outside the NOM bus:

Equality supporters outside the NOM rally

UPDATE BY ADAM (11:32 PST): Minnesota Public Radio reports that NOM is airing TV ads targeting candidates in the Minnesota gubernatorial race:

The question of whether to legalize same-sex marriage has come up in the governor’s race. The National Organization for Marriage began airing TV ads targeting the gubernatorial candidates in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, including Democrats Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza and Independent Tom Horner.

Same-sex marriage came up again as an issue on Tuesday after campaign finance reports showed Target Corp. gave money to an organization backing Republican Tom Emmer for governor. Emmer has opposed efforts to give same-sex couples equal rights, including letting them marry.

Target, which has supported the GLBT community, responded to complaints over the donation, saying its support of the community is ‘unwavering.’

Same-sex marriage isn’t likely to be on the minds of many primary voters, but once the slate of candidates is decided Aug. 10, it’s possible voters could hear more about it.

Advocates in favor of same-sex marriage believe it could become legal in Minnesota if voters elect a DFL governor and if the DFL Party is able to keep its majority in the state Legislature.

Meanwhile, a group of same-sex couples has filed a lawsuit to try to get the court’s to overturn Minnesota’s law against same-sex marriage. That effort could take several years to run its course.

This is why turning out to counter NOM’s message is so important. While NOM’s ads are on TV in Minnesota, real people are on the ground showing the strength of their support for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

UPDATE BY ADAM (11:41 PST): Elsewhere, the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports on Brian Brown’s comments (h/t to Lesbians Love Boies in the comments for the link):

NOM President Brian Brown praised Minnesota’s gay marriage advocates for avoiding a confrontation. “We need to have civil debate. This is an emotional issue,” Brown said. “In other cities, we have not seen this kind of civility.”

Brown said he wants to see Minnesota join the states that have passed a constitutional marriage protecting traditional marriage. “We want Minnesota to be number 32,” he said.

Editorial note: Minor typo in the Star-Tribune piece which I believe should read “constitutional amendment

Two notes. First is that Brian is incorrect that 31 states have passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Last fall, Maine voted to repeal a law which was enacted by the duly elected legislators and governor of the state, which is different than a constitutional amendment. Second, while many states have enacted such bans, other states like Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, enacted equality through the legislative process, while other jurisdictions like California, New York and the District of Columbia voted to legalize the freedom to marry in one or more houses of the legislature.  The point is that people like Brown always complain about judicial activism and demand that legislators vote, and when the duly elected legislators of the state go against them, they complain about that and demand a people’s vote. One day, they will run out of that excuse, too.

UPDATE BY ARISHA (3:08 PST): OutFront Minnesota held a short press conference and rally inside the rotunda of the Capitol building.  Speakers, including several OutFront organizers, an out lesbian minister, and a straight father, addressed the crowd.  Inside, 184 equality activists gathered.

“The National Organization for Marriage has launched a nation-wide campaign attacking the notion of fairness and equality for same-sex couples,” Monica Meyer, Interim Executive Director of OutFront Minnesota said in a statement.  “This backward-looking effort is increasingly out of step with the realities on the ground and the opinions of many Minnesotans. Supporters of marriage equality will be inside the Capitol, where we are at other times of the year, standing for equality and inclusion.”

“How do I explain to my grandchildren that when they cross a state line that this is grandma’s wife, but when [we] cross back over the state line, it’s like we’re invisible?” the minister asked the audience.

“I’m here today because I have a son and I don’t know if my son will be gay or straight, but whatever he chooses I want him to have the same rights as all as his friends do,” said the straight father.

An OutFront Minnesota organizer led a familiar and moving chant (one that we often to do with Courage Campaign members, and my personal favorite organizing chant of all time):

“It is our duty to fight.  It is our duty to win.  We must love each other and protect each other.  We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

At the conclusion of the equality event, activists went back outside, lined the NOM rally in a semi-circle and turned their backs to the speakers in a silent counter-protest.

Outside, Brian Brown was giddy and despite his insistence otherwise, even his speakers are becoming more fringe.

“America is becoming a nation of bastards,” one NOM speaker stated from the podium to applause from the crowd.  “You can dress a pig in a tuxedo, but it’s still a pig,” he continued.

We also met with Father Michael Becker, a Catholic priest whose main argument against homosexuality was centered around the practice of anal and oral sex.  According to Father Becker, anal and oral sex lack dignity because they abuse their partners as instrumentalities of pleasure for non-procreative potential.

He said it, not me.

We’ll upload this video and others, including Brown’s response to whether he endorsed lynching homosexuals (as suggested by a NOM supporter in Indianapolis).

UPDATE BY ADAM (3:47 PST): I’ve got to share a few videos with you, the first being possibly the most moving and powerful one, from an OutFront Minnesota organizer. Watch her lead the crowd in a chant and her speech about why we fight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcCTDSZAeYk]

And

In the extended entry, you can find an interview with Monica Meyer, the interim executive director of OutFront Minnesota whom Arisha quotes above. Click on (more…):

(more…)

239 Comments July 28, 2010

Amid being outnumbered again in St. Paul, NOM robodials for dollars

By Adam Bink

Today, despite the largest turnout of the tour, NOM was yet again outnumbered by pro-equality  supporters today in St. Paul, Minnesota. Amid this news and other problems NOM has encountered overall on the tour, NOM is radioing in- or should we say, phoning in- for help.

We learned today that NOM, in advance of their planned stop in Des Moines this upcoming Sunday, is running robocalls in Iowa asking for matching funds to a $2 million “challenge grant” they have received, according to the Newton Independent. The funds will be used to “oust state lawmakers and judges who do not oppose same-sex marriages.” We at NOMTourTracker.com have heard tell of the same calls being run in Wisconsin, as well, but no confirmation yet.

No doubt NOM chose, at least in part, these states to run calls in because it currently has some of the highest visibility among potential supporters in those places at this time. And no doubt NOM is using the tour and its publicity to help raise money for this challenge grant. Given the big dose of #FAIL that NOM has swallowed in stop after stop, it remains to be seen how effective that will be.

Folks in the comments, if you have received robocalls, or reports of them from family/friends/colleagues who have, please send details to NOMtour@couragecampaign.org (NOMtour AT couragecampaign DOT org). Audio files or transcriptions are particularly helpful.

22 Comments July 28, 2010

Next page Previous page