Ever-changing “democracy” arguments against the freedom to marry

January 13, 2011 at 7:42 am 61 comments

By Adam Bink

Via NOMBlog, here’s Brian Brown pontificating:

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown believes the renewed push for redefining marriage in both [Maryland and Rhode Island] is a reaction to pro-values gains throughout the country.

“In most states we have positive legislation to protect marriage,” stated Brown.

So far, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota and Wyoming are all working to repeal or ban same-sex marriage. Maryland Republican lawmakers are also introducing an inclusive civil union law as an alternative to same-sex marriage.

Brown said gay rights advocates are now desperate. “I think supporters of redefining marriage are looking [at] any place they can gain ground,” he shared.

Brown believes attempts in both Rhode Island and Maryland will come up short. In Rhode Island, Brown said, “The people just don’t want same-sex marriage.” Brown pronounced the same sentiment to be true in heavily Democratic Maryland.

In the event that the Maryland state legislature tries to approve a gay marriage bill, he said NOM will work with advocates on the ground to collect the signatures necessary for a referendum.

“In every state where the people had the chance to vote, in both deep blue and deep red states, they have voted against same-sex marriage,” Brown emphasized.

The thing I find most interesting is the shifting ground beneath NOM’s feet. Years ago you wouldn’t have seen anti-marriage lawmakers introducing civil union legislation- which they did in Maryland this week- but now that’s become the appeasement position. Recall when President Bush, in the last weeks before the 2004 election, hinted at his support for civil unions. Perhaps that’s come full circle. Of course, civil unions are no replacement for full equality.

The other thing I find interesting is the shifting nature of arguments. First it was that “courts” are redefining marriage- in Massachusetts, Iowa, elsewhere. Then the elected representatives of the people- from the California legislature to Maine to DC and elsewhere began voting for full equality- and so anti-equality advocates’ arguments changed to “yes, well, but the people don’t support equality!” Then polling figures from independent institutions showed that in states like Iowa, as well as nationwide, majorities of the public supported the freedom to marry. And so the argument changed to “yes, well, but the people haven’t voted for marriage!” Which is where we are today.

At some point in the future, we will win a ballot vote. And then we’ll all be curious to see what the new “democracy” argument against equality will be.

Entry filed under: Right-wing.

Maggie calls us gloaters, then pulls post. Which kind of makes us wanna gloat, frankly. Pining for the days of the Brian Brown spin machine

61 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rev. Will Fisher  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Well done, Adam!

    • 2. Ann S.  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:49 am


      • 3. JonT  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

  • 4. Peterplumber  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Didn’t one of the New England states vote for SSM??

    Also, let them implement civul unions for us. That gives us more ammo to take to court on the “seperate but equal” grounds, which has always ended up in a ruling in our favor.

    • 5. Michelle Evans  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

      I believe the only one that voted on this question in New England was Maine, with their Question 1, and it lost, taking away the right of marriage equality.

    • 6. Bill J.  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Not yet, but Arizona voters defeated a marriage limitation amendment in 2006. So the claim they have won “in every state” requires the asterisk that they haven’t won in every voter referendum, but have in every state, provided they’ve had the opportunity to keep putting it back before the voters when they lose.
      They certainly would not win a public referendum in RI, but fortunately it won’t come to that, because in RI, a referendum question has to be approved by the legislature first, which isn’t going to happen.

  • 7. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:57 am

    @At some point in the future, we will win a ballot vote. And then we’ll all be curious to see what the new “democracy” argument against equality will be

    reminds me of McCain’s shifting arguments against DADT subs

    • 8. Ed  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

      We already know what Bryan wants to do, he’s already stated it….He wants to amend the US Constitution……

      • 9. anonygrl  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:14 am

        Which is not going to happen. We know that he absolutely does not have the amount of support required for that to occur.

        His SUPPORTERS however, don’t understand a) the governmental process , b) the math and c) the legal ramifications that are involved, and so they blindly continue to give him money when he makes those sorts of noises.

      • 10. Evelyn J. Brooks  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:16 am

        That ship has sailed though, hasn’t it. If marriage inequality activists can’t win the battle of rhetoric then there’s nothing left for them. No congressman is going to support a bill if their constituents can no longer support it. Then again, the entire Republican party filibustered DADT repeal at a time when 80% of the country supported it.

    • 11. Tasty Salamanders  |  January 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      I think that gives us the answer about how NOM will react when the voters allow marriage equality; a bunch of angry ranting and going on about how this is a sad day, etc, bullshit, etc.

      I also see them then trying to take the vote to court saying some bullshit about it, only to be rejected and then claim the court isn’t protecting the people because it wouldn’t overturn laws voted in by the people.

      *Sits back and waits for NOM to self-compress into a black hole*

  • 12. James  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Mr Brown is wrong in stating that New Mexico is working to either ban or repeal same sex marraige. It is true that for the next 4 years we will have a governor who believes marriage is between a woman and a man. I have no choice but to accept this. However there has been no mention of banning or otherwise.

  • 13. Bluprntguy  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:28 am

    “[in Rhode Island t]he people just don’t want same-sex marriage.”

    This is patently false. Recent polls (at least 2) have shown 60% support. Sounds like lies intended to harm gays and lesbians (aka actions of a hate group)

  • 14. Kathryn Howie  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Marriage = Two not closely related adults, forming a new next of kin family relationship in civic law with free and mutual consent.

    How does that affect you exactly?
    Unless you freely and mutually consent to be one of those two people.
    Not at all – right?

    Now we need someone to print the T-shirts.

  • 15. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Shouldn’t they just concentrate on Holy Matrimony and leave marriage alone?

  • 16. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Brown said gay rights advocates are now desperate.


    • 17. 415kathleenk  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Yes! my thoughts exactly! Projection is a major feature in all anti-marriage equality propaganda- starting with the canard of us ‘damaging marriage’ You don’t need a degree in psychology to see this neurosis at work. They all need about a million years of therapy. I often think about how unhappy and mentally unhealthy all these folks are. It almost makes me feel sorry for them. Almost…

      • 18. allen  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

        False Brian. There appears to be growing confidence on our end in marriage equality winning at the ballot with each passing day. That dreaded pessimistic feeling we always share whenever a new ballot is on the horizon is beginning to fade. I think they see this and are lying about their perception.

        We all agree here that who marries who shouldn’t be put to a vote ever, but it’s hard to deny our movement’s growing confidence, not only regarding the ballot but also from all angles of this issue.

    • 19. JonT  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      Ha! Exactly what I thought too :)

  • 20. James Sweet  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Echoing first what Adam said about civil unions being a wholly inadequate solution… let me point out that civil unions wouldn’t even be on the table as a compromise position if it weren’t for those who were willing to take the then-extreme position of extending full marriage rights to everyone.

    Remember that the next time someone tells you that you will sabotage your message if you are too extreme. Oh, on its face that assertion makes sense… but the evidence just does not support it.

    • 21. Lightning Baltimore  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

      They’re also inadequate because they’re still too much for NOM.

  • 22. Lightning Baltimore  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Was it NOM or another group that vowed that, should the voters of Iowa approve marriage equality, they would still work to have it overturned? They don’t give a rat’s butt about how our government was designed (to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority) or the will of the people (if it doesn’t mesh with theirs). My gut feeling is they want us gone, either back in our discarded closets or just plain dead.

  • 23. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

    You are so right. NOM and their ilk are constantly changing how they frame their message in their attempts to continue oppressing us. They will use any deceptive tactic they can find in order to keep us in third class citizenship status. And they are so blinded by their self-righteous indignation that they refuse to see that they are losing ground on a daily basis. More and more, they are beginning to sound like Fred Phelps and the other fringe elements who are nothing more than CINO’s.

  • 24. Dave in ME  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I heard on NPR (or Maine Public Broadcasting) that New Hampshire Republicans have decided that there are more important things for them to concentrate on this term, such as the economy and jobs. http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/01/13/new-hampshire-marriage/

    Also, yes, there was in vote in Maine to reject the new law, which was the first marriage equality bill signed into law by a governor. The state of Maine allows a people’s veto of any new law as long as a minimum number of signatures are delivered before a deadline. We lost the vote, but it was hardly a mandate against marriage equality. The numbers were similar to those in California with ~53% rejecting the new law.

    Dave in Maine

  • 25. JPM  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Anyone have a link to the poll referred to in the article which showed that a majority of Iowans support freedom to marry?

    • 26. Juli  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:10 am

      here ya go!

      • 27. JPM  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:50 am


      • 28. JPM  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

        Unfortunately, that poll seems to have been conducted by Research 2000, the non-discredited polling firm. And so the results are at best suspect, if not worthless.

    • 29. RockyMissouri  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

      They do…! You can get the Blog for Iowa and see for yourself.. Conservative and religious money is pouring in to scare people, so they’ll vote republican.. Good gawd.!

  • 30. Kathleen  |  January 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

  • 31. karen in kalifornia  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Why is Bryan Brown so proud to be working to harm GLBT families?

    • 32. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Because he thinks he is doing it to honor the name of Rabbi Yoshua ben Yosef of Nazareth. Yes, he has been that brainwashed over his life time. Of course, there is also the nice tidy salary he makes by doing so, and he has to keep that salary coming in so that he can pay his mortgage and pay for the upcoming college tuition for six children.

      • 33. anonygrl  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        I think it is seven. He just recently spawned again.

    • 35. Ronnie  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Brainless Brian Brown Suit:

      1) NOBODY is redefining marriage…stop lying.
      2) The Equality side is the only pro-values side….you, Brian Brown, have no decent human values what-so-ever.
      3) In the anti-gay, anti-freedom states you only have negative legislation to diminish marriage to nothing but selfish elitist worthless heterosexual supremacy….not to mention that in most of those states : divorce rate is the highest, crime rate (including hate crimes) is the highest, suicide rate is the highest, economies are the worst, I can go on forever listing negative aspects about those states….Sure, there are some positive things about them but Heterosexual only marriage is NOT one of them….. Furthermore, just to play on your religious predispositions, the most destructive & life threatening natural disasters occur in the most anti-gay states of this country…some food for thought….how about you spend NOM’s money on helping those people…oh wait…then what would you line your pockets with?
      4) In Iowa & New Hampshire…your push to take away rights from tax paying American Citizens, attack their families & attack their children are going to cause more lawsuits that will drain the economies of those states.
      5) No, Brian Brown, it is you that is getting desperate, your entire diatribe wreaks of desperation…..so sad.
      6) Again, Brian, stop lying. We have seen the polls in Rhode Island & Maryland…..all branches of government at this time & the majority of the people in those states support Marriage Equality…..It is amusing that the only time you turn to the polls is when they are in your favor, Brian…careful, your inconsistency is showing.
      7) So if Maryland legalizes Marriage Equality & becomes the true image of American Freedom you are going to push to take rights away from tax paying American Citizens, attack their families & their children?……well at least you are consistent in that respect…you wish to harm people who will not bow down to you….I mean your selfish desire to turn this country into Theocratic Dictatorship.

      Brian = Desperate FAIL……just saying…..<3…Ronnie

      • 36. Ronnie  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

        Apologies…that was not meant to be a reply to you Karen…I was going to reply at first….but decided to do a full post…anyway…I agree with what Richard said….<3…Ronnie

      • 37. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

        Brown said gay rights advocates are now desperate. “I think supporters of redefining marriage are looking [at] any place they can gain ground,” he shared.

        And he is absolutely right… except that “supporters of redefining marriage” are the bigots who feel compelled to legislate select minority groups out of it, namely himself and fellow NOMnuts.

  • 38. Peterplumber  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I was living in Washington during the Ref 71 campaign. The state legislature had put thru a bill, which the governor then signed, expanding the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners. It was called the Everything But Marriage bill. A group calling themselves “Protect Marriage, Washington” stepped in to try to block this bill from becoming law. They used the referendum process to put a question on the ballot, should the bill be repealed or let go. The popular vote eventually let the bill become law.

    My point tho, is that the arguments PMW used to try to squash this bill were much the same points NOM et. al. use to try to stop SSM. They said it would destroy the institution of marriage, and harm children. The funny part tho, was the infighting in the group. Some said to let the bill go thru and to save money & other resources for blocking the SSM fight which was sure to follow passage of this bill. Because even THEY know that “separate but equal” won’t hold up in court.

    Here is a blurb from the PMW site:

    SB 5688 was packaged and presented to the legislature as a Domestic Partnerships expansion of benefits. In truth, it will demolish the state’s historical understanding and definition of marriage as that of uniting a man and a woman for life as Washington State will immediately become subject to litigation by same-sex partners demanding that the courts overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and impose “same-sex marriage” (as happened recently in California prior to Proposition 8).

    • 39. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Can someone close the or tag?

      • 40. Andrew  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

        Scribing and hopefully closing (?)

        • 41. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

          That would be a great thing Andrew

          • 42. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

            I’ve tried </b> and </strong> but neither makes a difference now.

        • 43. Kathleen  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

          We’ve had this happen before and I’ve never understood exactly what makes it happen, nor what would correct it. I’ve forgotten to close tags before and it doesn’t break the site. But whatever it is, it seems to be something that needs to be corrected by a site admin.

          There are still a couple of old threads in which the comments are all in italics.

          • 44. Peterplumber  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:14 am

            I broke it. So sorry Sorry I can’t fix it.

          • 45. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

            It’s not a problem. I think the site just periodically likes the attention and does it to itself! : )

          • 46. Kathleen  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

            No worries! I’ve forgotten to close tags before; it’s doesn’t always break it. :)

    • 47. Meagan  |  January 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Does it automatically delete the closing tags that people are trying to put in? I’m not seeing them in the page source. Odd.

  • 48. Ed  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Here is what the vote in Iowa essentially did….
    A minority (any minority….pick one) files a case, which is a really strong case….it comes before the high court, and the 7 judges are debating the merits of the case, when one of the judges says…..hold up….yeah i know this case is one that should win, but we can’t let it win because we can lose our jobs…..and we need our jobs. So we apologize, even though the case is a winner, we value our jobs…..

    Yeah, thats how this “checks and balance” thing is supposed to work…

    Bryan and Maggie, what if *you* were the minority in the above scenario?

    • 49. Ed  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Since I am banned from posting on NOM’s blog, would someone please cut and past what I typed and post it on their blog? Thanks :)

      • 50. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

        No point in trying to post on NOM’s blog. Anything that does not match their propaganda is moderated out of existence before a rational thinker could ever view it.

      • 51. anonygrl  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

        We are, many of us, banned from there Ed. Which is why we repost things over here all the time… so that Brian and Maggie and Louis will be sure to read them.

        Hi Brian! Hi Maggie! Hi Louis!

        • 52. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

          I know I am not banned – but I can’t bring myself to even try – just gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about it. Evil people deciding if I am worthy – ha!

  • 53. Sagesse  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Scribin’ and running. Be back later.

  • 54. Peterplumber  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Did I forget to close my HTML tag?

    • 55. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:45 am


      • 56. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

        I think it takes an admin to close it now.

  • 57. RockyMissouri  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I’m grateful Apple pulled the app…the NOM has no business telling other people how to live their lives….LGBT friends have every right to marry who they choose, and I have followed that with my speech, and most of all, my VOTE…!

  • 58. Mouse  |  January 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    In Rhode Island, Brown said, “The people just don’t want same-sex marriage.” Brown pronounced the same sentiment to be true in heavily Democratic Maryland.

    You know what? No one is forcing anybody to marry someone of the same gender. The people could just not get married to someone of their sex, while leaving the freedoms and liberties of those of us who do want to marry our husbands and enjoy all the legal ramifications of such a contract.

  • 59. Rhie  |  January 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Looks like a borked tag somewhere…


  • 60. John B.  |  January 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Here’s a comment I submitted to the NOM blog in response to their recent post “Supreme Court to Decide on D.C. Right to Vote on Marriage”; surprise surprise, this never made it out of “moderation” (nor have several other comments I’ve submitted):

    The fact remains that NOM failed–badly–to make this an issue in our last election. Despite predicting a voter backlash, NOT ONE councilmember who voted in favor of same-sex marriage was voted out of office, including those who were specifically targeted by NOM. NOM’s best candidate, Delano Hunter–who was also endorsed by the Washington Post!–was soundly trounced in the Democratic primary by an incumbent who isn’t even all that popular. We voted out one mayor who signed the same-sex marriage bill into law, only to replace him with a new mayor who was one of the councilmembers who had voted for that very bill. Do you think we don’t know who we’re voting for? Do you think we don’t know what issues the candidates support? These candidates were quite open and candid about supporting same-sex marriage and guess what? We voted for them anyway, and then we re-elected them. We elect our representatives to–gasp!–represent us, and if they go against our interests we have the ability to vote them out of office. And since recent polls show that a definite majority of DC residents are in favor of same-sex marriage, it’s hard to claim our DC council and mayor aren’t representing us.

    But Maryland minister Harry Jackson, NOM, and a very, very small number of religious activists want to get around that inconvenient legislative process by going to the courts to get their way–which is ironic, considering how unhappy NOM has been with the courts on this issue. But this isn’t about protecting the rights of the voters: make no mistake, NOM is taking this to the courts ONLY because they are counting on a majority of anti-gay DC voters to overturn same-sex marriage. Just one problem there: that majority doesn’t exist so be careful what you wish for.

    Let’s just say that the courts rule that DC must allow a referendum on the same-sex marriage bill. If a majority of voters fail to overturn it, will you leave DC? If the people finally speak on this issue, in what you apparently consider to be the only valid way, will you finally admit defeat, pull out, leave us alone, and stop seeking any and all possible ways to overturn same-sex marriage in Washington, DC?

    • 61. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      I have another question for NOM WRT to this: What in blue blazes gives a minster who is not even a DC resident the right to try and decide for the residents of DC anyway? If nothing else, the fact that he is a resident of Maryland should get his frivolities thrown out of court!


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