Over the past couple weeks, we’ve followed the NOM tour of hate, via the excellent coverage from the Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker.
Today, the hate tour arrived in my town.
Overall, the mood at the Big Commit was upbeat. It was a group of people who just want to be equal. There was no overt hatred towards anyone.
Then, I ventured with Kerry Eleveld over to the East Lawn of the Capitol to see the NOM event. There couldn’t have been a more stark contrast. While The Big Commit was about acceptance and equality, NOM’s rally was about hate and diviseness.
I know that NOM’s tour has been a bust. They’ve attracted tens of fellow haters at most stops. But, considering DC now has marriage equality — and given that some of the leading foes of marriage had teamed up with NOM — I thought there would be a pretty big crowd greeting Brian Brown. Nope. There were way more people at the pro-equality event.
And, the tenor. Wow.
I missed the keynote speech from Brian Brown. Maggie Gallagher was a no-show. Although, I didn’t miss Brown entirely. He made a strong pitch for his 2M4M campaign (watch Andy Cobb’s video for more on 2M4M):
Walter Fauntroy, a DC pol, gave a speech that seemed to veer off message. He kept talking about how he wants equality for all, including gays (but, not marriage.) And, he went off on the GOPers for using gay marriage as a wedge issue in 2004. Fauntroy railed about how that gave us four more years of Bush and Cheney (Yes, the GOP did use gay marriage as a wedge issue. No, it’s not why Bush won, but, whatever, I don’t think Maggie and Brian expected one of their speakers to be bashing Republicans.)
During his speech, Fauntroy was yelling that he had something to say to gays and lesbians. Then he said, “No one has right to impose their view of family on anyone else.” I’m pretty sure that was the exact quote, which was odd, since that is what our side thinks. I asked him about it later. Here’s the interview. As you can see, when we were talking, Fauntroy initially denied the quote. But, another reporter who was standing nearby told Fauntroy that was what he said:
NOM and its supporters are imposing their definition of family and marriage on the rest of us. They don’t seem to get that.
As we were leaving, Wendy Wright from Concerned Women from America walked by. I said, Wendy Wright. Not kidding, her face lit up. She was, after all, among her fellow homophobes. Then I told her, I loved watching Chris Matthews clean the floor with you on Hardball. And, I did. She said that’s not what people told her (I imagine the people who told her she did a good job live in her extreme gay-hating orbit. Because in the real world, she looked pretty extreme. Matthews basically called her a homophobe. But, judge for yourself. The vide is here.)
After the NOM event, I really felt like I needed a shower. These people are filled with hatred towards the LGBT community. They can claim otherwise, but it’s clear. They’re driven by hatred.
The one good part of the NOM rally was that I met Arisha Michelle Hatch. She’s been the superstar of the Courage Campaign’s tracking tour. I have to give her and the Courage Campaign major kudos for providing such excellent coverage of the tour. I watched part of one of these NOM rallies and felt nothing but disgust. I can’t imagine what it was like to see their hatred spewed day after day.
I think it’s important for the LGBT community and our allies to realize that NOM and its followers represent an extreme point of view. They try to sugarcoat their homophobia, but it’s hard to hide.
We know more and more Americans are supportive of full LGBT equality. And, we know some are struggling with it. But, if given the choice, I don’t think those folks want to sidle up to the haters. It’s not a comfortable place to be.