As marriage equality marches forward, NOM forced to defend its positions

In the wake of the Washington State Legislature’s vote in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn California’s Prop 8, which rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples, representatives of the National Organization for Marriage were put on the defensive in a number of media appearances.

During an appearance on The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann, host Hartmann asked Gallagher if banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples harmed those couples and the LGBT community as a whole.

“The work you are doing is causing, for many people, considerable pain and misery in their lives,” he said. “How do you reconcile that?”

“I’ve certainly always tried to make my arguments in ways that are respectful of people who disagree,” Gallagher responded. “When people say that ‘This is causing me a lot of pain,’ all I can say I say is, ‘I’m sorry; that is not my intention.’ But I think America is a country where we have to go out and fight for what we believe is right and good.”

Gallagher also appeared on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes, where one of the panelists asked her how same-sex marriage is harming the institution of marriage.

“It’s not like there’s something else called marriage which is stability that I’m trying to deny to gay couples,” Gallagher replied. “If you want to be a husband, if you want the title, you need to take on the work of loving a woman and any children that she has. That’s what marriage is.”

Another panelist questioned Gallagher about NOM’s postings about “ex-gay therapy.

“It’s true that I am a Roman Catholic, so I probably don’t agree with you on questions of sexual morality,” said, while insisting that NOM is not trying to change people’s sexual orientation.

Immediately, progressive bloggers scoured the Web to find several examples of NOM and Maggie Gallagher insinuating that sexual orientation may be changeable.

Speaking at the CPAC conference this weekend, NOM board chair John Eastman complained that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision, if left to stand, would have “catastrophic consequences for civil society.”

“This is a fight we have to have,” he said. In a remark directed to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Eastman said, “Do you want to be the critical vote that would destroy the institution that has been the bedrock of civil society since time immemorial?”

The American Independent’s Sofia Resnick has an in-depth look at NOM’s activities during this weekend’s CPAC conference: National Organization for Marriage co-founder says equality does not require benefits for gay couples.

NOM President Brian Brown debated Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry on New York’s ABC Channel 7 about New Jersey’s vote on marriage equality (on Monday the New Jersey Senate passed the bill).

Brown argued that if New Jersey does not pass an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution, religious liberty for government employees will be compromised. As an example he talked about justices of the peace in New York.

“It affects everyone,” he said. “Clearly there’s been impact, impact on justices of the peace who don’t want to, because of their religious beliefs, marry a same-sex couple.”

Wolfson responded: “People who receive government salaries, who take an oath to serve the people of New York in the performance of their jobs, will be told they have to perform their jobs. … When you take a government job and say you are going to serve all New Yorkers, you have to serve all New Yorkers.

Banner photo: National for Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown speaks at NOM’s 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour, July 27, 2010 (source: Flickr/Lost Albatross).

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