A Dispatches reader attends one of the stops on the National Organization
Against For Marriage bus tour and reports about it on their blog. A few interesting tidbits:
Walking up State Street to the Capitol building, one couldn’t miss the enormous NOM bus, bedecked with stock photos of smiling heterosexual couples and children. Nor could one miss the dozens of protesters who had amassed on the corner of State and Third Streets, chanting for LGBT rights and cheering at passing motorists who honked or gave them thumbs-up. Most of the roughly fifty protesters wore red shirts and carried signs denouncing NOM’s homophobia, such as “LOVE + COMMITMENT = MARRIAGE”. My personal favorite read, “C is for closed-mindedness, that’s good enough for NOM”, with a picture of Cookie Monster wolfing down cookies to the sound of “nom-nom-nom-nom-nom”.
Love that sign.
However, we were not the only demonstrators in attendance. An elderly man nearby toted a yellow sign decrying the “abomination” of same-sex marriage. He took a photo of us, for which we laughed, waved, and held up our signs proudly.
He wasn’t the only anti-gay protester. A gaggle of about ten men, wearing suits, ties, and red capes over their shoulders, gathered across the street and held signs condemning gay marriage.
“Who are they?” I asked a fellow protester.
“Bull fighters?” she speculated.
I later found out that these men belonged to the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, a conservative Catholic organization with headquarters in Pennsylvania. The red-caped men erected a red standard that read “TRADITION FAMILY PROPERTY” and held it aloft a pole for the duration of the rally.
That’s an organization I’d never heard of. I’m always amused when political organizations feel the need to have costumes.
The NOM rally itself drew about 75 people, but how many of them came with the NOM bus and how many attended from the surrounding area is unclear. NOM’s rhetoric during the rally was a fascinating study in hypocrisy and projection. Speakers lamented how the LGBT community was trying to “silence” them; how the judge who overturned Proposition 8 “ignored” the voices of millions of California voters; how the sanctity of heterosexual marriage was being disregarded. The speakers’ rhetoric framed opponents of marriage as persecuted victims fighting to have their voices heard and their principles honored. The fact that it is the LGBT community that actually faces persecution and struggles to be heard seemed to have escaped them. (I’ve found that fundamentalists often depict themselves as victims when the culture wars don’t go their way, but that’s another story.)
Exactly right. Their strategy is to paint themselves as persecuted victims whenever they are prevented from persecuting others.