The Anti-Gay Movement Are Their Own Worst Enemies

What Women Really Think
Aug. 1 2012 5:01 PM

Anti-Gay Rights Arguments Especially Transparent

The gay lobby.
Opponents of Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage bill, celebrate outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif.

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One constant in American history is that the notion that all people deserve full human rights is enshrined in our image of ourselves, making it very difficult for those who would like to set aside certain groups as undeserving of rights to make their arguments. The strategy that's evolved in response to this conundrum, then, is for opponents of this or that human right to set up a distraction, and pretend the argument is about that instead of about basic human rights. Defenses of slavery and then of Jim Crow turned into arguments about "states' rights." Instead of boldly denying that women have a right to choose when and if they give birth, anti-feminists staked an implausible claim about their deep and lasting love for mindless embryos. But for the anti-gay movement, this time-honored technique of creating a distraction hasn't worked out.

Nowhere is this more evident than this comically surreal battle between NOM spokesperson Jennifer Roback Morse and the liberal news blog ThinkProgress. To recap: Morse thinks she's stumbled on a marvelous way to distract from her overt homophobia by claiming that opposition to the "gay lobby" can't be equated with being anti-gay. ThinkProgress translated this stance as: "NOM: Opposing Gay Rights Doesn’t Make Someone Anti-Gay." This cheeky headline can basically be a stand-in from roughly every conservative who somehow thinks if they wave their hands hard enough, people will stop believing that they oppose giving rights to gay people because they have something against gay people. But it's really sent Morse spinning, and she's insisting angrily that one simply cannot equate opposing the "gay lobby" with being against gay rights.

Advertisement

In theory, of course, that's possible. You could, in theory, be opposed to the gay lobby because you don't think they're doing enough for GLBT people, for instance. But Morse's protestations don't really make a lot of sense, since her stated reason for opposing gay rights is flibbertigibbet: 

The subject of my original article in The Blaze was my claim that removing the gender requirement from marriage would result in the state insisting that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. I believe that this will impact men and women differently, and that the net result will be the further marginalization of fathers from the family.

In other words, she's arguing that if dudes can marry dudes, that means women will kick their husbands out because of dancing angels on a pinhead. And she's mad that others are skeptical of her reasoning.

Really, the anti-gay movement ought to be ashamed. They're doing a dishonor to a long history of American reactionaries coming up with disingenuous rationales for their hostility to equal human rights. The brilliant con artists who came up with the idea of using "states' rights" to cover up for their naked interest in preserving slavery are looking up from hell and wondering if all the inventiveness of the American reactionary died with Jerry Falwell. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Video

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

Subtle cues from FedEx, Amazon, and others.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

A No-Brainer Approach to Fighting Poverty: Better Birth Control

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 12:22 PM Poverty Rate Falls for First Time Since 2006, Remains Way Too High
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 12:30 PM How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:33 PM Slate Exclusive: Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.