NOM: Marriage Equality Could Lead to Acceptance of Pedophilia
The National Organization for Marriage has smeared gay and lesbian families once more with a blog post written by the homophobic group’s president, Brian Brown, who suggested that one consequence of allowing committed same-sex life partners to formalize their relationship with civil marriage might be the court-sanctioned approval of pedophilia.
Brown attempted to build his argument around a nonexistent connection between gays and sexual predators that target children. An Aug. 19 Favstocks posting reported on the Brown-authored blog, noting that it started off talking about a publicity tour to promote the restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples only.
The blog then referenced NOM’s "marriage pledge," to which several GOP contenders for the Republican nomination in next year’s presidential election have signed on. Among them are anti-gay pols Michele Bachmann, and Mitt Romney, a Mormon. NOM has strong connections to the Mormon Church, and was a pivotal player in the deeply divisive 2008 campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California. The Mormon Church funneled an unprecedented amount of money and manpower into the state in support of the anti-gay measure, which yanked then-existing marriage rights out of the hands of gays and lesbians. The measure passed by a razor-thin margin, but was then found to be unconstitutional in federal court. That finding is now under appeal.
The marriage pledge in question asks candidates to promise to undertake a number of anti-gay actions if they should be elected to the presidency. Among them is an investigation into claims of intimidation and harassment by the GLBT community. The anti-gay right has made repeated claims that gays have targeted donors to ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 for retaliation and harassment. But similar conduct on the part of individuals acting out of anti-gay animus, as well as violent street crime targeting gays, has not been similarly addressed by fringe right anti-GLBT groups.
Brown’s blog then turns to a conference of mental health experts on the theme of "Pedophilia: Minor-Attracted Persons and the DSM: Issues and Controversies." The conference took place in Baltimore on Aug. 17.
"The DSM is the diagnostic manual that defines mental illness," Brown’s blog noted. "You probably recall that a key moment in the gay rights campaign was the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association, the organization that produces the DSM, to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses."
Having made that observation in lieu of determining any rational connection between the subjects of pedophilia and gays, Brown then made a leap of logic, going on to write, "Enquiring people want to know: Will pedophiles become ’minor-attracted persons’ in our culture? Will courts which endorse orientation as a protected class decide down the road that therefore laws which discriminate against ’minor-attracted persons’ must be narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest?"
Attempts to portray homosexuality as intrinsically entwined with pedophilia have been a favored tool of the anti-gay right since at least the 1950s, and gained a peak of prominence in 1977, when Anita Bryant launched the infamous "Save Our Children" crusade in response to an ordinance in Dade County, Florida that sought to protect GLBTs from discriminatory treatment.
However, the overwhelming majority of pedophiles self-identify as heterosexual. Moreover, pedophilia does not entail a sexual attraction based on gender, but rather on a prepubescent stage of physical development. Gays and lesbians, on the other hand, are sexually and romantically attracted to adult members of their own gender.
Even though pedophilia and homosexuality have no direct or causal link to one another, the anti-gay right has made a career of hammering on the insinuation that gays prey on children. Another common motif is the claim that gays "recruit" children into their ranks, although no scientific evidence exists to suggest that heterosexuals can be "turned" gay. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that homosexuality is an innate and congenital aspect of gays and lesbians, and cannot be "cured" because it is not a pathological condition. Rather, a sexual orientation toward one’s own gender seems to be part of the natural variation in human sexuality.
But the distinct issue of gays and lesbians seeking to marry same-sex partners in a civil ceremony and receive the plethora of rights that marriage bestows has been perpetually muddied by claims that civil marriage violates religious tenets, even when the individuals marrying belong to a different, or to no, faith tradition.
Moreover, anti-gay groups have issued an array of bizarre and unproven assertions about marriage equality. In addition to attempting to link homosexuality and pedophilia, anti-gay groups have posited that marriage equality would lead to legalization of group marriages, the marrying of close relatives, and weddings in which one "spouse" might be an animal or inanimate object.
Such claims involve an enormous simplification of the legal terms and definitions in play, and ignore the fact that marriage equality for gay and lesbian families is an entity in its own right, with no relation whatever to other marriage issues. But Brown’s blog entry glossed all of that over with glib generalizations about Biblical morality.
"When you knock over a core pillar of society like marriage, and then try to redefine Biblical views of marriage as bigotry, there will be consequences," Brown’s blog posting declared. "Will one of the consequences be a serious push to normalize pedophilia?"
The Favstocks article pointed out that material for "the conference NOM is referencing does not mention the word ’marriage’ even once. It doesn’t mention anything about the government recognizing particular relationships. The event has literally nothing at all to do with the push for marriage equality," an observation that dovetails with the fact that pedophilia has literally nothing to do with homosexuality.
Next: NOM’s Stand and Shifting Sand