Brian Bond on AIDS Awareness Day

WHITE HOUSE AIDS RIBBON 2009 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMBrian Bond — President Obama’s liaison to the LGBT community—wants
gay Americans to know Washington’s efforts to curtail HIV infection
among gay men.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Brian Brown added me to wall, then put up a wall. But verbal firebombs still make it over

Remember when NOM president Brian Brown, completely out of the blue, added yours truly to his Facebook “friends” list? Yea, well, an update: After I left one perfectly fair, in no way personal comment defending LGBT people against the typical misinformation, Brian removed me. No harm, since I never asked to be on his list anyway. And let’s get real: Do I really need to know how B-dog’s doing in Farmville or Bananagrams?

However, since I did comment that one time, I still get emails whenever people respond to what I say. Followup comments that say things like this:

201009091057

Stay classy, anti-equality!




Good As You

—  John Wright

NOM’s Brian Brown: ‘Mehlman abdicating core Republican beliefs’ – and more on the self-outing

I guess it’s all a matter of how you define “core,” Brian. He’s desperately trying to spin former RNC head and Bush campaign honcho Ken Mehlman’s coming out as both insignificant and minimizing the history of the GOP in fomenting anti-gay efforts in past political cycles. (The Advocate):

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told The Advocate that Mehlman was “abdicating core Republican beliefs” in his support for AFER’s legal effort in challenging Prop. 8. “But it’s never been about the leaders. It’s always been about the people, based on an overwhelming majority of Republican voters — 85, 86 percent — who support marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” he said. “That a few folks within the Republican Party are questioning a party platform and have personal positions on same-sex marriage is a reality of political parties. [Mehlman] is no longer a major party leader, so I don’t know how influential he is, to be honest with you.”

Marriage equality advocates, Brown said, are using high-profile conservatives now supporting marriage equality — from Ted Olson to vice president Dick Cheney — in order to “create an impression that there is an inevitability to same-sex marriage. The facts strongly go against that idea.”

Brown asserted that the RNC played a limited role in rallying the anti-gay marriage vote during the 2004 presidential elections, when Mehlman served as Bush-Cheney campaign manager. Eleven states passed constitutional amendments banning marriage rights for same-sex couples that year, including Ohio, which gave Bush a margin of victory over Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

“These [amendments] were pushed by people on the state level,” Brown said. “The whole notion that it was some top-down, Machiavellian ploy by the Republican Party is a farce.”

Come on, Brian, you need Maggie to help you out with a better line of spin. As Mike Signorile pointed out to WorldNetDaily’s unraveling Joseph Farah on the air, those polls on marriage equality are basically 50/50 and moving in the wrong direction from the fundie POV, so using that as the fig leaf for continuing the “save marriage” movement isn’t going to last much longer.

And as Jesus’ General Tweeted to me this evening:

@msignorile, @Pam_Spaulding, I have a feeling NOM’s Brian Brown will be “abdicating core Republican beliefs” at some point.

BTW, whatever you think about Mehlman’s pain-inducing past, the fundraiser for AFER is drawing big buck in for equality in the present:

Indeed, Mehlman’s first act as an out gay man will be hosting an AFER fundraiser next month to help support the case, which likely carries a price tag in the millions of dollars (the group has declined to disclose exactly how much).

Although the invitations have yet to be mailed, Mehlman told The Advocate Wednesday evening that just through pre-selling the event, they had already helped to raise about 0,000.

***

Some additional thoughts on Mehlman’s little coming out party…

* What does this mean for those of you out there who are still gagging about Mehlman officially “now on the team?” We are now moving into unchartered political territory, where strange political bedfellows have to decide what is in each other’s best interest.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m a fan of GOProud’s positioning it needs to receive credit for making aggressive moves to point out the hypocrisy of the religious right and to take out the fakers and players like Joe Farah, who cannot stand up to real scrutiny. The fact is that LCR was working “on the inside” and never had a strong impact says more about the org than the GOP. Jimmy LaSalvia and GOProud put the org out there early and often to challenge the right wing bible beaters, and it brought on board prominent conservatives to take the lead to show you can be pro-equality and Republican.

Seeing how little the LCR accomplished when it was the only game in town and GOProud pushing in the door to break the logjam so quickly is good news for us all, despite the differences we may have on non-LGBT policy. To acknowledge that is to simply state the obvious – our rights shouldn’t be a partisan endeavor; we’ve only had to see it that way because only one party was even making an attempt to move in the right direction. We need both parties doing so

* Does this change how you view AFER? Its success is due precisely because it addressed Prop 8 as a non-partisan issue with a conservative case for marriage to be opened to gay and lesbian couples. It’s only natural that marriage equality supporters of all political stripes should be welcome to support its work.

* Accountability: Just holding a coming out PR event and raising cash for AFER does not let Mehlman off of the hook. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he has, in 2009/2010, not changed his donation pattern, still giving generously to anti-gay Republicans, ostensibly because he’s “not a single issue voter.”

There’s ,400 to Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, who has voted to add a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage, as well as to ban gay adoption.

There’s ,400 to Sen. John McCain, who wants to keep gay servicemembers out of the military.

There’s ,000 to Ben Quayle, who is running for Congress in Arizona and who just labeled Barack Obama the worst President in history, and who just sent out a mailer to voters touting his opposition to marriage equality.

There’s ,400 to Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, who voted to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in place (and who himself is subject to lots of rumors about his sexual orientation).

There’s ,400 to Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett, who tried to stop marriage equality from becoming a reality in Washington, D.C.

And the list goes on and on and includes Republicans like Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte, Bob Corker, Richard Shelby, and Johnny Isakson, all of whom have taken positions completely contrary to full equality for LGBT Americans.

WTF? That’s got to stop pronto, Ken. As we’ve learned with the Dems, the only thing they respond to is withholding the dough. But perhaps this will be a slow lesson for him to learn. Use your power to support and cajole  candidates who are not personally anti-equality but are not yet willing to step out from behind their curtain of anti-gay positions. That’s how you can be effective. Will you take that role?

* Where do you think Ken stands on ENDA? Will he be speaking out on other issues?

* How will groups like HRC, which has been tied to the Democrat booty call for years, adapt to a diversifying political landscape? What about the DNC? I’m no clairvoyant, but at some point in the not-so-distant political future, you may see a significant number of wealthy LGBT donors breaking off and going GOP if it goes socially libertarian fiscal conservative. We already have a class divide in the LGBT community that largely goes undiscussed because it’s a third rail topic, but it does profoundly affectss what issues are given priority and the literal complexion of the faces of leadership. What will this mean for the movement?

No answers here, of course, just random thoughts I had as news trickled in. What are your thoughts?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Open Letter to Brian and Maggie: What About the Real Lives of LGBTs?

Dear Brian and Maggie,

I watched the recent video of Brian's discussion with Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and was left wishing that Brian had devoted more time to discussing the practical and real impact of marriage restrictions on gays and lesbians.

Both of you have spoken at length about your normative vision of ideal marital and child-rearing policies, as if we were deciding such policies in a vacuum.  We all know where you stand on the policy questions.

But you've never really addressed what should happen to existing gay and lesbian families.  See, your normative argument about how things should be ignores the practical lived experience of legally-married same-sex couples and of LGBT parents raising biological and adopted children.

And this omission, I believe, lies at the root of your public-relations difficulties.  So what can you do about it?

Well, you would go a long way toward building good will with the LGBT community if you would propose a meaningful alternative legal arrangement to govern their lives and families.  You oppose civil unions, domestic partnerships, and similar state-sponsored arrangements.  Are there any arrangements that you favor?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

And while you may not think that NOM should be in the business of offering alternatives, by treating marriage and the incidents of marriage as a zero-sum game, you practically beg for gays and lesbians to call you “bigots”–because you are lobbying for a restriction of their rights while refusing to offer up anything that's relevant to their actual lives.

Granted, Maggie has in the past suggested that LGBT couples could obtain the legal incidents of marriage through private contracts, wills, and similar personal legal documents.  But what about those incidents of marriage that can't be contracted into?  What about, for example, federal or state marital exemptions from gift tax or estate tax?  What about the spousal testimonial privilege?  There are no legal documents that can bestow these (and other) non-contractual legal benefits onto private individuals, absent state licensure or intervention.

In other words, benefits like these only attach to a “marriage.”  Should LGBT couples not have these benefits?  If they should, then how should they get them?  And would you lobby for the necessary legal changes?  If they shouldn't, why not?

Moreover, even if, arguendo, all of the benefits of marriage could be obtained through private contract, the average couple cannot afford the thousands of dollars needed to acquire the limited protection offered by, for example, a will or a power of attorney–both of which, legally speaking, are rather poor substitutes for marriage, as both are subject to facial legal challenges, whereas intestate succession and spousal power of attorney are conferred by law and can only be denied if the entire marriage is nullified.  Why should LGBT couples alone be required to bear this legal risk at a prohibitive cost?

By failing to offer a meaningful, viable alternative, you leave your critics with no choice but to question your motives.  I understand that being called a “bigot” offers you ample opportunity to play the victim card and to ply for attention and donations in the short term, but it's a remarkably short-sighted strategy.  You can only cry “wolf” so many times.  People will eventually tire of the hysterics.

So permit me to ask Rick's question one more time:  In light of the reality that several states have issued valid, legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and in light of the reality that many states permit LGBT couples and individuals to raise biological or adopted children, what do you propose?  Should we void or nullify all legal same-sex marriages?  Should we outlaw LGBTs from having biological children?  Should we outlaw LGBT adoption, whether as primary parent or as second parent?  Should we remove children from LGBT homes?

I invite you to clarify your position on this matter.

Regards,

JTW

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Brian Brown Vs. Rick Jacobs

Things got very heated when NOM’s Brian Brown finally met the Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs at the final stop on NOM’s Hate Tour in DC. WATCH THIS.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Brian Brown States That Perry Decision Is Critical

Note from Louise: This clip, taken July 14th prior to the NOM Summer Tour 2010 kick-off in Augusta ME, is one that we (Snooky and I) thought irretrievably lost to the computer gods- but found the other night that the files were indeed saved. 

Altogether there are 21 clips from that event available on my YouTube account; Snooky was able to get essentially the entire NOM rally including interviews Brian Brown granted with press media and local CBS affiliate WGME. 

Enjoy!

~Louise~

——————————————————- 

Brian Brown admits on camera:

Ultimately, the Perry case, which attempts to overturn Proposition 8 in California, would overturn ALL state marriage amendments, definitions of marriage. So it's a threat to ALL states, including Maine…I think everyone agrees that ultimately it's going to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

This isn't over. But it's a damn good start. Let those wedding bells ring!

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Brian Brown’s embarrassing NOM e-screed to supporters

The full e-screed by Brian Brown is after the jump. I thought I’d spare you that above the fold. After a bizarre and poorly attended NOM visit to Raleigh this week, he sends out an e-blast that sounds like a victory lap (with the required begging for cash).

Where are all these angry Americans who want to “save marriage” with Brian and Maggie? All I saw in Raleigh were some bored seniors and one unhinged woman from NOM’s The Ruth Institute.

Dear Friend of Marriage,

We’ve been busy. Our phone lines are flooded, and the emails are coming in loud and fast. As Rush Limbaugh said in his show on Prop 8, it is clear that “the American people are furious.” Judge Walker’s ruling has ignited a firestorm because it is the latest of a long string of insults and abuse directed at Americans whom the people with power in this country think they can abuse. They think they can ignore the voices and values of the American people, and boy, We the People are tired of it!

The media interviews are just one part of that story, but we have been determined to make sure that your voice and your values get heard in response to this ruling.

…”The American people are boiling. The American people are furious. My e-mails are unbelievable. This federal judge yesterday, this decision, Prop 8, California, has just put people over the edge, and all of these decisions are coming one after another from all corners of the federal government. It’s as if we have absolutely no say in what is going on all around us. Decisions are being made for us, in lieu of us and imposed on us….

“But what is a more fundamental right–a fundamental civil right in our system of government in a supposed republic–than the right to have our voice heard, to have our vote respected? You want to talk about civil rights? It doesn’t matter what the people of California vote. If the left doesn’t like it, they will use the bastardization of power in this country to reverse it. What about our vote being respected? Without that right, we’re no longer a republic.”


NOM Updates August 12, 2010
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Dear Friend of Marriage,

We've been busy. Our phone lines are flooded, and the emails are coming in loud and fast. As Rush Limbaugh said in his show on Prop 8, it is clear that "the American people are furious." Judge Walker's ruling has ignited a firestorm because it is the latest of a long string of insults and abuse directed at Americans whom the people with power in this country think they can abuse. They think they can ignore the voices and values of the American people, and boy, We the People are tired of it!

The media interviews are just one part of that story, but we have been determined to make sure that your voice and your values get heard in response to this ruling.

Anderson Cooper 360, CBN, Christianity Today, CBS News. ABC News, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN Headline News, USA Today, Janet Parshall's America, Wall Street Journal, Talk of the Nation, Lars Larson, National Review Online, the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle–even a hit from the Jon Stewart Show. (We LOVED that!–especially when the show crudely cut off Maggie's quote right before Maggie explains the reason she thinks Judge Walker is biased–because his rulings throughout this case have been so one-sided and unprecedented even the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit have had to step in to slap him down! But hey, we don't expect a comedian to let the facts get in the way of making a good joke.)

The joke is turning pretty sour, as more and more people are waking up to realize two things: first, that Judge Walker's opinion is so extreme, it's likely to make his ruling vulnerable on appeal. Second, that the American people are not going to appreciate, a few months before an election, being called irrational bigots by a federal judge in San Francisco.

I'm sure all his friends and buddies there are backslapping and high-fiving his words. The reason gay activists love the ruling is that it sounds like it was written by an activist, not by a neutral referee.

Prop 8 does not ban anything. It establishes in the California Constitution the historic understanding of marriage, after that understanding was overturned by the California supreme court. Prop 8 says, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Judge Walker overturned it on the grounds that no rational person could believe that marriage is a union of husband and wife.

Rush Limbaugh put it best: Judge Walker "did not just slap down the will of seven million voters. Those seven million voters were put on trial, a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. …Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That's what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented."

Yes it is.

The examples go on and on. But let me just pick one out for you that the mainstream media has totally overlooked. Take "fact" #79: "The Proposition 8 campaign relied on fears that children exposed to the concept of same-sex marriage may become gay or lesbian. The reason children need to be protected from same-sex marriage was never articulated in official campaign advertisements. Nevertheless, the advertisements insinuated that learning about same-sex marriage could make a child gay or lesbian and that parents should dread having a gay or lesbian child."

Translation: The campaign never actually said this, but Judge Walker ruled it is a fact anyway.
He can get inside the head of 7 million voters and determine–nothing in there worthy of respect.

Ed Whelan has pointed out the intellectually dishonest ways Judge Walker's opinion describes the actual record over at Bench Memos.

"Among the many distortions and falsehoods that Judge Vaughn Walker has tried to propagate through his anti-Prop 8 ruling," writes Whelan, "is his claim that the Prop 8 proponents … 'failed to build a credible factual record to support their claim that Proposition 8 served a legitimate government interest.' (Slip op. at 11.) Walker's claim, which many in the media evidently unfamiliar with the case have parroted, operates to divert attention from the manifest bias that he exhibited throughout the case and that pervades his ruling.

"But in fact the Prop 8 proponents offered a thorough case that Walker almost entirely ignored–a case resting on a broad array of judicial authority, recognized scholarship in various academic fields, extensive documentary evidence, and elementary common sense."

He goes on to cite one particularly egregious instance when Walker misdescribes what happened in his own courtroom. Chuck Cooper was arguing that the public purpose of marriage is responsible procreation. Walker asked him for evidence from the testimony. And Cooper proceed to cite the massive number of court cases in which judges have ruled this IS the state's interest in marriage.
Cooper then proceeded to present California cases stating (in Cooper's words, which may include direct quotations not reflected in the transcript's punctuation) that the "first purpose of matrimony by the laws of nature and society is procreation," that "the institution of marriage … channels biological drives … that might otherwise become socially destructive and … it ensures the care and education of children in a stable environment," and that (in a ruling just two years ago) "the sexual, procreative and childrearing aspects of marriage go to the very essence of the marriage relation."

Whelan goes on to point out, from a legal perspective, "Walker's question–'What testimony in this case supports the proposition?'–wasn't just flip. It was downright stupid–amazingly so, from a judge who has been on the bench for more than two decades. Even if one indulges the mistaken assumption that there was any need for a trial in the case (rather than its being disposed of, one way or the other, on summary judgment, with competing expert and documentary submissions), live witness testimony is merely one form of trial evidence. Exhibits submitted in evidence at trial are another form. And a judge is of course free to, and expected to, take judicial notice of certain facts."

Here's the zinger, the knockdown punch from Ed Whelan: A rational person "wouldn't know any of this from Walker's highly distorting clip of Cooper's statement–or from Olson's contemptible misrepresentation of it, or the media's mindless parroting of it."

He goes on to say "Walker's outrageous distortion on this point isn't an aberration. As I will show when I have time, it's representative of his entire modus operandi throughout his ruling."

Whew! Whelan 1, Walker nowhere after that round!

The list of voices criticizing Walker's opinions is growing. Many of them support gay marriage, but can recognize an overwrought opinion when they read it. Steve Chapman, a pro-gay-marriage libertarian columnist at the Chicago Tribune, called the decision "dismal" in its political and legal overreaching. "But it's silly to believe only nut jobs and bigots could rationally oppose same-sex marriage, or that millions of Californians who accept other laws protecting gays were acting irrationally." (Chapman also went on in the same column to endorse polygamy as the next change that should be made to marriage–although not by the courts–because after all, the same arguments apply equally well to polygamy or gay marriage.)

If you go to Prop8case.com you can follow along as we post all the scathing critiques emerging of Judge Walker's opinion–and a couple of great cartoons as well! My favorite shows the Founding Fathers gathered around a table, drafting the Constitution. "Let's put gay marriage here, in between abortion and socialized medicine," one of them says.

The media likes to say to us, Don't courts have a right to overturn laws? Well, yes, when they are actually against what's in our Constitution. The differences between gay marriage and interracial marriage are huge and one of them is this: Bans on racial discrimination are actually in our Constitution. The entire history of the 14th Amendment makes it clear that race is that amendment's central concern. Gay marriage? Well, even sensible liberals know that's a big stretch.

Not all the court news was bad. A federal judge just ruled for Protect Marriage Washington, agreeing that the names of people who sign on to the marriage amendment will not be released, at least not immediately. In Massachusetts and California, advocates of gay marriage put the names of known marriage supporters on websites that encouraged harassment, and in Washington state they threatened to do the same. Some of the leaders of Protect Marriage Washington have faced physical threats. The Supreme Court ruled that signers of referenda generally are not protected from disclosure and remanded back for trial the question of whether or not marriage supporters face enough of a threat to justify withholding their names. Congrats to James Bopp, Jr., and the Alliance Defense Fund for standing up for the core civil rights of all Americans to participate peacefully and safely in the democratic process.

And in Minnesota a pro-gay-marriage Republican, State Senator Paul Koering, just lost his seat. Thanks to you we were able to let voters in Minnesota know that his views and values were not the same as theirs.

I'm getting a lot of questions from reporters about the political impact of Judge Walker's ruling. As you know, we at NOM do not believe that marriage should be a partisan issue. But I think anyone who is seriously wondering how Judge Walker's ruling will play in Peoria should listen to Rush Limbaugh.

"The American people are boiling. The American people are furious. My e-mails are unbelievable. This federal judge yesterday, this decision, Prop 8, California, has just put people over the edge, and all of these decisions are coming one after another from all corners of the federal government. It's as if we have absolutely no say in what is going on all around us. Decisions are being made for us, in lieu of us and imposed on us….

"But what is a more fundamental right–a fundamental civil right in our system of government in a supposed republic–than the right to have our voice heard, to have our vote respected? You want to talk about civil rights? It doesn't matter what the people of California vote. If the left doesn't like it, they will use the bastardization of power in this country to reverse it. What about our vote being respected? Without that right, we're no longer a republic."

Among the people Judge Walker put on trial and implicitly denounced as an irrational bigot in his opinion is Dr. Alveda King.

Dr. King spoke at NOM's rally in Atlanta a few days ago, and she said, "As the daughter of Rev. A.D. King and my mother Naomi King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Sr. and his lovely beloved wife Alberta King, and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I come from a long line of Christian soldiers who have supported marriage and family! As I offer this testimony let me urge you to continue to stand firm for marriage by definition as one man and one woman. …I urge you today to encourage your family, friends, and communities to uphold and protect the definition of marriage. God, who created us and put us in the wombs of our mothers, uniting the seed of our fathers and the fruit of our mothers, imprinted us with His dream for marriage. We cannot let a few misguided judges and politicians erase the truth."

Amen.

Thank you for what you've made possible. I'm truly grateful and humbled by the outpouring of prayers and emails.

God bless you, and please pray for the efforts of all of us standing up for God's truth about marriage.

Until next week, keep fighting the good fight.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage
2029 K Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC  20006
bbrown@nationformarriage.org

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NC: PHB exclusive video of NOM’s Brian Brown at Raleigh rally – plus I am mistaken for a fundie (!)

My high-quality vid is still uploading, but I have this lower-res version for those excited to see the flopsweat on Brian Brown’s brow ASAP. So the background first — I did this on my lunch hour (kind of a long lunch since it takes about a 1/2 hour to get to Raleigh), and I drove a work colleague with me who hadn’t been to one of these fundie rallies before. Robyn was quite excited as I described the decomposing influence of NOM as its tour has worn on.

It’s hot here this week, so it was over 95 degrees and when we drove down Morgan Street, which was the dividing street between our anti-NOM rally and NOM’s zombies, our side had signs saying “Honk for Equality” which was the rallying call to drown out NOM’s speakers, which was quite effective in rattling Brown. We found a parking space a block away (!) and I quickly got up the block, turned the camera on, and got a pass of the protesters and then marched up to the NOM crowd and zeroed in on Brown, who was just getting warmed up…you may hear my editorial “OMG” comments in the background. :P



Brian Brown urged supporters this afternoon to stand and urge their legislators to support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage: “If you move forward with a marriage amendment in North Carolina, you will show the government where we stand.” The way will not always be easy, however: “In Atlanta, some attempted to attack Dr. Alveda King and smear her – she greeted it with love.”

And for even greater effect, there were two NOM supporters behind me at various points getting the spirit inside them and they would yell out “Yes! Praise Jesus” or some such nonsense in response to the speaker spouting outright homophobic blather. I was having a hard time not cracking up at the sad spectacle.

As I said in my earlier post (“NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA“), the National Organization for Marriage continues its disastrous tour that has crashed and burned repeatedly here in the South, with today’s embarrassment in Raleigh a festive smackdown of bigotry. There was no organized effort on our side — all of it was grassroots activism via Facebook groups that turned out over 200 people. On NOM’s side – maybe 50. It may have been even less, since some of the people I counted looked to be lunchtime curious onlookers, not the hardcore faithful. And there were a lot of cops, as in way too many for the given task, and there was a large media presence, so when you see the photos in the slideshow of the shaded area where NOM is, that thin crowd if you take tha latter away, would be pitiful.

There were several stand-up comic natural marriage advocates present, including was the head of the local bigot parade in this state, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Bill Brooks and Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Creech was particularly entertaining.

Ian Palmquist, the executive director of Equality North Carolina was at the rally and I grabbed him for an interview to ask him about the reaction to the grassroots demonstration and NOM’s weak, bizarre stop in our state.

When my colleague Robyn got a glimpse of Brown as the event was breaking up, she said:

“Oh, my he has a history, doesn’t he?

I said:

You mean as he’s in the closet?

Robyn:

Who on earth is he kidding? There’s no way he’s straight. He’s a desperate man.


Robyn.

Now what happened next was beyond surreal. This middle-aged woman with a floppy hat on and a clipboard in her hand, looking a bit wild-eyed, came over and asked us if we wanted to sign up for some “scientifically-based information on marriage.” Robyn and I looked at each other and knew exactly where this was going. I said:

Pam: Scientific information? What are you talking about?

Fundie: I’m with The Ruth Institute (a “project of the National Organization for Marriage) and I have literature I can share with you…

Pam: I’m sorry, I’m not interested…I’m married to a woman.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPEN. Clearly she thought I was straight and on her side.

Robyn: I am married to a woman as well.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPENING WIDER. Oh NOES, her Gaydar is broken for sure! A fly could have entered and buzzed around in her piehole. Finally she regains her composure and says…

Fundie: You’re marriage is not real. You’re not married in the state of NC.

Pam: No, you’re right. But when I go to visit my relatives in NY, I’m married. If I go to Iowa, I’m married, if I go to Massachusetts I’m married…

Fundie (interrupting, voice shaking): Your marriage is a legal fraud, that doesn’t matter, what matters is natural marriage.

Pam (interrupting): My marriage is not a fraud…and I don’t need your literature.

Fundie (turning and walking away, head exploding in anger): You’re being rude…

Pam: Hey you’re the one who came up to me first…(laughing).

Robyn and I laughed the entire ride back to work because this woman 1) pegged us both as straight and kindred spirits, 2) clearly hasn’t run into this “problem” before, and 3) had a meltdown that was priceless.

***

The also random oddities about the event today.

While I halfway expect to get fan mobbed at Netroots Nation, I really don’t expect that down here at home. When I walked up to the corner to shoot more video, a whole bunch of people demonstrating were yelling out my name and cheering, and saying hi.

Of course this was a bit embarrassing, because I’m standing here next to my co-worker who knows me as the IT Manager at Duke Press, a position that clearly isn’t what is causing the commotion. The old alter ego thing, worlds colliding.

But I know that the greeting was genuine, and I do like meeting readers, so I waved and yelled out hi and crossed the street over to them and spoke to those who wanted to say hello or take photos with me. Sigh. I guess my days of local anonymity are numbered.

***

Anyway, when I went back across the street to do more NOM taping, I’m just walking all the way up to the front with the media (I had no credentials) walked around the side of the speaker stand, getting good shots. I go back across to our side to take photos of the rainbow rally. I do this a few times and then I run into one of those attending on our side and he alerts me that the police had chased him away from the NOM zombie side. Apparently they did not want anyone on the pro-equality side anywhere near where they had their permit to speak.

Well I was all up NOM’s butt taping and none of the cops came up to me to say anything, even though I was clearly shooting on the conflicting sides and wasn’t designated as press. That was really strange. I’m not complaining, but I thought I stuck out like a sore thumb. Then again, if that fundie with the clipboard was fooled…  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright