Carlos Maza must have some brass cojones: The Equality Matters staffer went undercover at the National Organization for Marriage’s fourth-annual “It Takes a Family to Raise a Viillage” conference in San Diego, which purports to prepare college students for the onslaught of gay orgies and “traditional”-marriage-bashing they’ll be subject to when they get back to campus.
According to Maza’s compelling story on Media Matters, the four-day conference’s throughline is underscoring how “gays and lesbians, including me, are unstable, dangerous, and unworthy of raising their own families,” writes Maza. “Despite the promise to focus on ‘marriage, not gayness,’ ITAF had been a veritable crash course in demonizing LGBT people.”
Apparently NOM, and it’s subsidiary, the Ruth Institute, don’t have much to say about marriage, except that it is most definitely not for the homos. And apparently, they’re not very bright
The application didn’t require me to disclose my place of employment, but a quick Google search of my name would plainly reveal that I was no friend of NOM. Jennifer Morse, the president of NOM’s Ruth Institute, had even specifically responded to a post I’d published about her. I saw my application as more of a joke than anything else.So when I got a “Congratulations” email at the end of July informing me that I’d been accepted into ITAF, I wasn’t sure how to react.
Honestly, part of me was terrified at the idea of having to spend a whole weekend stuck at a NOM event with a group of anti-gay student activists. What if I was discovered? What if someone from NOM recognized me? If I attended, I ran the risk of being exposed—all alone—as an undercover “homosexualist” in a room full of the very people I’d been writing about for months.
I also wasn’t keen on the idea of having to pretend to be straight in front of dozens of strangers for four days, as I didn’t expect I’d be able to attend a NOM conference as an openly gay man without raising a few eyebrows. I’d been out of the closet for over eight years, and I lived in a city where being gay is as about as common and unremarkable as wearing glasses. I’d grown pretty accustomed to not having to worry about people figuring out my sexual orientation. Having to go back in “the closet,” even just for a few days, sounded more like an unpleasant high school flashback than an exciting work opportunity.
So why walk into the lion’s den? Maza says he wanted to address NOM’s contention that it’s not anti-gay just anti-gay-marriage: “Attending ITAF would give me an opportunity to find out what NOM was really saying about LGBT people when it wasn’t mincing words for mainstream media outlets.”
What Maza describes in his compelling account is harrowing to say the least: Four days of bogus academics and researches comparing gays and lesbians to pedophiles, Christian bigots decrying how tolerance will impinge on their religous right to discriminate.
One real humdinger was economist Douglas Allen, who maintained one of the dangers of a lesbian-run household would be “getting on the same menstrual cycle, getting really attached to your own biological child and not being willing to share the biological child with your female spouse.”
We hope Maza gets considered for a Pulitzer for investigative journalism. Read his full account here.