symbolism

Anti-Gay Ruth Institute Wants To Steal The Rainbow Flag From The Gays

The Ruth Institute, a subsidiary National Organization for Marriage, would like the rainbow flag back, thank you. The group’s president Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse insists the traditional marriage movement is part of “the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow.” You’re right, Morse, we don’t. But tolerance and diversity do. Which is why I’m perfectly fine with you flying a rainbow flag outside your office. It’ll be good for our branding.

The “rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with man,” OneNewsNow relays from Morse, who says, “Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color. We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow.”

I guess if you just throw around the word “coalition,” you can lay claim to the rainbow flag? “A coalition of Hitler-loving Nazis gassed six millions Jews.” Give them the rainbow flag! Hey lady, whatever makes you happy.

But let’s not forget that the rainbow flag has been around for centuries, and while its adoption might have Biblical attachments, the flag has never once represented a pro-discrimination, pro-intolerance, pro-hate movement.

But that’s just what Morse wants it to be. She even wore a rainbow-colored scarf to the Prop 8 hearings at the Ninth Circuit. Which didn’t send the message that rainbows are for marriage equality opponents, but that Morse is a confused person.

“Families put rainbows in their children’s nurseries,” says Morse. “Little Christian preschools will have rainbows…Noah’s Ark and all the animals…. Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols.”

And great queer symbols. The rainbow flag might be new-ish to the LGBT movement (debuting in 1978, when Gilbert Baker designed it), and the mainstream LGBT movement might be new-ish itself, but it’s pretty damn well ensconced in the public consciousness that purples, blues, greens, yellows, reds, and oranges flying in the wind are the colors of queers. Not the folks who want to keep them down. And the more we see people wearing these colors, or displaying them outside their homes, or sticking them on their bumpers, the more others will see signs of LGBT visibility and acceptance.

So go ahead, Morse. Continue wearing that scarf. Put the rainbow flag on your business cards and letter head. And put your newborns in rainbow onesies. Just don’t be surprised when somebody pulls you aside and remarks, “Can you believe some people actually hate gays?”

[via TPM; bottom photo via Matt Baume]