the hateful

NOM’s Brian Brown Is a Fancy, Upstanding Homophobe. This Makes Him Worse


Monica Hesse’s Washington Post profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown would have been almost worthwhile to publish, were it not for her immediate incorrect assumption: That we haven’t met, and don’t know how to deal with, these “smiling” gay rights opponents before. ‘Cause that’s a farce, Monica.

The Oxford-educated Brown (pictured, with wife Sue) is different from the James Dobson crowd, you see, because he and NOM president Maggie Gallagher aren’t these fire and brimstone types. Brown isn’t saying we’re all going to burn in hell, or that we’re an insidious and horrific group of people. Rather, he frames the debate that we’re after “special rights” that “redefine” the word “marriage,” which is, apparently, the jurisdiction of religious groups. (Though NOM is an “interfaith” group, remember. Or maybe it’s “non-faith”?)

And just like the Human Rights Campaign, they’re setting up headquarters in Washington. Because that is where “real America” is, so long as your version of real America consists of lobbyists and legislators.

But Brown’s NOM is a whole new class of anti-gay advocacy, because as America moves toward mainstreaming LGBTs, this organization can speak in modern terms that don’t involve words like “sodomy.” Brown’s camp dresses up the debate as a historic clash between everyday Americans and a group of whiny homos.

And while we understand it’s a journalist’s job to remain objective, the Post‘s Hesse (and her editors) amply gloss over the fact that Brown, 35, is trafficking in hate. Precisely because Brown dresses up his brand of bigotry is why we need him exposed for what he represents: nothing more than your average, neighborhood homophobe.

But this country is not made up of people in the far wings, right or left. This country is made up of a movable middle, reasonable people looking for reasonable arguments to assure them that their feelings have a rational basis.

Brian Brown speaks to these people. He has a master’s degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it’s horrible when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.

You must commend folks like Brown for their tenaciousness. He’s good at raising money (from a group of bigots), he’s good at framing the debate (among sympathetic media), and he’s good at reading public perception (don’t use phrases like “ban gay marriage”).


But he’s also operating in an arena where the public consciousness is actively endorsing his brand of hatred. This is not about “special rights” or “redefining” anything. Same-sex marriage advocates are about “equal rights,” something any objective journalist would freely tell you she also supports. And just because Brown can put on a suit, speak eloquently, and deliver talking points does not differentiate him from any other hate leader. Even if Brown does talk about all his gay friends.

It’s time to start identifying these people, in newspaper headlines and television reports, for what they are: bigots. If it’s okay to identify white supremacist leaders as racists, then it should be perfectly reasonable to identify anti-gay proponents as homophobes. These individuals advocate separation. They advocate oppression. They advocate hatred.

And Brian Brown isn’t just out to ruin the lives of gay Americans he doesn’t know. He’s also ruining the life of his wife, Sue, who he supposedly loves, because he’s made a career out of HATING PEOPLE.

When Brown came from California a few months ago, the family moved into a comfortable house in Great Falls, surrounded by trees. His children are precocious and sweet; his wife is gracious and funny.

Sue Brown had never really thought about same-sex marriage until she met Brian. “Obviously, I always realized there were gay people,” she says one Friday morning, sitting in the still-sparsely furnished living room. “But I didn’t think about them wanting to get married.” And once she did: “Initially, I probably thought, well, what’s the big deal if they do? What does it have to do with me?”

When she and Brian got engaged, she envisioned normal family life, both of them returning from their jobs — she was a high school English teacher — and having family dinner. Now, while he’s crusading, she deals with home-schooling the older children and caring for the younger. It hasn’t been easy.

“Connecticut was really hard,” she says. In Connecticut, they lived on a street with two sets of lesbian parents. One summer a mutual acquaintance threw a neighborhood party. Brian wasn’t invited at all, and Sue’s invitation came with a note: “We know what Brian does. If your views are not the same, you can come to the party.” Sue stayed home.

“I get how [gays and lesbians] feel,” she says. “I get that.”

She’s pictured what it might be like to be on the other side of this debate. “I know many awesome women, and I’ve thought about what if I got together with one of them” and tried to raise a family.

She has thought through it. She supports her husband. “I can only go by my own experience, and I believe there’s a huge difference in gender.” The kids don’t need Brian “walking in the door because he’s another person. They need him because he’s a man.”

Mr. Brown readily points to centuries of civilizations that never properly affirmed same-sex marriage. So this is a guy who can appreciate a good history lesson: When this chapter of human history is written, you’ll be on the wrong side of it, sir.

(Photo: Washington Post)

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  • terrwill

    Another Right wing scum bag……Can’t wait til the story breaks about some of his indiscretions, which these slime tend to thrive on…………

  • Bill

    I can only imagine the shame and embarrasment that Brian and Sue Brown’s children will feel when they open their history books in school one day, only to see their parents pictured in it. Alongside Maggie Gallagher. In the chapter that deals with civil rights for Gay & Lesbian Americans. And reading all about how their parents fought to prevent equality. By taking the hard earned money of folks whose ignorance translated into the abuse, degradation and murder of so many Gay Americans.

    While I feel sorry for thier children, for the legacy Brian & Sue Brown will leave to them is one of bigotry and hatred, Brian Brown deserves exactly what he will get.

  • edgyguy1426

    Well said Bill

  • MikenStL

    […She has thought through it. She supports her husband. “I can only go by my own experience, and I believe there’s a huge difference in gender.” The kids don’t need Brian “walking in the door because he’s another person. They need him because he’s a man.”]

    So now what are we going to do with all of single parents out there?? I guess we should start mandating marriage for everyone with children (with a 3 month grace period in cases of becoming widowed, or divorce) … just a thought.

  • Dennis

    “I get how (gays and lesbians) feel she says. I get that.”

    Um, no you don’t…because if you did, you wouldn’t support your husbands discriminatory work, and say he’s needed as a co-parent more than just another person, rather ‘because he’s a man”.

    So I guess any man, say an alcoholic, or a wife-beater, or child molester is better than 2 same gender parents, or a loving single parent? You may be smiling, lady, but you’re still preaching a load of crap.

    These ‘shiny, happy homophobe’ types are truly dangerous, because they can cloak their hate in a blanket of smiles and normalacy in a way that whacked-out Fred Phelps can’t…and that facade of ‘decency’ DOES sway some if the less intelligent sheeple out there to support their cause.

    Thank you Queerty for another great post.

  • Brian

    Brian Brown = Catholic
    Catholic = Christian
    Christian = Homophobe

  • Mark

    Have we every met a bigot who admitted they were one? Ah, …no.

  • jason

    Once marriage became a civil ceremony, it lost its privileged position as a religious-only institution. Brown needs to understand this.

  • schlukitz


    Three cheers!

  • Brian Miller

    These guys are easy to beat.

    Just ask them for actual proof of their contentions. Demonstrable, actual proof.

    They always stammer and talk about Sweden or Denmark — neither of which have marriage equality.

    Then they talk about how “religions will be forced to marry people,” to which I reply by asking when the last time the Catholics were forced to marry non-Catholics. Last time I checked, non-Catholic marriage was legal and the Catholics refused to do it.

    Then you turn it on them.

    “Isn’t your issue really that you don’t like the idea of two men or two women getting legally married because it goes against your personal beliefs? Your church doesn’t have to marry two men, just as your Church already refuses to marry two Jews. But that doesn’t mean you should have the right to legally segregate gays or Jews.”

    Bang, argument done.

    The other thing is, when these “kinder, gentler” sorts like Maggie actually get in a debate, it’s no longer all-smiles when you beat their arguments. They turn nasty and venomous in an instant when their “I’m just so loving and compassionate” schtick doesn’t work. Just get their mask to slip off and the snake-face underneath always shows.

  • schlukitz

    @Brian Miller:

    Loved your post.

    But that doesn’t mean you should have the right to legally segregate gays or Jews.”

    Unfortunately, that’s when they haul Big Bertha out…the Godwin’s law that ends all sensible and logical debate, which these Xstain types are never capable of waging.

    “But, it sez in da bible….”

    Bang. Conversation’s over.

    And yes, these kind of people do, in fact, get verrrry ugly when the mask slips away from these “kinder, gentler” sorts, as it always does.

  • Donnie Sanders

    Ok… seriously? THIS is the guy that the Evangelical Nazi movement is using to lead the fight against us? THIS GUY??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Brian Bottom– ugh, Brown, must have been VERY excited when he found out he was moving to Washington DC from Connecticut. Now instead of having to deal with the neighborhood lesbians he gets to challenge the homos on 13th Street and DuPont. You’ll see this guy at Cobalt and Halo at 2AM fighting the gay marriage fight… that is after he’s done sucking off every guy in the bar to win over their votes.

  • Donnie Sanders

    By the way, Penn & Teller made fun of this guy big time back when he was the values advocate for Connecticut. If I’m not mistaken, I think they made fun of him for not being married at the time.

  • Peter

    I was under the understanding that we have always had civil marriages. Then somewhere along the line some “un-named religion” came up with the Sacrament of Marriage” in about 1215 AD. And then more changes were thought up create more of “these believers” then “those believers” in order to win the wars for their side. (Examples: the Crusades, and most wars of our history.)

    Eventually the practice of religion became (not the practice of good works and love of they neighbor) but who could win the war.

    And it continues!!!!

  • EE Keller

    Mrs. Brown needs to keep her eyes open, ’cause her husband is a “BIG OLD MO.”

  • Marianne Seggerman

    Hello! This guy’s first experience in anti-marriage activism was to prevent same-sex marriage from ever happening in Connecticut. Well, we know how good a job he did there. Ann Stanback was too much for him, he saw the writing on the wall and beat a hasty retreat so the complete failure could be on someone else’s hear.

  • Daniel

    For centuries civilization did not even affirm the humanity of his own wife Sue because she is female. As a female for thousands of years, she was just considered a piece of property that her husband could rape and murder at will without any repurcussions (in some parts of the world this is still the situation for females). Yet you don’t see him trying to take away her human rights and return her to her historical place as a piece of property (although perhaps this IS what he ultimately plans to do). If I was her, I’d leave the bastard and take the kids. He’s evil.

  • Ioan

    Great Post, Brian (#10).

    I have noticed that when these “kinder and gentler” types are confronted by arguments they cannot refute they very quickly turn vicious. Since there are very few points which they can back up with verifiable evidence, things turn vicious very quickly.

  • Micah

    @Brian: That’s an offensively simplistic way of viewing the world; the exact same thought process informs the bigotry of Brian Brown. Please don’t discount the millions of Christians who are passionate and dedicated advocates for marriage equality.

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