LET'S TALK

Queerty’s Open Letter To Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, And All Of NOM’s Supporters

This weekend the so-called “National Organization For Marriage” reposted our article entitled “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids?” And while some Queerty readers expressed anger about our using the word “indoctrinate” so freely, we stand by the article and apparently so does NOM.

After all, they didn’t even bother refuting any of our well-supported claims that marriage equality reduces teen suicide and that same-sex marriage bans screw over committed, hard-working Americans. So seeing as we agree on some things, we’d like to begin a dialogue with NOM and their followers. Will they take the time to respond to our open letter?

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Dear NOM,

First off, let me just say that I love reading your blog. It’s one of the best for keeping up with international queer activism, Catholic anti-adoption measures, and the slow shift towards gay marriage equality nationwide—thanks for keeping everyone informed!

It takes guts to stand up for what you believe in and I respect NOM for boldly defending their beliefs in the face of increasingly vociferous opposition. I actually think NOM and I agree on many issues, especially when it comes to protecting children and religious freedom. So I’d love your thoughts on a few questions—and not just Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown’s thoughts, but the thoughts of all your followers so we can really begin building bridges and understanding one another.

I know you and your supporters are all very busy, so you’ll be happy to know that all my questions are short and can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Take a look:

1) Does NOM agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ finding that gay-straight student alliances and anti-bullying programs in schools reduce teen suicides?

2) Does NOM continue to support ex-gay programs, even though the largest psychological organization in the United States has said such programs do more harm than good?

3) Since NOM opposes gay adoption for the thousands of orphans still needing adoptive parents, does NOM think taxpayers should pay to keep these children in foster homes? Does NOM also think taxpayers should pay for the higher rates of mental problems, unemployment and homelessness that occur when these unadopted children age out of state care?

4) Does NOM reject the finding of the over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists, physicians, and researchers in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology who say that kids raised by LGBT couples “do not differ from children with heterosexual parents in their emotional development or in their relationships with peers and adults”?

5) Considering the thousands of orphans needing parents and NOM’s opposition to states requiring religious adoption agencies let gays adpot, does NOM support the numerous non-religious adoption agencies that place children with gay couples?

6) Since NOM considers state-sanctioned “civil unions” “a Trojan Horse that will usher in same-sex marriage sooner rather than later,” does it also oppose bestowing any of the 1,138 federal rights afforded married heterosexual couples to gay couples, such as the right to visit a loved one in the hospital or the right to dispose of a partner’s remains?

7) Since NOM considers marriage “a public and legal institution is oriented towards protecting children by increasing the likelihood they have a mother and father,” does NOM consider any marriage that occurs outside of a church or without the intention of raising children invalid, or less deserving of federal rights and protections?

8) Is NOM currently organizing mass protests, petitions, and media actions against the courts and lawyers that threaten traditional marriage and institutions of faith by making divorce an accepted mainstream practice, despite the many religious people who disagree with divorce on moral and religious grounds? Can we expect to see NOM supporting legislation that will ban divorce?

9) Does NOM oppose Britney Spears’ one-day marriage? Does NOM feel that Newt Gingrich’s three adulterous marriages are more legitimate and deserving of rights than those of these legally-married, committed gay couples?

10) Does NOM support the numerous Christian, Mormon, Jewish, and Muslim faith centers that practice their freedom of religion by marrying gay couples?

NOM, I have no doubt that deep down in your hearts you are a bunch of loving people deeply committed to the well-being of children, married couples, religious institutions, and communities across the nation. And as such, I trust that everyone in your organization will make the time not just to engage these questions to the best of their ability, but to read the full blog post which accompanies my letter so you may know how I arrived at these specific inquiries.

Despite my cordialness, make no mistake NOM — I oppose your rhetoric, and shudder at the unintended consequences that our nation reaps from your “well-intentioned” insistence that LGBT couples aren’t fit for marriage, religious acceptance, or raising kids. Although I’ve never once heard your official spokespeople call for violence against LGBT people, these very attacks happen almost every day, and it’s my opinion that you have a hand in them.

Let’s do you the favor of assuming that NOM opposes any violence against Americans regardless of their sexual orientation. After all, you’re only against gay marriage, gay adoption, and anti-bullying programs, not actual gay people themselves, right? But considering how much time you spend persuading the American public that LGBTs seek to corrupt children’s minds, outlaw religion, and force everyone to accept a way of life that should offend them, I must ask: Does NOM see no connection between its rhetoric and the verbal, physical, and psychological violence perpetuated against LGBT Americans?

I also challenge — no, DARE — you to post these 10 questions on NOM’s blog, so that you and all your followers can join in on the discussion and help us all understand your efforts to create a nation where everyone values and protects the institution of marriage; religions freely practice their beliefs without persecution; and children grow up with loving families.

In return, I promise to answer any questions you pose to myself and our readers.

Thanks again so much for sharing our blog with your readers and taking the time to consider these very important questions. I very much look forward to your response so we may continue discussion on these important social issues.

Sincerely,
Daniel Villarreal
Day Editor of Queerty.com

After the jump: lots more nitty-gritty detail about why it’s so important to respond to NOM’s bullying.

 

It’s tough being gay. When gay kids are brought up in an environment that doesn’t support them—an environment that bullies them and tells them that they don’t deserve the rights and privileges given to other citizens just because they’re different—they want to die; and often they do.

Now, I know I scared some people by saying that all gays want to “indoctrinate” kids; after all, “indoctrinate” has such a negative “brainwashing” connotation. But the originally comes from the latin root “doctrina” which means “to teach.” So by that definition, will NOM agree that it’s good for teachers to “indoctrinate” kids to treat LGBT people fairly? After all, Presidents Day indoctrinates kids into celebrating American culture, Arbor Day indoctrinates kids into caring about trees, and Algebra class indoctrinates kids into using Euclidean geometry. After all, you’re all about education, right NOM?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study saying said that schools with anti-bullying programs and gay-straight student alliances help reduce community suicide rates for gay and straight teens. Such programs and alliances could also help “indoctrinate” anti-gay students to make better choices then shooting gay classmates in the head or lynching and hanging them from trees after school. Such programs could also “indoctrinate” teachers to not needlessly humiliate effeminate students in front of their classmates. We can all agree that these things get in the way of learning, yes?

Now, know you’ll say that such programs just teach kids an anything goes “moral relativism”, but just because these programs are flawed by your estimation is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater, right? I assume you have an issue that anti-bullying programs mention LGBT people at all, but LGBT kids exist whether you like it or not, and bullies specifically target them.That means that anti-bullying classes will still have to point out that it’s wrong to bash queers. Sorry NOM, there’s just no way around it.

So instead of opposing these programs outright, can we assume that NOM supports efforts to get better anti-bullying programs and gay-straight student alliances into our schools?

After all, surely NOM agrees that schools should teach religious and non-religious students alike to treat all people with respect regardless of their sexual identity. You don’t want a bunch of kids shot, beaten, up, belittled by teachers, and dead from suicide just because we didn’t teach them basic civility, right?

Of course not.

 

It’s no secret that NOM also supports “ex-gay” programs like Exodus International. NOM says such programs are “helping gay people lead Christian lives.” But the American Psychological Association has said ex-gay therapies actually harm gay-identified people and create an environment which perpetuates discrimination and violence against gays.

“Helping gay people lead Christian lives” by abusing them with “ex-gay” torture has led many ex-gay participants and ex-gay leaders to denounce the ex-gay movement altogether.

Does NOM continue to support ex-gay programs, even though the largest organization of psychologists in the United States has said that such programs do more harm then good? Can 154,000 psychological professionals really be wrong on this issue?

 

It’s so great to know that NOM cares about children. And I know we’re both worried about gay adoption, especially since every state in the union has its hands full trying to care for the thousands of children abandoned by heterosexual couples—why, heterosexuals abandon their children so regularly it’s practically an epidemic!

NOM has stated their opposition to any US states requiring religious agencies to adopt kids to gay couples. But in the meanwhile, these unadopted children waiting in state homes cost taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, unadopted children who age out of state care end up having higher rates of mental problems, unemployment and homelessness that hurt our communities and cost taxpayers even more. Seeing as NOM has released literature expressing concern about increased rates of poverty, crime, and mental health, I know all of NOM’s members will care deeply about this problem.

Surely NOM doesn’t want tax-paying citizens spending their hard-earned cash keeping kids in state homes just because we don’t have enough heterosexual couples to adopt all the kiddos. Yes, in a perfect world Claire Huxtable and Ward Cleaver would raise all of our orphans.

But until then, wouldn’t NOM prefer that taxpayers help kids find loving parents and become productive members of society? Or would they rather that these kids go parentless, and end up a drain on the state’s finances?

 

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology have said that kids raised by homosexual couples “do not differ from children with heterosexual parents in their emotional development or in their relationships with peers and adults.” That means that even kids raised by LGBT folks end up being happy, healthy, well-adjusted members of society who don’t necessarily turn LGBT themselves. In fact sometimes these kids end up even better than kids abused raped murdered raised by straight couples. Does NOM reject the conclusion of the over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists, physicians, and researchers who stand behind this finding?

Regarding adoption, NOM disagrees with states that force gay adoption upon religious adoption agencies, because after all churches should be allowed to practice their beliefs as they see fit. Here I couldn’t agree with you more—there’s nothing worse than a group of people trying to force their beliefs and practices on others. Does NOM support the numerous non-religious adoption agencies that place children with gay couples?

 

But adoption aside, everyone knows the REAL battle is over the institution of “marriage.” NOM has said time and time again that same-sex marriage equality is an attack on religious faith and on “traditional marriage” as defined in the Bible. But polygamy is the family form most often mentioned in the first five books of the Old Testament, so does NOM support polygamy?

The early Catholic church said “traditional marriages” could only take place in Catholic churches, so does NOM only support religious weddings that occur in a place of worship?

Sixteenth-century Protestants said “traditional marriage” could only happen between wealthy couples and with parental consent, so does NOM approve of forced weddings? Is NOM against eloping, or marriages between the poor?

For millennia, “traditional marriage” around the world obliged a wife to submit to the sexual demands, physical abuse, and financial decisions of her husband. Does NOM only support “traditional marriages” where women get raped, abused, and taken financial advantage of?

The Bible upholds all these depictions of “traditional marriage,” and each has, at one time, been upheld by the Church.

Oh NOM, we’re just ribbing ya. We’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that when you say “traditional marriage” you don’t mean any of these centuries-honored traditions of marriage. In fact, we’ll take Maggie Gallagher and the rest of the NOM crew at their word when they say that “Marriage, as a public and legal institution is oriented towards protecting children by increasing the likelihood they have a mother and father.”

Does that mean that NOM considers sterile, asexual, elderly, older couples, and couples who decide not to have kids as having failed in fulfilling marriage’s central aim?

Jesus also forbade his followers to divorce. So we’re curious: is NOM organizing mass protests, petitions, and media actions against the many courts and lawyers (what we shall henceforth call “the pro-divorce agenda”) that threaten traditional marriage and institutions of faith? When can we expect to see NOM support legislation banning divorce?

 

On a personal note, I raise all these questions not merely to provoke NOM into response or even for the hope that one day LGBT couples will gain the right to marry, adopt children, and practice religion as heterosexuals have done for years. On the contrary, I am very much content with being an uncle and a mentor to my four nephews and an educator in Texas. I love “indoctrinating” a new generation of young minds into loving and respecting difference, rather than fearing it; into becoming acquainted with those different from ourselves rather than just of believing a bunch of tired, untrue, hateful stereotypes about “those people”; and into treating each member of our familes and communities with the Golden Rule so that all of society may benefit, not just a scared segment of it.

I raise these questions because of the harm that I believe NOM perpetuates against hardworking, honest, and loving American citizens everyday. Your words not only threaten LGBT families, but also straight people unfortunate enough to associate with the thousands of queer folk you have worked so vigilantly against.

Any time a straight person gets gay-bashed because their attackers think they’re beating down a person who stands against healthy children, loving churches, and strong families, you have a hand in it.

Any time a queer kid kills himself or a bully stomps in the face of a kid because “queers are inferior,” your words have provided kids with all the justification they need to do it.

Any time a qualified teacher gets turned away from a public school for uttering even the most innocuous word about homosexuality or for (God forbid) being homosexual themselves, know you are to blame for depriving our students of committed educators who want young minds to know what the world is rather than what you would like it to be.

Whenever droves of qualified LGBT citizens avoid states that refuse to grant us the same financial and legal rights granted to heterosexual couples, your words hurt economies and keep states from ever realizing their potential.

Every time a parent raises an eyebrow at their kid’s fruity behavior and then ends up beating, disowning, or psychologically abusing them, you have helped rip countless loving families apart.

These are all strange accomplishments for an organization that claims to value families, children, and marriage above all else.

Most of all, I’m tired of seeing all the scared queers who have no idea if their children and families will even exist tomorrow because of all the hateful behavior you encourage. Jesus himself, a man who made his reputation by helping social outcasts, would shake his head and weep at all the evil you do in his name.