Recent protests in Albany and Providence spotlighted a stark difference in strategies among supporters of marriage equality.
Having lost civil public debates over the supposed merit of its immoral bigotry, the antigay National Organization for Marriage resorted this summer to a low-budget bus tour to state capitals: a tour whose sole intent appears to be to muster self-pity and victimhood among bigots who believe that discrimination, heterosexual adultery, and conservative Catholic pedophilia qualify as “Christian values.”
At one of the tour’s stops in Albany, New York, state and local equality advocates coordinated a creative counterdemonstration featuring rainbow umbrellas and white shirts with heart symbols that expressed the love that is at the core of the quest for marriage equality.
Days later, a larger and more energetic counterdemonstration featured one of the state’s smaller, more aggressive activist groups working with out-of-state allies. (The state’s largest equality group, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, did not participate.) Demonstrators confronted the antigay bigots with shouting matches and with noisemaker bottles that were filled with pebbles.
After the Albany protest, NOM humiliated itself with the feeble complaint that a rainbow umbrella had blocked one bigoted woman’s view. After the Providence protest, however, it seemed that NOM had exactly what it wanted: Video footage of uncivil homosexuals intimidating supposed victims of marriage equality.
Michael Crawford of Freedom to Marry on July 23 voiced concerns about the result of the Providence protest.
With their anti-gay summer tour, NOM is hoping to add to their false narrative of victimization. By holding events in communities across the country, NOM is hoping to evoke outrage and confrontation with supporters of the freedom to marry. Their latest propaganda video as a perfect example:
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We can’t let anger get the best of us and feed into NOM’s false narrative that they will then use against us in court rooms and legislatures across the country. We must funnel our anger against anti-gay forces like NOM into constructive actions that will educate the public and move marriage forward.
Given the uncivil and untruthful tactics that NOM and its allies have used against equality advocates, anger and intimidation by equality advocates may seem justified.
However, in the struggle for the right to love equally, does it make sense to fight NOM’s deceit with anger rather than love? Is it wise to fight for our freedom by shouting down others the same way we have been shouted down by Exodus International and its allies in the past?
Is there a way to combine the energy of the Providence protest with the optimism and hope of the Albany protest?