Monday, July 19, 2010

Equality Activists Face Off with NOM's "Summer Marriage Tour" in Providence

The National Organization for Marriage, the front group for the Mormon Church's anti-gay marriage campaign that resulted in California's Prop 8, is on the road with its Summer Marriage Tour, spreading the group's message of faith-based bigotry and intolerance coast to coast. Early reports are that the group's rallies have so far drawn limited attendance.

According to NOM's website, their stop in Providence, RI yesterday drew 200 - 250 at a rally in front of the Rhode Island State House. The anti-equality trolls were confronted by pro-equality activists, who by NOM's account, "embarrassed themselves", by shouting down speakers and confronting attendees with pro-marriage equality slogans.

NOM's biggest complaint was that Capitol Police did nothing to intervene. Reports on LezGetReal are that there were no arrests because Capitol Police kept the two groups from mingling.

Brown writes: "The biggest disappointment was that the Capitol Police, although they tried to keep order, failed so badly in keeping the crowds apart. We had a permit protecting our First Amendment right to speak and assemble on the South Steps today, and the police simply failed to protect those rights. We’ll be writing a letter to the Governor about the lack of adequate protection provided by the Capitol Police today."

Cry me a river! FYI, Mr. Brown, when you hold a public rally, you don't get to decide who attends and what they say. Free speech and freedom of assembly apply to everyone in this country, not just those who agree with you. Trust me, if a bunch of Providence cops saw the need for intervention, they would have jumped in with both feet.

While I was not present at the rally, as a veteran activist, who has participated in marches and rallies with 200,000-500,000 people, I can say that there has never been any need for police to intervene at LGBT rallies. In fact, at the National Equality March last year, one of DC's finest told me that he and his fellow officers enjoyed working at LGBT rallies because the atmosphere was always more positive, peaceful and fun than other political rallies.

I find it hard to believe NOM's claims that marriage equality activists did anything that would have warranted police intervention and Capitol Police would seem to agree. NOM's Brian Brown is once again whining that his group's civil rights have been violated.

The most amusing thing to me about NOM is their strategy of attacking the civil rights of law abiding citizens and then playing the victim when we call them out for the bigots that they are. They have even gone so far as to say that their own civil rights are being violated by marriage equality. It is a sad and pathetic statement about the weakness of your own position when you attack people for punching holes in your argument just because it doesn't stand up to rational scrutiny.

I strongly suggest that my readers rent the documentary "8: The Mormon Proposition" for a behind the scenes look at how the Mormon Church orchestrated California's now infamous anti-equality campaign, Proposition 8 and founded NOM as a front group for its political actions as a means of protecting the church's tax exempt status. I watched it this weekend with friends. It was extremely eye-opening.

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