Metro Weekly

Majority Rules

NOM's bigoted accusations of bias are unsurprising, but still uniquely odious

For those with even a passing acquaintance with the actions and rhetoric of anti-gay organizations and activists, it’s rarely surprising to see just how low these opponents of marriage equality will stoop to conquer.

Back during the farcical Proposition 8 trial when rumors of Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s sexual orientation entered wide circulation, it was pretty apparent that the misnomered National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and its anti-gay brethren would be prepared to argue that any ruling by Walker to strike down the California gay marriage ban should be overturned should he turn out to be gay.

Pragmatically, it makes sense. Their case was such a laughingstock of non sequiturs and naked bigotry that they panicked at the thought of the public being able to view video of the proceedings. Now that Walker, who ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional, is retired and out of the closet, the Prop. 8 supporters are rushing the barricades with accusations of bias from the bench.

Matt Barber, no stranger to vile statements about LGBT people, trumpeted through his weekly anti-gay screed, ”If the judge ain’t straight, you must vacate.” The National Review Online continued its long-running descent into pseudo-intellectual hogwash with Ed Whelan’s call for the verdict to be overturned. Following NOM’s Orwellian strategy of appropriating the language of the Civil Rights movement in order to deny the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans, Whelan’s column ran under the headline, ”Disclosure Delayed Is Justice Denied.”

You’d think this nonsense would be easy enough to swat down. After all, NOM and the supporters of Prop 8 have continually argued that marriage by same-sex couples would irreparably harm the institution of marriage for heterosexual couples and visit all sorts of unspecified horrors upon the children of America. Under that theory, any heterosexual judge who is married or hopes to be married should be barred from hearing the Prop. 8 case because they stand to benefit as well.

Really, if you follow NOM’s logic on this, only single, asexual, childless judges could possibly render an unbiased ruling on the constitutionality of Prop. 8, which pretty much leaves you with Elena Kagan.

Probably not where NOM wants to end up.

But NOM isn’t really using logic, they’re trying to create irrational fears. Judge Walker added a little fuel to the fire when, in a recent lecture, he used three minutes of footage from the trial. Prop. 8 supporters are apoplectic, claiming that the use of the video — part of Walker’s personal papers from his time on the bench — is a violation of the U.S. Supreme Court order that barred the broadcast of the trial proceedings because it might expose some anti-gay witnesses to ”harassment.” Again, given the laughable case they put on, it’s hardly shocking that they would want to suppress as much of the record as possible.

To be very clear, the leaders of NOM, Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown, believe that Americans have a God-given right to vote on the rights of others — that the majority can take away the rights of the minority.

But Americans don’t have a right to see what’s happening in our courts.

This is, obviously, a particularly perverted philosophy of what it means to be an American, especially in light of new surveys showing more than half of Americans support marriage equality. But I’m sure NOM will stand by this philosophy with strength, will and determination, right up until the moment they realize the majority is getting ready to take a vote on them.

Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.