Religious group warns of a ‘gathering storm’ over gay marriage

Mathew Hywel April 9, 2009
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A religious anti-gay group has defended its latest television ad which claims that gay marriage interferes with the way its members live their lives.

The ad, from the National Organisation for Marriage, depicts a Californian doctor “torn” between his faith and his job, a Massachusetts mother “forced” to send her son to a school which actively promotes gay marriage and a Jersey Church group member who feels punished by the state for not supporting gay marriage.

They are all played by actors who claim that a “storm is gathering, the clouds are dark and the wind is strong”, but the organisation insists that their concerns are based on true stories.

At the end, Damon Owens speaks of a “rainbow coalition” of people “of every creed and colour” coming together to protect marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has condemned the one-minute campaign (see below) branding it as “lies”.

HRC spokesman Brad Luna said: “This ad is full of outrageous falsehoods – and they don’t even come out of the mouths of real people.

“Again and again, opponents of equality have claimed one shallow victory after another by telling lies about who we are as individuals, as loving couples and as families. These lies must be called out for what they are every time the right-wing seeks to derail our progress by spreading distortions and inciting fear mongering”

The claims made in the ad were all proven false following research by the HRC and concerned anti-discrimination laws rather than gay marriage itself.

It concluded that the Californian doctor’s faith cannot be dictated by law, and that she is answerable to her professional oath. The Massachusetts parent has a right to remove her child from a school that contradicts her personal beliefs and that the New Jersey Church Group actually profits from holding same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organisation for Marriage responded to the HRC’s claims:

“HRC’s record of truth and honesty about their intentions is not that impressive. They once said marriage amendments weren’t necessary because there were no federal court cases. Now there is one.

“They called us liars when we said public schools will teach about gay marriage if its the law – but they do in Massachusetts.

“Serious religious liberty scholars from Eugene Volokh to Doug Laycock to Robin Wilson acknowledge the central driving idea behind gay marriage – there is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex unions and supporters of marriage are engaging in discrimination if they think differently – will have consequences for the freedoms of traditional faith communities.

“To pretend otherwise is to be profoundly unserious – if not deceptive – about what gay marriage means.”

The ad is due to be aired up to eight times a day in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and California.

Audition videos for the ad can be seen here

Related topics: Americas

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