Dear Marriage Supporter,
That's the number of Americans who, as I write this morning, have already signed our new petition at DumpGeneralMills.com!
Speaking of morning, what in the world is the nation's leading manufacturer of breakfast cereals thinking?!
I never thought that by eating Cheerios for breakfast I would be supporting gay marriage. General Mills' decision to pander to same-sex marriage activists has forced me and my family to choose between their food products and our conscience. As long as food is produced by other companies my conscience is going to win out over the desire for another bowl of Lucky Charms. Until they stop supporting this radical social agenda I must, in good conscience, look for substitutes that I can purchase instead of General Mills' brands.
General Mills is headquartered in Minnesota, so the Pioneer Press covered our announcement. "We'd like (General Mills) to step back and say they respect the views of all of their customers and employees," our own Jonathan Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage, told reporters, "Eating Cheerios for breakfast shouldn't have to be a moral choice about marriage."
The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, created to fight gay marriage proposals, is betting that Betty Crocker would be on their side. Because on Tuesday, the activist group announced a boycott of General Mills, owners of the Betty Crocker brand, which this month announced its opposition to a ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota, their headquarters.
"We value diversity. We value inclusion," the food producer said in a letter, making it one of the biggest corporate voices for same-sex marriage.
"In declaring a war on marriage, General Mills is declaring war on their own customers. Now, rather than seeing the flowing 'G' trademark as a symbol of General Mills, consumers across the world will equate that symbol with gay marriage," said Brian Brown, NOM's president.
Dumb, really dumb, corporate PR stance.
The polling continues to suggest that Pres. Obama's endorsement of gay marriage is not helping him either. First, there was the shock poll out of North Carolina, a key swing state that Obama won by just 14,000 votes in 2008. That poll showed just 76 percent of black voters said they would vote for Obama, down from 95 percent in 2008.
Now we have a new state poll from Michigan, another of the swing states. Independents, by a more than 2-1 margin, said Obama's gay marriage flip-flop makes them less likely to vote for him.
"The fact that only 17 percent of polled independent voters were supportive of the President's stance on gay marriage—and that 41 percent indicated they were less likely to vote for him as a result—may be some cause for concern with this crucial group," said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates.
Nationally, support for gay marriage declined by 2 percentage points according to an AP poll: 42 percent told pollsters they supported it last August while just 40 percent said they do today. (I have to tell you these things because I'm guessing that headline never made it to your local newspaper, newsblog or TV news!)
More good news out of New York. The dynamic and pro-marriage Wendy Long just won a primary to emerge as the GOP contender for marriage flip-flopper Kirsten Gillibrand's senate seat. Gillibrand is considered a big frontrunner, with more than $10 million in the bank. But Wendy is going to give her a run for her money in a year which is likely to be very tough for incumbents generally.
In more New York news, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports on the influential Conservative Party's decision not to endorse Stephen Saland because he betrayed marriage.
For the first time in his 12 electoral campaigns for the state Senate, Steve Saland's name will not appear on the Conservative ballot line, New York State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said.
That is due to his vote one year ago to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. Long said at the time he would no longer support Saland, who is seeking his 12th two-year term in the Senate, and the three other Republicans in the state Senate who voted for the bill.
Long has not changed his mind. He has yet to endorse a candidate for the state Senate 41st District.
"Anyone who voted for same sex marriage, there's no question about it, they will not get the Conservative endorsement," Long said last week. "It's not going to happen. They were all forewarned before the vote that traditional marriage is very important."
Thanks to Michael Long and to everyone who has stood tall against the pressure to redefine marriage!
Good news continues to flow, this time from Maryland! With referendum signatures due on June 30, the campaign has now submitted nearly three times the number of signatures required.
The Maryland Marriage Alliance announced today that it plans to submit an additional 39,743 signatures to the Maryland State Board of Elections as part of efforts to add a referendum on the state's same sex marriage law to the November ballot.
The addition brings the total of signatures supporting the referendum to 162,224. The Maryland Marriage Alliance submitted more than 122,000 signatures to Maryland's Secretary of State May 29, more than double the nearly 57,000 signatures required to add a referendum.
As we fight the good fight, let's remember together that gay marriage is not something that just gay people are pushing. The people we disagree with are our friends and neighbors and fellow citizens. And in fact, although I'm sure the great majority of homosexual people favor homosexual marriage, some gay people agree with us!
Maggie Gallagher mentioned that, while she was on Connecticut's public radio station talking about David Blankenhorn's change of position (more on that in a second), a 71-year-old gay man called in to say that although he's lived through and is grateful for "gay rights" generally, he doesn't feel like the word "marriage" is right to describe gay relationships!
And in Minnesota, a lesbian out celebrating pride day told a reporter something similar.
Ujay Gang of St. Paul regularly attends Nativity with his wife and two young children. He said, for him, the marriage amendment is about the definition. Other Nativity parishioners said they support the amendment but declined to comment on the record.
"I don't understand why the homosexuals are trying to redefine marriage," Gang said. "They should come up with their own word. They are pushing their view on others."
At the Pride Festival, Karen Ahern, a lesbian from Bloomington, agreed.
"It hits a nerve with the straight community," Ahern said. "They should call it 'unions' or something else. It's polarizing, and I know that people here will (have) a fit because I said that, but just get the thing done. Don't agitate people."
I do know that we need to stand tall and fight for what we know is right, without descending into hatred. Without, for example, throwing back at our opponents the tactics used against a young newlywed couple in Great Britain who delivered 500,000 petitions requesting the government stop messing with marriage.
I told you about Rhys (a charity researcher) and Esther Curnow (a primary schoolteacher) at the time when they turned in this overwhelming number of signatures for protecting marriage. But they hit the news again this week after they were shocked to be the target of hate mail. I'm sure some of it was respectful and civil criticism, but they were disturbed and concerned at the level of open hatred expressed by some of these letter writers, according to the British press:
Rhys and Esther Curnow, from Newcastle, received scores of messages after opponents of their stance on same-sex marriage including a Labour councillor circulated their Facebook details online.
They included messages saying the couple, who are committed Christians, should "rot in hell" and wishing they would become infertile or die of cancer.
Several included explicit references to sexual acts while others suggested they should be subjected to "compulsory sterilisation."
(Fortunately, again according to the press, police have investigated and concluded the emails "did not contain direct threat.")
Why do some gay marriage advocates do this? They do it in part because it reflects their honest feelings towards people like you and me who do not view gay unions as marriages, and stand up to fight for what we believe is right.
But as Mark Oppenheimer of The New York Times made it clear last Friday when he released a documentary on David Blankenhorn's "conversion" on marriage, they also do it because these tactics "work."
Normal people duck when this volume of open scorn and hatred heads our way.
Maggie Gallagher, who has known David Blankenhorn for many years and worked under him for almost a decade at the Institute for American Values, penned a very loving and sympathetic take on David's defection, which she published in her own new personal newsletter and also in The Public Discourse.
(I would not have been nearly as kind!)
David Blankenhorn says he is standing by his Prop 8 testimony and his book. He's not recanting a word of what he wrote. He has just given up hope that fighting gay marriage will do any good.
But, from Maggie's column, here is how one reporter describes what happened to David Blankenhorn.
"After the trial, something changed in Blankenhorn," according to [New York Times columnist Mark] Oppenheimer, "He does not entirely know how to describe what happened. Maybe it was some cocktail of the fame, the public abuse, or just getting older. Maybe it's that he began to fear for his legacy, for how the world would remember him. He definitely saw that gay marriage was happening, and it was likely to spread and wasn't going away. There was no turning back the clock. Is it too cynical to say that nobody wants to be on the wrong side of history? Maybe that's not a fair way to put it." Oppenheimer says.
"David's out of the gay marriage fight, which was never a major focus for him," continues Maggie. "He's hoping that by embracing gay marriage he'll be allowed by the powers that be to do something about divorce and unmarried childbearing, his core concerns. God bless him and good luck."
What lessons should we all learn from this?
Maggie writes, "The lessons gay marriage advocates will take from David Blankenhorn's ‘conversion'? They will learn what they know: stigma and hatred directed at people who disagree with them work."
Sad but true. Some people will lack the courage to stand for what they know to be true. But here's the most important part.
"What lesson should we take? What lesson do I take?" Maggie asks.
The first is that no-one can fight alone. To stand up to the wall of hatred directed our way, we need each other. And we need the larger sense of community that faith uniquely provides.
The second is that as we fight for the good, we must never respond to hatred with hatred, to exclusion with the desire to exclude.
David Blankenhorn is my friend and I love him. I also respect him. I understand what he just did and why he did it and I wish him well in his personal fight to somehow square the circle, to combine a culture of gay marriage with a renewed culture of marriage. Here's a bit more from David's interview:
"Sometimes it's important to stand down a bit from the purity of one's position in the interest of comity. We need to live together here. Sometimes it's not being chickenhearted or selling out...You can compromise a bit from the purity of one's position in the interest of accommodating a broader spectrum of people in the society as kind of full members. You know? You can bend a little bit because we have to live together."
Yes we do.
But here's what I want to say to David and to you: a comity that is bought by surrendering principle is submission, not comity at all. The truth about something as important as marriage cannot be the price we pay to live with each other.
The challenge of our time—and it is a deep challenge, not an easy one—is to find new ways to combine truth and love.
Thank you for standing with me as we fight for the truth about a good as basic and important as marriage.
You are what make our victories possible.
Let me close with Maggie's very last reflection because it points us to the place we need to go, to draw the courage to sustain us in this great and good fight on behalf of God's truth about marriage.
Giving up marriage is too high a price to pay. And it is not the last good we will be asked to surrender, unless we find the courage to stand.
I promise you I will never stop fighting this good fight, never relinquish the honor of being your voice for your values. With the grace of God, we will keep on not only fighting but winning!
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.