Thursday, June 16, 2011
Dear Marriage Supporter,
As I write, the New York Times is reporting that the New York Senate is just one vote shy of passing gay marriage.
Marriage hangs in the balance. As I write, tens of thousands of you who live in New York have picked up the phone, or gone to NOM's action center to send an email to your state senator. Don't stop now. Act this second, to prevent same-sex marriage from coming to New York without a vote of the people!
When I met with Republican leaders in New York, they asked me, "Would you accept a referendum and then let the legislature do what the people decided?" Yes, I told them. Yes! Because I know that the majority of New Yorkers, when they hear both sides, will vote to protect marriage.
Andrew Cuomo has tacked on some religious-liberty language to try to pick off GOP votes.
He's done it so late in the day that there's little time for legal experts to determine the actual effect of the language, but one thing is certain: This won't protect parents who don't want their children taught that gay marriage is a fundamental civil right—that language is right there in the bill.
As I write, more than a hundred pastors have gathered on the steps of City Hall, chanting, "Let the People Vote!" Thanks to Bishop Henry Jackson and Bishop Joseph Mattera for speaking truth to power.
Here's NOM's new video of another pastor, Rev. William Owens, who was in New York on May 28, speaking to a group of pastors in the Church of God in Christ.
"I did not march one step for civil rights so that a man could marry a man!" Rev. Owens, who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., said to thunderous applause.
News coverage, from our point of view, has been generally speaking dreadful. The New York Daily News is considered a mainstream newspaper. But it actually did a profile of NOM that begins with this sentence:
"A shadowy group run by religious fundamentalists is bankrolling a pitched crusade against same-sex marriage in New York."
The so-called reporter goes on to say,
Secretive and flush with cash, the National Organization for Marriage is igniting a culture war as it battles Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg in their campaign to legalize gay wedlock.
"If marriage is redefined, then New York schools will soon be teaching that it's just as good for Jimmy to grow up and marry Johnny as it is to marry Mary," says the group's $172,100-a-year president, Brian Brown.
He warned of dire consequences if Albany, which nixed same-sex nuptials in 2009, reverses course.
Based in Princeton, N.J., and Washington D.C., the tax-exempt group was founded in 2007 to defend traditional heterosexual marriage.
Since then, its treasury has grown from $637,000 to $8.5 million in 2009 as it attacked same-sex unions across the country. In the last 18 months, donations have swollen to more than $13 million, sources say.
Sources? I believe I told that to the reporter when he called.
It's so over the top, it would be hysterical—if it were not a sign of our times.
(More news you have not been told: France this week voted again to reject same-sex marriage, 293 to 222. "We are against homophobia but we do not want to alter the image and function of marriage in the collective subconscious," said UMP lawmaker Michel Diefenbacher.)
If this bill passes the New York legislature, it will only be after an incredible push by Democratic leaders, Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Bloomberg, aided and abetted by Big Media, Big Hollywood, and Madison Avenue—and one or two big GOP donors too.
But in the end it is the Republican leadership's decision to take up this bill in the Senate which is responsible for putting New York through this fight.
On Monday, in the first New Hampshire debate, five of the seven GOP candidates came out for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. They know what the Republicans think on this issue—and they know right from wrong.
There is no need for the Senate to vote on marriage in the middle of a budget crash, just two years after it already rejected same-sex marriage. If the Senate does so this week it is purely a result of a political calculation on the part of GOP leadership that the political fallout will be less from voting than from not voting. It reflects a political judgment that you and I know is wrong—in both senses.
When I read the comments on RubenDiaz.com, I can't help but suspect that even many gay-marriage advocates know it's wrong.
Who would write stuff like this?
"Despicable spic. You're a pig. A moronic believer in religious drivel who is far too stupid to comprehend anything. Let's hope you come down with typhoid in the next few days. Maybe you should pray to Jesus. That's the trouble with democracies. They give a voice to @#$&! heads like you and your ignorant, poverty stricken followers."
Unbelievable! It was signed by a D.J. Fontana. (I'm sure that's some unknown guy throwing ugly hate darts, and not the famous drummer by the same name.)
2011 and 2012, and beyond, will give us the chance to help brave Democrats like Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz and to show Republican elites that they need to listen to the people. I promise you: We will not give up this fight! NOM pledged at least $1 million to help educate New Yorkers on how their representatives vote on this issue. With your help and God's, we will stand by our word.
As Archbishop Timothy P. Dolan put it so eloquently this week, "God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago."
It's fourth down and long in the fourth quarter in the fight for marriage in New York. But some amazing people are standing up for God's truth about marriage.
One of the people who stood on the steps of City Hall yesterday was David Tyree.
If you are a football fan like me, you may recognize him as the New York Giants' wide receiver who caught the key pass that lead the Giants to a cliffhanging last-minute victory in the 2008 Super Bowl—the "catch of the decade," as it's called.
When Maggie found out he was at the press conference, she called him up. He's an incredible man, as this excerpt from Maggie's syndicated column makes clear. Maggie writes:
Just a few weeks after Toronto sportscaster Damian Goddard lost his job by tweeting to his personal Twitter list of 175 people that he supports marriage as the union of husband and wife, David Tyree turned up on the steps of City Hall, joining more than 125 pastors (plus some rabbis)—black, white, Hispanic—who came to rebut Mayor Bloomberg's call to pass a gay marriage bill.
Bishop Joseph Materra of Brooklyn, who organized the press conference, told me he warned David Tyree that a public stance in favor of traditional views of marriage could be costly.
David Tyree laughed when I asked him today, a few hours after the press conference, if it was true.
"Yes," he said, but David did not sound worried. "I'm not the average guy; I don't have much desire in my life to be liked by everybody. My desire is to use my life and my voice and any platform I'm given to serve God. There's only one person I am going to be judged by in the end."
Tyree is married now, the father of five (with another on the way). He didn't always live that life. Growing up in a divorced home, even though his mother and his father were both in his life, he felt the ache so many children of divorce feel. "Only a man can teach you how to be a man, and only a woman can teach you how to be a woman," he told me. "When your father is not in your home, you look to TV to teach you how to be a man. And the things society tells you—sexual conquest and economic prowess—lead to an unfulfilled life." He's grateful he's escaped that life and feels a particular obligation to speak now for marriage.
He is not a political guy, he tells me. He came forward in part in response to the news that his former teammate Michael Strahan had come out for gay marriage. "I love the guy, he's a great teammate," Tyree told me, "But many good people are quietly on the side of marriage, and it can get discouraging if no one speaks up. It's deeply disturbing for government to try to redefine something that didn't originate with man. That's my heart's cry, the reason I did this."
Children long for a mom and a dad.
But as Tyree said in the City Action Coalition press release:."I believe in marriage as God originally intended, between one man and one woman. My position may not be popular in some circles, but I care more about marriage and family than my reputation."
Brave man. It says a lot for where we are headed that standing for marriage as it has been known throughout all of human history could conceivably win you a bad reputation in any circle.
In New York, the push for gay marriage is incredible; it's the eleventh hour, the last chance for New Yorkers who care about our marriage tradition to speak up.
But then David Tyree's a guy who is good to have in your corner in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
David Tyree graciously agreed to do a video interview with NOM and it's going viral: ESPN, TMZ, Drudge Report, NY Daily News, CNN, the list keeps growing. Take a minute to watch it and share it with your friends.
Amazing testimony from a good and brave man. I especially love the shout out at the end to a high school boy who might be getting harassed for opposing gay marriage. Share it with your high school teens.
Kudos and gratitude to him, and to Bishop Joseph Materra, City Action Coalition, Rev. Jason Maguire, and all the other pastors speaking truth, timeless truth, to the passing powers that be.
Speaking of truth, I can't resist clueing you in on a weird little news story that hit the internet this week.
You've probably never heard of Dr. Paula Brooks, but we have. As the editor of a gay blog called "Lez Get Real" she was a particularly virulent critic of NOM's, regularly accusing us of lies. She even wrote Maggie personally to call her a liar, bigot, etc.
So we were as surprised as anyone to wake up this morning and find out Dr. Paula Brooks doesn't exist. "She" is really a married white guy from Ohio with a wife who decided to pretend to be a lesbian because he didn't think anyone would take his views seriously unless he faked being a lesbian.
To read the tale of how he was outed, after helping NPR discredit another blogger on his site who was called the "Gay Girl in Damascus" (who also turned out to be, well... not gay, not a girl, and not in Damascus) check out: "Just Two Dudes Pretending to be Lesbians, Trying to Change the World."
I'm not sure what to make of this story except that, coming as it did this week with the hard, long slog in New York, maybe it's just a little reminder: In the end truth and love will prevail over lies and hatred.
God bless and keep you always!
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
P.S. NOM seeks to be your voice for your values. And we can't do that without your help! The fight for marriage is urgent and every dollar you can give will make a difference. Whether you can give $25 or $250, or perhaps a monthly donation of just $10, know that you will be a part of the great battles—and the great victories!—still to come. Please help us defend marriage for your children, your grandchildren, and this great country.