October 23, 2012 at 11:45 am EDT | by Kevin Naff
Rogues gallery leading Md. anti-marriage fight

The Blade in recent weeks has reported a string of stories about the shady characters spearheading the effort to overturn Maryland’s marriage equality law. Unfortunately, the mainstream media are slow — if not outright refusing — to follow suit and report the facts about those who would strip away rights approved by the state legislature.

In the final two weeks before Maryland voters decide the fate of the marriage equality law, the opposition is finally showing its true colors — shedding the façade of friendly disagreement and “loving the sinner” polite rhetoric and revealing an angry prejudice fueled by belief in outdated, offensive stereotypes.

On Sunday, the Maryland Marriage Alliance — the main group working to overturn the marriage law — held a rally in Baltimore that featured shockingly homophobic diatribes. Phillip Goudeaux of the Calvary Christian Center in California went so far as to label gay men “predators.”

“You know if we’re willing to stand up and do what we need to do in order to be able to understand that they’re after our children, they’re predators,” Goudeaux said. “They’re preying on them, trying to redefine the thing they rarely notice. I mean you ain’t going to change, but they can go after our children. They can’t reproduce so they’ve got to indoctrinate.”

He didn’t stop there, referring to gays as “perverted spirits.”

“Sexual preference is a choice. You can choose what kind of sexual preference you want, I guess,” he said. “To me I don’t understand how two men would want to be together anyway. That’s nasty. That’s nasty. … So there’s got to be something the matter when a man sees another man or wants a man more than he wants a woman … That’s sick. That’s sick.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville and Maryland Marriage Alliance President Derek McCoy were among the roughly 100 people who attended the hate rally.

What a cast of unsavory and ethically challenged characters. Perkins, of course, runs an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Jackson is a nutcase who recently announced he’d put a “curse” on the Blade. That followed the Blade exposing Jackson in a series of stories published in 2009 questioning whether Jackson was a legal D.C. resident at the time he registered to vote in the city and took out petitions to place a same-sex marriage referendum on the ballot. And McCoy, the Blade recently revealed, has a history of problems with the IRS, including more than $32,000 in liens for unpaid taxes.

We also learned last week that Julius Henson is funding one of the anti-gay groups in Maryland. Henson, you might recall, went to jail for conspiring to produce robocalls designed to discourage black voters from participating in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Another face of the anti-marriage campaign is that of Cecilia Royals, who stars in one of the Maryland Marriage Alliance videos attacking the marriage law. Royals, who founded the National Institute of Womanhood, a pro-life group, has ties to the secretive Catholic organization Opus Dei. She called the 2002 U.N. treaty on women’s rights a “battering ram … against women with traditional values,” and has been an outspoken critic of contraception.

Is any of this relevant to the marriage cause? Hell yes. Anyone who targets an entire class of people with a discriminatory ballot measure to undo the legislative process better have a squeaky clean record. A convicted felon who tampered with the electoral process has no business interfering with the completed work of our state legislators. A man with a record of unpaid taxes has no business telling responsible, law-abiding gay and lesbian couples that they’re not entitled to the myriad tax advantages of marriage. A hate monger like Perkins has no place sitting in judgment of loving couples that merely seek equality under the law.

It’s unfortunate that mainstream media outlets haven’t caught up to the Blade’s reporting on this rogues gallery of haters. If more voters knew about the true character of those who have anointed themselves the keepers of “tradition,” they might opt for new representation.

They are spreading lies about the nature of the marriage law and using anti-gay animus to motivate religious voters to turn out on Election Day. It’s a tired playbook that we’ve seen so many times before. We must counter their lies and hate with personal messages to our friends, family, colleagues and neighbors about the importance of this law in protecting our families and children.

Read the actual text of the referendum and you’ll see it says more about “protecting” churches than it does about gays marrying. Question 6:

“Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

The other side is desperate and sensing defeat and so they are trotting out the oldest, most offensive anti-gay stereotypes in a last-ditch effort to take away our rights. The time to be out, visible and, yes, loud is now, because the mainstream media have given a pass to the most viciously homophobic voices leading the charge against our equality.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

1 Comment
  • This is a good article, and it is a shame that the mainstream media are not picking up on these stories. It may make some people think twice about supporting these groups if they knew more about their leaders.

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