Does Expansion of Rights Also Expand Antigay Violence?

A spree of antigay violence in New York City could be backlash over LGBT equality, but the head of the National Organization for Marriage insists there's no connection.

BY Lucas Grindley

May 22 2013 10:07 AM ET

Mark Carson's photo on protest signs, Brian Brown

The National Organization for Marriage released a statement on Tuesday distancing its agenda from the murder of Mark Carson, a New Yorker gunned down for being gay.

"We condemn in the strongest possible way the murder of a gay man in New York by a killer who apparently hurled anti-gay insults at him moments before the killing," said Brian Brown, NOM's president, in a statement on its website. "This senseless act cannot be condoned in America or anywhere, and we urge that the perpetrator be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Although his side has repeatedly warned marriage equality could lead to the downfall of the entire American society, Brown's statement insisted that "this killing appears to have no connection to the current debate about redefining marriage." Not everyone agrees with Brown's assessment. In a video report, The New York Times interviewed the executive director for the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and there was no doubt in her mind that the sharp increase is because of passage of marriage equality in New York along with other advances in equality.

"There is absolutely a backlash," according to Sharon Stapel in the report.

The city has experienced a string of antigay violence, with the two most recent cases following a protest rally in the streets of the West Village in response to Carson's murder in particular. A couple was attacked in SoHo on Tuesday, and a gay nightlife promoter was beaten by a man who called him antigay slurs. The victim later shared pictures of his terribly bruised face online. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly held a news conference Tuesday and noted that while hate crimes in general are falling in their city, acts of antigay violence are way up compared to last year — by 70%, according to a report by Gothamist.

"It was a cold-blooded hate crime that cut short a life full of promise — and brought back awful memories for people who were once afraid to walk down the street with the person that they loved," Bloomberg told reporters, according to Gothamist. "Thankfully, we have come a long way from those days — but the murder of Mark Carson is a tragic reminder of how far we still have to go."

Watch the complete video below.

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