As the Supreme Court hears cases on the right of gay couples to marry, right-wing politicians and pundits are casting proponents of marriage equality and LGBT rights in general as threats to faith and freedom.
“In a twisting of logic, they want to silence the religious in the name of tolerance,” Texas governor and failed presidential candidate Rick Perry told attendees of the Texas Faith and Family Rally in Austin Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Said another speaker at the event, state senator Donna Campbell: “Our core values are being attacked on a daily basis … by government fiat in our courts and in our schools. They want to redefine marriage between a natural man and natural woman the same way the want to redefine the Constitution. It’s just not going to stand with me.”
In a column published Tuesday on RedState.com, commentator Erick Erickson also said LGBT rights supporters are seeking to silence those with religious objections to same-sex marriage. “Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God’s order will have to be driven from the national conversation,” he wrote. “They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals.”
He added that legal protections must be put in place for “churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution.” Actually, while some businesses have been sued under antidiscrimination laws for refusing to serve gay couples, no church has been forced to perform same-sex weddings.
Meanwhile, appearing on a conservative Christian radio show yesterday, antigay minister Jim Garlow said LGBT activists don’t want access to marriage but instead want to “destroy marriage” and that if marriage equality supporters prevail, Christians “will be forced underground. Their buildings will be taken away from them, many of their rights will be taken away from them.”
Garlow was also one of the speakers at a National Organization for Marriage rally outside the Supreme Court building Tuesday, along with NOM president Brian Brown, Harry Jackson, Gary Bauer, Bob Vander Plaats, and others. Attendance was sparse, notes People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch blog, with NOM first reporting it at 15,000, then revising it to “more than 10,000.” In contrast, 200,000 reportedly turned out for a recent anti–marriage equality rally in France.
In addition to such usual suspects as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and the Knights of Columbus, NOM had some allies at the rally that even the most suspicious LGBT activist might not expect. Displaying a particularly colorful presence were the red-sashed members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, an ultraconservative Roman Catholic group whose founder once called the Spanish Inquisition “a glorious moment,” Alternet points out. Beginning in the 15th century, the inquisition persecuted Jews and other non-Catholics in Spain, resulting in the execution of more than 1,000 Jews by burning at the stake and the eventual expulsion of all Jews from the nation.