By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com June 20 2014 1:45 PM ET
Thursday’s March for Marriage, sponsored by the antigay National Organization for Marriage, was light on attendance but heavy on ahistorical comparisons and bizarre rhetoric. Herewith, some of the strangest arguments advanced by speakers at the march and rally against marriage equality.
Mike Huckabee: Fighting marriage equality is like fighting segregation and the Holocaust, and Martin Luther King would approve.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful who is now a Fox News host, quoted this passage from King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” written in 1954 when King was jailed for protesting segregation: “We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’ It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal.”
Huckabee then commented, “I wish I had penned those words. But they were penned by someone who understood freedom and understood that there was a time to stand up against law when it has become unjust. … I wish he were here today to say … Mr. Supreme Court justices, Madam Supreme Court justices, your role is only to interpret the law, to make sure that it somehow meshes with the Constitution, not that it messes with the Constitution!”
Brian Brown: We’re on the right side of history, just like Abraham Lincoln.
“We know that some day, whether it's one year, 10 years, 20 years, or decades from now, people will look back at this time and remember those of us who stood up for the truth,” NOM’s president said. “And as Abraham Lincoln said, when the mystic chords of memory are touched by the angels of our higher nature, they will remember not only that we stood on the right side of truth, but we stand on the right side of history.”
John Eastman: More Lincoln connections, because fighting marriage equality is like fighting slavery.
“The courts should never take away controversial issues away from the voters in this country,” said NOM’s board chair, paraphrasing a recent opinion by Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s swing justice. “And that’s absolutely right. The last time the court tried to do that a century and a half ago on the slavery question, Abraham Lincoln refused to comply. He said if we let the court be the final word, we cease to be our own rulers.” Eastman was referring to the infamous Dred Scott decision, which held that blacks could never become U.S. citizens. He also claimed that decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage “struck down marriage.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp: Real men oppose marriage equality and help the women desperately seeking a husband.
“Every man in America, every man in this crowd, every husband in America, your children need you,” the Kansas congressman said. “Your woman, your wife, she needs you. It’s time that you become a real man and stand up for those who need you. Love your family, love your wife, love your children because they desperately need you. They’re desperately looking for a husband, they’re desperately looking for a father. Be a real man of God because this is about you and your wife and your children.”
Rev. William Owens: The movement for marriage equality is not a real civil rights movement.
“This is no civil rights movement,” said Owens, head of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, which is basically a NOM front group. “This is a bully movement. This is about a lot of bullies intimidating. We had the real civil rights movement. … I didn’t march one yard, one foot, for the same sex to get married.”
Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.: The people never voted on marriage equality.
“Let them vote on it,” Diaz, a state senator in New York, said in Spanish, followed by an English translation. “Why are they so afraid?” Diaz ignored that marriage equality has been upheld by popular vote in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State. He also said that “Satan took over the schools” after government-sponsored prayer in public schools was ruled unconstitutional.
Rev. Sam Rohrer: Marriage equality is inviting God’s wrath.
“For any national leader to redefine the truth is to spurn [God’s] blessing and to invite God’s judgment,” said Rohrer, a former Pennsylvania state representative who is now president of the American Pastors Network. He added, “Laws that bless the murder of the unborn and now arrogance seeking to rewrite God’s eternal law on marriage and family are destroying the very fabric of our nation.”
Doug Mainwaring: I could benefit from marriage equality, but I don’t want it.
“I’m gay and I’m against same-sex marriage,” said Mainwaring, cofounder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots. He also urged his audience “not to give into the message of same-sex marriage as a human rights issue.”
Rick Santorum: Accidentally on our side?
“If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people, then anybody should be able to get married,” said the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and onetime presidential hopeful. He emphasized, though, that marriage is much more and needs to be strengthened for the good of men, women, and children — but he never explained how same-sex marriage is weakening the institution. He concluded, “This isn’t about hating anybody or anything. This is about love and truth and wanting what’s best for men, women, and children.” Yeah, right.