Lest anyone think marriage equality is a settled issue, this week’s World Congress of Families meeting in Salt Lake City provided a reminder that antigay activists don’t agree — and they’re determined to somehow undo the Supreme Court's landmark pro-equality ruling.
“All the court did, as significant as it was, is put a lie into the law,” National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown told the “family values” gathering Wednesday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. He called on attendees to do all they can to fight the ruling, even if it takes decades and a new set of justices appointed by conservative presidents.
As many on the right have done, Brown likened the marriage equality ruling to the 1857 Dred Scott decision upholding slavery, and urged his audience to make a stand for so-called traditional marriage as “martyrs” did for other causes.
“We should savor the fact that we live at a point in history, like those times before, in which we can stand for the truth … and God has put us here,” he said, according to the Tribune. “This fight is not over.”
He also sought to rally support for the First Amendment Defense Act, a piece of federal legislation that would protect individuals, businesses, and organizations from repercussions over actions they take out of a religious or moral objection to same-sex marriage.
Still, he warned, “there is no way that religious liberty will be completely protected in this country as long as this decision stands.”
Others sounding the alarm over marriage equality included Rev. Rafael Cruz, the father of Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. The elder Cruz made the false claim that because of the Supreme Court ruling, “it will be possible for some homosexual to come to your church demanding to be hired, whether as pastor or janitor is immaterial,” Right Wing Watch reports.
Cruz also told BuzzFeed the LGBT movement’s next move will be seeking to legalize pedophilia, and that nondiscrimination laws will lead to teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, which he says are already “brainwashing” children.
Another antigay speaker on Wednesday, which was designated “Marriage and Natural Family Day” at the conference, was Family Research Council attorney Cathy Ruse, who ignored history by claiming, “Who you love has never been the government’s business until now,” as quoted by the Tribune.
The World Congress of Families is a project of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, based in Rockford, Ill. The center bills itself as “a center for research on the natural family” and calls the congress “the world’s premier pro-family gathering.” The center and the congress, which are strongly opposed to abortion as well as LGBT equality, together are designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and have been accused of complicity in anti-LGBT legislation around the world.
This year’s World Congress, the ninth, marked the first time it was held in the U.S. LGBT activists had called on Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to cancel his appearance at the conference, which he refused to do. He and his wife, Jeanette, gave a brief welcoming address to the gathering Tuesday night, “avoiding mention of any specific hot-button political issues,” Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reports.
A few days earlier, Herbert defended his decision to be at the conference, the Tribune reports. He told reporters he might not agree with everything said there, but “they’re welcome in our state, just like other people who have different points of view in other areas. We’re not all the same. And we invite diversity and difference of opinions in Utah.”
Ahead of the meeting, the Human Rights Campaign took out an ad in the Tribune denouncing the World Congress, and it held its own Inclusive Families Conference, also in Salt Lake City. It also published a report exposing the hateful ideas espoused by the World Congress.
The World Congress ends Friday.