National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown today offered an unusual answer to how he’d help someone who’s suffered because of homophobia — by telling them “the truth” about marriage.
Anti–marriage equality activist Brown squared off with equality advocate Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal today ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on marriage rights. With host Pedro Echevarria moderating, they also took questions from callers.
One caller, a man named Andrew from Florida, told the story of coming out to his family and being surprised at their acceptance. But he also detailed the hurt caused to LGBT people by antigay politicians, although he realizes they are in the minority. “Even though people like [Kansas Gov.] Sam Brownback can roll back legislation that protects gay people like me and [Texas Gov.] Greg Abbott can cut a cake in celebration of his state’s ban on gay marriage, they don’t make up the majority of people,” Andrew said. He said he’d gone through depression and hardship but was hopeful that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of his right to marry, and he thanked Wolfson for his civil rights work.
After Wolfson talked about gay people helping to change the hearts and minds of others to move the nation toward equality, he asked Brown, “What do you do to help that caller?” Brown responded, “I uplift the truth of what marriage is, I uplift the reality that religious liberty is important, and I uplift the reality that his civil rights aren’t being abridged in a country that says there is something unique and special about mothers and fathers.” He claimed gay and lesbian people have “the right to live as they choose, but they don’t have the right to redefine marriage.” And he actually asserted that legalizing same-sex marriage will cause more discrimination — in the form of an “attack on people’s fundamental rights” when they don’t want to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding.
Wolfson went on to say, “Mr. Brown gets one thing fundamentally wrong here among many. That is, he keeps talking about ‘redefine marriage.’ Gay people are not out there trying to redefine marriage, and the courts are not redefining marriage. Marriage is not defined by who is denied it. When gay people share in marriage, it does not redefine marriage. … Mr. Brown is still married to his wife. I am still married to my husband.”
Watch the call from Andrew and the exchange below, and click here to view the complete hour-plus conversation between Wolfson and Brown.