3 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: The Gays Are Coming!

The inexorable march toward full equality got some unexpected boosts this week, enraging conservatives from Oregon to Washington, D.C.
By: Sunnivie Brydum
May 14 2014 6:29 PM

Welcome back to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of anti-LGBT rhetoric to grace our news feeds in the past seven days. This week, there were several stunning advances in LGBT equality and visibility here in the homeland, which, naturally, triggered the all-too-predictable backlash from the right-wing and those opposed to change. Read on to see which pieces of absurdity made the cut to be among the most outrageous, but expect a healthy dose of snark in the following pages — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

3. NOM Wants to Defend 'Traditional Marriage' — Anonymously

When the antigay National Organization for Marriage filed a last-minute petition asking to intervene as defenders of Oregon's ban on marriage equality — just 48 hours before the case was scheduled to be heard in federal court — those of us already squarely planted on the right side of history let out a collective groan. Two months earlier, the state's Democratic attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, had announced that she wouldn't be defending the ban, pointing to the fact that it's unconstitutional and, in her words "legally indefensible.

But the (not-so) good, kind-hearted Christians at NOM couldn't let an outdated, discriminatory law go down without a fight. When the group heard that there was literally no one mounting a defense to support Oregon's existing marriage law, the Washington, D.C.-based group begged the court to delay the trial while they got their homophobic nonsense in order to legally defend the law. The judge presiding over the federal case — who happens to be a gay man — refused to delay the trial, but did schedule a separate hearing to allow NOM to make its case as to why it should be allowed to intervene in the trial after all of Oregon's highest-ranking elected officials declined to do so. 

But alas, just one day before NOM was scheduled to appear in federal court and argue that it should be allowed to intervene, the group filed a brief explaining that they were unable to find anyone within the organization — or outside of it — who was willing to attach their name to the legal defense of discrimination. 

NOM contends that it does indeed have members who would have standing to challenge the law, but that they are afraid to do so "in the face of real concerns about threats and reprisals."

"NOM and other pro-marriage organizations attempted to locate a county clerk who would be willing to risk the harassment that has befallen county clerks elsewhere when they tried to defend their state’s marriage laws," writes NOM in its brief. But even though NOM interviewed county clerks, business owners, and voters who supported the constitutional amendment, "all of whom expressed strong interest in intervening in the matter," according to the brief, those people were ultimately cowed by "grave concerns about possible threats, harassment, and retaliation should they do so."

Amazingly, that didn't stop NOM's attorneys from moving forward with the request, arguing in federal court Wednesday that the organization should be allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit because it — hypothetically — has people among its ranks who have a stake in the outcome. Even though those people aren't willing to put their name on the effort, and indeed, aren't even willing to be publicly identified. (There's that classic NOM transparency, for you!)

Unsurprisingly, when NOM got its day in federal court Wednesday, the judge flatly dismissed tits request to intervene. "This is an Oregon case," judge Michael McShane reportedly told the attorneys. "It will remain an Oregon case."

Find more outrage on the following pages. 

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