"Gathering Storm" strikes again

The National Organization for Marriage's new ad takes aim at same-sex unions in New York.

By Judy Berman
Published May 28, 2009 2:29PM (EDT)

"Think same-sex marriage doesn't affect your family?" asks a concerned narrator, over images of children getting off a school bus. "Legalizing gay marriage has consequences for kids. Massachusetts schools teach children that boys can marry other boys." (Parents beware: They don't even have to wait until they grow up and become men!) "A California public school took first graders to a same-sex wedding, calling it a 'teachable moment.'" But wait, there's more: "It's not just kids who will face consequences. The rights of people who believe marriage is between a man and woman will no longer matter." Imagine that! Our right to discriminate against fellow citizens could dry up just like that! Alas, the narrator continues, "We'll all have to accept gay marriage whether we like it or not."

That's right, Broadsheet readers: They're ba-ack! The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), infamous for its "Gathering Storm" ad and the string of fantastic parodies it inspired, has released a new PSA (posted below). Now that California's Supreme Court has decided to uphold Proposition 8, the organization is turning its attention to New York, where the state Assembly has already passed a gay marriage bill and the Senate is expected to vote within the next four weeks.

As the New York Times reports, the 30-second spot will air in New York City and Albany. "We need to combat the relative vacuum on our side," Maggie Gallagher, founder of NOM, told the Times. "This message is that gay marriage will have consequences. And if you oppose gay marriage, pick up the phone, write a letter, drop an e-mail, send us some money." She added, "Their most powerful argument is, 'This won’t matter to you, so you can drop your opposition.'" (Hey, Maggie? Sometimes arguments are powerful because they're right.)

What the Times neglects to mention is that NOM seems to be fighting the bill on Democrats' home turf by aiming its ad at African-Americans, a population that voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 8 in California's November election. Most of the images in the video are of black schoolchildren, and one particularly poignant photo shows an African-American couple, male and female, on their wedding day.

Speaking of Yes on 8, shouldn't that group have ridden off into the sunset by now? Well, you'd think. But they're already up in arms again, about Alameda County's new "elementary school anti-bully curriculum ... intended to teach respect for gay and lesbian families and students." Among other things, the super-tame plan allows teachers to (gasp!) "begin to use the words 'lesbian' and 'gay' in fourth-grade classes."

Echoing NOM's concerns, Yes on 8 has responded with a press release bearing the headline, "Elementary School Children to Be Indoctrinated With New Gay Curriculum." Says the group's chairman, Ron Prentice:

Elementary school children will be instructed about homosexuality without their parents’ knowledge ... This is exactly what we warned voters about during the Proposition 8 campaign ... While pro-homosexual activists deny any impact on children, local school boards and the State Legislature press for formal instruction in concert with the gay agenda.

Ah, the gay agenda! It never gets old, does it? Looks like no one bothered to teach the Yes on 8 folks one of the most valuable things I learned in elementary school: Everybody hates a sore winner.

Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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