FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2009
Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216.1514 | Cell: 202/812.8140
Rachel Balick | Phone: 202/216.1516 | Cell: 202/246.1226
Human Rights Campaign Exposes National Organization for Marriage’s Fake Ad for Fake Problems
Right-wing group does not have truth on its side, so it hires actors to spew lies; Audition reel uncovered online
WASHINGTON –The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, released a statement and a factual rebuttal today on a television spot produced by the National Organization for Marriage and set to run on CNN, the Fox News Channel, and MSNBC in the coming days. In the ad, actors make disproven claims about marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
“What’s next for the National Organization for Marriage? Will they hire legendary infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil to hawk their phony agenda?” said Human Rights Campaign Spokesman Brad Luna. “This ad is full of outrageous falsehoods—and they don’t even come out of the mouths of real people.”
According to sources, the phony ad is set to run eight times per day in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and California. The ad can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AzLrn5JVIo
The National Organization for Marriage hired actors to peddle their lies about marriage for lesbian and gay couples. The audition reels can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRjVDZxho54 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqNFBt33o4
The National Organization for Marriage and Maggie Gallagher is featured on the interactive wall of EndtheLies.org, a new HRC action-based website launched to confront the lies and distortions repeatedly used to defeat LGBT equality measures. National Organization for Marriage was added to the wall after the group created an anti- marriage equality radio ad that played in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
“Again and again, opponents of equality have claimed one shallow victory after another by telling lies about who we are as individuals, as loving couples and as families. These lies must be called out for what they are every time the right-wing seeks to derail our progress by spreading distortions and inciting fear mongering,” continued Luna.
EndtheLies.org’s interactive wall features videos, audio, pictures, and quotes, calling out those who maliciously use lies and misinformation to interfere with the LGBT community’s path to equality. By clicking on the panels of the wall, users can access more information about those highlighted, watch videos, add comments on multimedia discussion boards, and learn how to take action to counteract their misdeeds.
Along with the National Organization for Marriage, the wall currently features the American Family Association (AFA), the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, and Utah State Senator Chris Buttars, Proposition 8 lawyer Ken Starr, right-wing media personality Rush Limbaugh, and GOP Chairman Michael Steele. Users can also nominate their own candidates for inclusion on the wall.
Background Ad Rebuttal
“The Real Truth Behind the Fake Ad”
The general argument of the ad is that the push for marriage equality isn’t just about rights for same-sex couples, it’s about imposing contrary values on people of faith. The examples they cite in the ad are:
(1) A California doctor who must choose between her faith and her job
(2) A member of New Jersey church group which is punished by the state because they can’t support same-sex marriage
(3) A Massachusetts parent who stands by helpless while the state teaches her son that gay marriage is okay
The facts indicate that (1) refers to the Benitez decision in California, determining that a doctor cannot violate California anti-discrimination law by refusing to treat a lesbian based on religious belief, (2) refers to the Ocean Grove, New Jersey Methodist pavilion that was open to the general public for events but refused access for civil union ceremonies (and was fined by the state for doing so) and (3) refers to the Parker decision in Massachusetts, where parents unsuccessfully sought to end public school discussions of family diversity, including of same-sex couples.
All three examples involve religious people who enter the public sphere, but don’t want to abide by the general non-discriminatory rules everyone else does. Both (1) and (2) are really about state laws against sexual orientation discrimination, rather than specifically about marriage. And (3) is about two pairs of religious parents trying to impose their beliefs on all children in public schools.
The real facts of each case are:
· The California doctor entered a profession that promises to “first, do no harm” and the law requires her to treat a patient in need – gay or straight, Christian or Muslim – regardless of her religious beliefs. The law does not, and cannot, dictate her faith – it can only insist that she follow her oath as a medical professional.
· The New Jersey church group runs, and profits from, a beachside pavilion that it rents out to the general public for all manner of occasions –concerts, debates and even Civil War reenactments— but balks at permitting couples to hold civil union ceremonies there. The law does not challenge the church organization’s beliefs about homosexuality – it merely requires that a pavilion that had been open to all for years comply with laws protecting everyone from discrimination, including gays and lesbians.
· The Massachusetts parent disagrees with an aspect of her son’s public education, a discussion of the many different kinds of families he will likely encounter in life, including gay and lesbian couples. The law does not stop her from disagreeing, from teaching him consistently with her differing beliefs at home, or even educating her child in a setting that is more in line with her faith traditions. But it does not allow any one parent to dictate the curriculum for all students based on her family’s religious traditions.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.