Michelle Marzullo

Protest NOM's "Summer of Marriage" At A Town Near You

Filed By Michelle Marzullo | July 21, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Angel Action, gathering storm, marriage, marriage equality, Matthew Shepard, National Organization for Marriage, NOM, protest, Summer of Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage known as NOM is conducting a "Summer for Marriage" tour starting in July and culminating with a rally in Washington, DC on August 15, 2010. Click here to find out about the counter-protest to NOM's summer of hate organized by GetEQUAL and Freedom to Marry.

3.jpgMake no mistake about it, NOM is not interested in helping people understand the real history of marriage and divorce, or of providing counseling or resources to people struggling with their relationship in this terrible recession--remember financial trouble is the leading cause of divorce? Nope. They are wandering around the country on a bus with their millions of H8 dollars spreading spiteful and fear-mongering messages about offering marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

These wing nuts are so out of touch that they use queer terms to describe their projects like calling people against marriage equality a "Rainbow Coalition" in their campy Gathering Storm ad against marriage equality. The reference to a group of diverse people gathered together under a rainbow (flag) is unmistakable! They also call this summer's tour the "2M4M" supposedly 2 million for marriage better known as 2 Men for Men (http://2m4m.org/)! It's so ironically ignorant it's funny **ahem** and sad.

Stand Against False Prophets

They are now on a bus tour around the US stirring up hate for the run up to the November mid-term elections. Make no mistake about it, Brian Brown (NOM's "executive director") and Maggie Gallagher (NOM's founder) and their buddies are so obsessed with who we fuck and commit ourselves to that they would spend their lives and lots of H8 money to use Culture War tactics in an attempt to create marriage as a wedge issue to funnel votes to anti-marriage equality candidates.

These mid-term elections are uncertain all around but one thing is clear--we must stop bigoted vote getting strategies trumpeted anew since the election of President Obama. Indeed, we should not tolerate such tactics and groups like NOM who back such work. A great example of such a purge was the expulsion by the Tea Party of Mark Williams and the Tea Party Express who's bald-faced racist rhetoric was so stunning that direct action by Tea-Party members themselves was absolutely necessary.

It is also necessary here, today, on this issue. What groups like NOM do is not just prey upon homophobic fears, they judge us all--the couples who opt to not marry or marry later in life, the millions of people who have been divorced, single-parents, people who wouldn't be caught dead married if you paid them, married people who DO support marriage equality--there are many reasons for and against marriage outside of the ridiculous idea of "protecting" marriage in the US that, if it has done anything, has changed as each new generation makes it their own.Yet NOM is stuck in their 1950s fantasy about what the world should look like for all of us. I think we all understand their world of yore is as full of fractures and lies as the one they envision we presently inhabit.


Calling for ANGEL ACTION!

I think what is called for is something similar to the Angel Action popularized in the play and movie "The Laramie Project" about Matthew Shepard's brutal murder. This is a peaceful action in the face of homophobic bigotry. It is so elegant, non-violent and simple: show up in mass dressed in white with "Angel Wings" (see how to assemble these here) and hold these at your sides. Sing songs of love and forgiveness. Otherwise, be silent. Encircle them with our love. They need it.
hate and wings.jpg

Do this or don't but show up. Let them know that their hate will not be tolerated in America as it is indeed antithetical to a place touted as protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and one might add love. You CAN do something about this and it won't take long--a couple of hours out of your day and the effect will be magnificent. Stand for your love, your life, and your family--whatever you conceive that to be.

Tour dates at a town near you:
July 20 - Trenton, NJ
July 23 - Akron, OH
July 24 - Lima, OH
July 25 - Indianapolis, IN
July 27 - Madison, WI
July 28 - Saint Paul, MN
July 29 - St. Cloud, MN
July 30 - Rochester, MN
August 1 - Des Moines, IA
August 3 -Sioux City, IA
August 5 - Saint Louis, MO
August 7 - Atlanta, GA
August 8 - Tampa, FL
August 10 - Raleigh, NC
August 11 - Charleston, WV
August 13 - Harrisburg, PA
August 15 - Washington, D.C.*
*Go to this one as well, if you can, even if you are going to others.

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Protesting these "wingnuts" just makes them more relevant. It helps promote them and their message. Most of society ignores them, we should, too.

NOM and Westboro Baptist don't change minds or gather votes with their crazy shenanigans. It doesn't make any sense to protest them or copy them.

Please list your ways to change minds. I would like concrete examples since anything that is not in one of your posts is always wrong in your view. So other than say we must change minds, I would like to see your list of how to change minds. And don't say just talking to people and making them magically on our sides. Most of those reading this obviously do talk to plenty of people and have for years.

For once I am in agreement with Andrew but just talking about our needs and our loves with friends an families have been something that I have done for years. The consensus is to counter NOM effectively is to simply ignore them. That is going to be our most effective way of protesting. We could to be really effective would be to hold our own rally far away from NOM. They need us to cut and paste our reaction to give them the satisfaction that they so sorely need for attention. My guess is that they are falling apart and we are only helping to keep them floating. Notice that they wouldn't dream of coming to the West Coast to make it back to DC by mid-August. I would attend an separate rally in a different location blocks away for their location and they will simply fade away like a bad toothache. For the supporters of “Freedom to Marry” we really need to educate ourselves not to feed NOM. As proof of this think of what happened at Albany NY and Providence MA where NOM kicked out the news media so that they could provide their own take slanted as it was it took "Freedom to Marry" coverage just to show what our side should not be doing. They didn’t even cover the rant that was spoken by their speakers only the protest that I read looked like Nazi Storm troopers in love t-shirts. They feed on this type of attention that they so sorely need.

No no no no no. Do not go to their events. Do not protest. I know these people are frustrating, but this will only encourage them and bring them attention. If you are going to spend time and energy on this issue, talk to your friends and family who are undecided; they are the ones whose vote will make the difference next time.

NOM is not the enemy. Or rather, they are not an enemy that is worth fighting against. They are just trolls. I read their blog just about every day and it's becoming increasingly clear that they *want* protesters so that they can claim to be the poor, oppressed martyrs in this fight.

Michelle Marzullo Michelle Marzullo | July 21, 2010 11:06 AM

i am with you on being sure that protests are done with care. we don't want to waste energy and resources on every little thing that pops up. and the phelps clan isn't interested in talking--we protest to reassure each other, to educate the people they are trying to reach--haters are a loss to us and there is no real reason for dialogue with them. the reason why i thought to discuss this and to urge this protest was partly because they are attacking us directly and partly because i see this as a twisted vote-getting strategy that should not be allowed to stand. part of the problem with prop. 8 organizing was that we needed a deeper outreach in small bursts overtime. democracy is as much about agitating and speaking up as it is about letting each other decide for ourselves. there's a time for both.

I had done this up as a wallpaper image, but, y'know, ironed onto a bunch of tshirts would confuse the hell out of these people... :-)


Michelle Marzullo Michelle Marzullo | July 21, 2010 5:04 PM

so witty! i love it!! you should definitely do a cafe press offering or contact GetEQUAL/Freedom to Marry. i love the graphics and the more appropriate naming. SO good! thanks for that!

Consider it done -- and as a result, I get to raise some funds for the AIDS Committee of Durham, NC, whose Drag Bingo nights have been a highlight of my life in this state.

ALL net proceeds will go to ACD. For more information and to see the sheer panoply of objets d'art available, go to:



Wow, amazing we both blogged on this on the same day and with a smiliar message calling for a peaceful, angelic presence if we are to show up at these events. I debated Maggie Gallagher in 2006 at Brown University. I said "If you care about families and marriage, let's work together to offer free communication workshops to couples and ending domestic violence workshops." I told her that I am a clinical psychologist and one of the things I do is couples therapy and teach marriage and family therapy to Masters Level clinicians. She could not be more disinterested. She is not interested to "saving marriage" she is interested in saving the patriarchy, promoting herself, and making money off people's ignorance.

Bottom-line: as we deal with these people we need to take the high road. We are advocating for equal respect, dignity, and equality for who we love and to change hearts we must stay in ours. Thank you for your thoughtful blog!!!

"To Counter-Protest Or Not" is a difficult question.

When the opponents are totally wacko and obviously do what they do to attract media attention, then by all means ignore them.

But some messages deserve a public response of, "I don't agree with this at all" ... certainly violence of any type (including wars that are not self-defense) deserves countering. And the angel thing is brilliant.

The Southern Poverty Law Center advises that hate groups should not be counter-protested, but I believe it depends upon the climate --- there are times when silence is the greater danger.

Let your conscience be your guide.