The National Organization for
Marriage's (NOM) 23-city anti-gay marriage tour will end on Sunday as
gay marriages inch closer to resuming in California.
While traveling on the bus over the
past 30 days campaigning against the legalization of gay marriage,
one of the two bans that NOM helped put in place has come undone.
Out of the gate, the Summer for Marriage
Tour 2010 hit a major road block in Rhode Island, where NOM clashed
with counter demonstrators at an event staged on the Statehouse lawn.
Advocates for gay marriage attempted to shout down NOM's speakers by
chanting, “Get your hate out of our state.”
But battles became fewer and farther
between after the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest
gay rights advocate, said it believed the tour was designed to incite
loud protests, not promote heterosexual marriage.
Fred Sainz, vice president of
communications and marketing at HRC, said gay marriage foes were on
the hunt for evidence of ill-behaved protesters to boost its case
against proponents of gay marriage. Such evidence could help several
ongoing lawsuits that claim opponents of gay marriage face threats of
violence and intimidation, and their identities need to be legally
In Iowa, the only Midwest state where
the institution is legal and where the debate is red hot, activists
deliberately staged their counter demonstrations miles away from NOM
A sign calling for violence against gay
men and lesbians at an Indianapolis stop brought the tour some
The sign featured two nooses along with
the caption “The Solution To Gay Marriage” in red.
“The Bible says the last days men's
minds will get confused,” Larry
Adams, the owner of the sign, said in an interview posted on the
website Bilerico.com. “I'm trying to tell them the right thing
out here because I care for them and I don't want 'em to go to hell.”
Speakers on the tour spent much of
their time trying to flip the script on gay marriage advocates by
attempting to hijack their civil right argument.
“We've taken great pains to make
clear what we are all about,” NOM President Brian Brown said in St.
Paul. “We view ourselves as a new civil rights movement. …
Committed to something that in the 1960s was key: the right to vote.”
NOM's board chair, Maggie Gallagher, at
a stop in Charleston declared: “Same-sex marriage is not a civil
right – it is a civil wrong.”
In the final days of the tour, NOM
speakers turned to events unfolding in California, where a federal
judge had struck down the state's gay marriage ban put in place with
the help of NOM and its supporters.
Gallagher blasted Chief U.S. District
Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that declared Proposition 8
“Here we have an openly gay federal
judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of
our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts
that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our
Constitution,” she said in a television appearance.
“Judge Walker's ruling is more
evidence he is not a neutral referee, he's an activist on this
issue,” Brown said on the group's website, referring to Walker's
denial of a permanent stay on his ruling.
The bus docks in Washington D.C. for
its final rally on Sunday at the U.S. Capitol.