Anti-Gay Marriage Movement Fractures

When the Alliance for Marriage, a group behind the proposed federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, announced last week that it was changing its tactics from lobbying Congress to a “50-state strategy,” it appeared that other religious-right groups were pleased that AFM would be pushing for states to amend their own constitutions. Now, it looks like the Alliance is running out of allies.

In an article published by Focus on the Family, Family Research Council’s Tom McClusky initially said, “We’re glad that [AFM President] Matt [Daniel]’s group is joining the fight, and we look forward to working together on the state level, just as we have on the federal level.” Focus’s Carrie Gordon Earll “also welcomed AFM’s efforts,” according to the article.

However, Focus on the Family appears to have removed the article from their Citizenlink website, and a similar article leaves out the positive comments, only keeping the quote from Earll that the “next phase” of their fight against same-sex marriage is to prevent “counterfeit marriage efforts through domestic partnership and civil union legislation.”  While this missing article may simply reflect a technical glitch, a clue suggesting otherwise is the harsh reaction from the virulently anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition.

“The Alliance for Marriage should either renounce its past support for civil unions or stay in Washington where its amendment has always been and will continue to be a non-starter,” declared TVC Chairman Lou Sheldon. Citing quotes from AFM’s Daniels that his proposed federal amendment would not bar civil unions, Sheldon said, “Civil unions are synonymous with homosexual marriage and to see them as some sort of compromise is delusional and naive.”

True grassroots religious conservative activists are battle-tested and they know that throwing homosexual marriage extremists a bone like civil unions does not keep them from attacking marriage.

Most reasonable people realize that the battle against homosexual marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships et al are one and the same fight. A superficial marriage victory which also established a right in the U.S. Constitution to civil unions, as AFM proposes, would, in fact, be a defeat for religious conservatives. …

I am encouraging our allies in the states to be wary of AFM. If there was a ‘truth in labeling’ requirement for political groups, AFM would be forced to change its name to Alliance for Marriage and Civil Unions.

Six years ago, TVC was one of the first major religious-right groups to voice support for AFM’s amendment, but, while most right-wing groups ended up backing the amendment (at least for its political value), TVC changed its mind, citing its concern that some states would still be able to allow gay couples to enter civil unions.