How’s This for a Contrast? NOM vs. the Presbyterians

Yesterday, like a lot of folks who write about marriage equality and gay rights, I followed the National Organization for Marriage’s underwhelming “March for Marriage” on twitter. At one point, Joe Jervis snarked that the majority of people watching the rally via the live feed that NOM paid for seemed to be gay activists.

So some people were paying attention. But not many. Sarah Jones, who was there, writes that the March for Marriage “didn’t display an organized popular movement against marriage equality, but rather a straggling, angry crowd” and that it was “it was less a march and more a collective stumble.”  And David Badash notes that the number of attendees was 2000 at most. This is important, he says:

Because clearly if the nation’s top-funded and number one organization attacking the rights of the LGBT community and same-sex couples cannot even muster up 5,000 or 10,000 people to come to a rally in Washington, D.C. — even after providing free busses — then clearly America has grown tired of them. NOM’s rhetoric and tactics are so far removed from the mainstream that only 2,000 want to show up to support their cause? The rally will go down in history as evidence they lost the battle for marriage.

While NOM was rallying, something actually important was happening: the Presbyterian Church of the US voted to allow its pastors to perform gay marriages. Emma Green reports:

Thursday’s vote makes two important changes in Presbyterianism. Effective immediately, pastors are allowed to officiate ceremonies. In a plenary session at the PCUSA’s biennial General Assembly meeting, more than 600 representatives of regional Presbyterian organizations, called presbyteries, voted on a resolution to allow this to happen; it passed 61 to 39 percent. 

But the bigger change is definitional: The Church will tentatively change its “authoritative interpretation” of marriage from a bond between “a man and a woman” to “two people.” The General Assembly passed this, 71 to 29 percent; it will go into effect if presbyteries vote to ratify it.

Two votes, neither one close: 61% to 39% and 71% to 29%. No screaming rallies, no ugly signs. Not much controversy. Just people, Christians, thinking about and doing what’s right.


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