Politifact: NOM-Rhode Island’s Pants on Fire over Anti-Gay Newspaper Ad

NOM - The Big Lie
On Thursday, January 17th, 2013, the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) ran a full page advertisement in several Rhode Island newspapers in an attempt to combat the same sex marriage bill making its way through the state legislature. In the ad (titled “The Big Lie”), NOM makes several provably false claims in an attempt to use scare tactics to prevent marriage equality from becoming a reality.
Rhode Islanders United For Marriage had had already disproved the ad piece by piece previously in a scathing take down. In their take down, the group said:
  • Claim: Faith organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, will be forced to host same-sex weddings in their facilities against their will.
  • Fact: A Vermont inn refused to host a same-sex wedding and was penalized. However, the legal repercussions were not due to Vermont’s marriage equality law, but rather a state anti-discrimination law.
  • Claim: Small businesses that oppose marriage equality will face lawsuits. 
  • Fact: A Seattle Times investigation “failed to turn up any evidence that same-sex marriage had produced a rash of suits involving business people.”  The Times “also checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.” 
  • Claim: People have been fired from their job for opposing marriage equality.
  • Claim: Faith leaders who oppose access to civil marriage for all families have been punished for their beliefs.
  • Fact: Bishop Fred Henry of Alberta, Canada, in a pastoral letter, equated homosexuality with pornography and prostitution, and asserted government should use “coercive power” to oppose them: “Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them.”
  • Claim: Marriage equality legislation will force schools to change curricula. For example, opponents of marriage equality have said, “In Massachusetts, children as young as second grade have been taught about homosexual marriage in class.”
Click through to the site to see a more detailed analysis of the ad’s falsehoods.
Pants on Fire.
In a follow-up to the original ad, Politifact has now also tackled the NOM-originated ad and come to an identical conclusion. In offering their most scathing rating – Pants on Fire – they say the ad is chalked full of falsehoods. According to PolitiFact:

The National Organization for Marriage-Rhode Island said in a newspaper advertisement that “religious groups like Knights of Columbus have been forced to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their facilities, against their beliefs.” But the Knights of Columbus incident cited as proof by Plante, NOM’s regional coordinator, was from Canada and did not support its claim. Neither did the second example it cited. Nor the third. NOM made a strongly worded claim on the eve of a key vote that was meant to influence voters — and their legislators. We can’t predict what could happen under same-sex marriage laws in the future. But we can rule on claims that are so far from the truth. The judges rule Pants on Fire.

Like  Rhode Islanders United For Marriage, PolitiFact also broke down the ad piece by piece. Read the full article for their analysis

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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  • Sad that we still battle this issue. People are people. My marriage is in no way affected if two other people wish to marry! Marriage under the law is nothing more than a legal contract that provides protection for the parties involved. Health care, inheritance, deciding where the children will live…all of these things are simple protections that HUMAN BEINGS are asking for. What Christian in his right mind doesn't believe that two fellow humans deserve to sleep at night knowing that their homes and families are safeguarded by the government they are forced to pay taxes to?

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