Here’s some video you’ve probably seen by now. New Hampshire State Representative Nancy Elliott (R) is speaking before a Judiciary Committee Meeting on a bill to undo New Hampshire’s new gay marriage law.
Rep. Elliott displays a two-pronged attack plan: 1) Gross ’em out and 2) lie through your teeth. Where did she learn them? Though the tactics certainly aren’t unknown in anti-gay circles, they’re best displayed by two rabid anti-gay foes.
In September 2009, a group of far-Right Wing fanatics converged in St. Louis for a two-day “How to Take America Back” conference. Organized by a veritable Who’s Who of anti-gay crusaders, the conference included a workshop called “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement.” The workshop was hosted by two anti-gay luminaries with very specific skills.
The first instructor was Matt Barber. Barber has a bunch of made up titles with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, deals primarily in the Ick Factor. Right Wing Watch had this to say about the workshop:
There was some small disagreement about how much people should rely on religious arguments in the public sphere, with Matt Barber urging people to focus on the “ick” factor around gay sex and on claims that homosexuality is a health threat, which he called the movement’s “Achilles heel.”
The goal here is to divert from a civil and philosophical discussion of ideas to an irrational one of embarrassment and propriety. And it’s not the only time Barber’s tried to gross people out. Several years ago he famously referred to gay marriage as “one man violently cramming his penis into another manâ€™s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’
Let’s take another look at Rep. Elliott’s performance, because I’d bet money that she was in that workshop in September. (The entire hearing is embedded below in four parts. Note that the old man on Elliott’s right and the woman with the deadpan expression on her left are decidedly against the amendment.)
Rep. Elliott had some trouble out of the gate with the Ick part. First of all, “wiggling it around in excrement”? I think her husband might benefit from some remedial courses. Secondly, her transition from “Grossly specific” to “It could happen to you!” was downright clumsy. She needs to practice that more. (Also interesting was her insinuation that anal sex = rape with the question “Would you let that be done to you?”)
As for the outrageous lie, this afternoon Rep. Elliott released a statement admitting what the Nashua, NH school board and the rest of us already knew: Nancy Elliott was lying. There was no gay porn in 5th grade classes. From today’s prepared statement to the Judiciary Committee:
This statement made in the Judiciary Committee had caused some controversy so I went back to my source for the statement to verify the information that I had received. I found that I could not confirm the accuracy of the information.
I am presenting this letter at the first committee meeting of Judiciary since last Tuesday. I do so at the earliest opportunity in order to make clear I am withdrawing what I said regarding the Nashua schools.
I would like to apologize to Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said.
Apology or no, Rep. Elliott’s mission was successful. As we know from Brian Camenker’s exploits, getting the lie on record is what counts. If Rep. Elliott’s amendment passes and is presented for a popular vote, people predisposed to believe her lie will do one of two things. They’ll either forget that she retracted her statement (notice how she was as carefully non-specific in her apology as she was specific in her lie), or if they remember, they’ll fear that it might happen.
Barber and Camenker must be proud. I wonder if they’ll send her a certificate.