As marriage equality gains momentum in Hawaii, proponents of marriage discrimination are becoming ever more desperate in their quest to stop it.
Just how desperate, you ask? So desperate that they're taking a team of high-profile activists across the state in a kind of anti-equality road show, with the apparent aim of spreading misinformation about LGBT people and families and stirring up homophobia just as lawmakers consider whether to finally grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
The initiative is sponsored by Republican state representatives Gene Ward and Bob McDermott (one other Republican and two rogue Democrats are also involved), and it consists of "informational briefings" containing testimony by so-called "experts in the field" of marriage. While an email from Ward's office claims that the speakers represent "both sides of the issue of same-gender marriage," the only names listed are those of anti-equality activists.
Chief among them is disgraced sociologist-turned-demagogue Mark Regnerus.
If Regnerus's name looks familiar, it's because he's the University of Texas researcher behind the New Family Structures Study, a thoroughly discredited piece of scientific malpractice that falsely claims to show that children of same-sex couples do worse than children raised by opposite-sex couples.
Even though Regnerus's "study" has been denounced by the mainstream academic and scientific communities, it's still breathlessly touted by opponents of marriage equality as a reason for upholding an exclusionary definition of marriage. And the NFSS has shown up everywhere from Supreme Court oral arguments to state-level marriage cases in Nevada to France's marriage equality fight and Russia's barbaric crackdown on LGBT people and families.
Also speaking as "experts" are Jim and/or Mary O'Reilly, Vermont innkeepers who refused to host a wedding reception for a lesbian couple on religious grounds. Vermont law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, so the lesbian couple sued the O'Reillys and settled out of court. The O'Reillys have played the victim ever since.
The other speakers -- Lynn Wardle, Phil Lees, and William Duncan -- are also well-known anti-equality activists. So these events aren't balanced debates, they're dog-and-pony shows intended to drum up support for marriage opponents' discriminatory views.
Fliers advertising a briefing that took place yesterday in the Hawaii State Capitol (see below) bear the seal of the state House of Representatives, as if to suggest that the event had the blessing of the entire body as opposed to a quintet of especially homophobic lawmakers.
Smells like desperation, doesn't it? If you're interested in fighting back, sign up for Marriage Equality USA's national night of action for marriage equality in Hawaii. It's tonight! Click here to learn more.
Anti-Gay Hawaii Briefing
UPDATE: Video of Mark Regnerus's testimony before the "informational briefing" has surfaced. You can watch it below, if you're able to stomach it.