Last month, my fearless friend Janna shared her heart wrenching story about how the redefinition of marriage contributed to the devastation of her life and the lives of her children. Her story went viral and, apparently, that kind of truth-telling proves very threatening to the most rabid gay marriage activists. If you have a few minutes to indulge me and get up to freeway speeds on this showdown, I shared my two cents on Janna here. Have at her they did.
While Janna took the careful, adult measures of protecting the identity of her husband, he revealed to the world that Janna brought a knife to a gun fight by sharing her full legal name on several blogs and included pictures of their children. In other words: Here you go haters, have at her.
Following this deluge of “love and tolerance”, Rivka Edelman, a writer, feminist, and daughter of a lesbian, detailed the campaign of harassment and intimidation against Janna. She summarizes their intimidation tactics here:
Four steps comprise their usual character assassination. First, they call the individual a liar and say the person’s existence cannot be verified without more data about him or her. Second, once they have such data, they write to the person’s employer to get him or her fired or professionally destroyed. Third, if they cannot get the person fired, they go after the family members. Fourth, if they cannot turn the person’s family against him or her, they blast endless broadsides against the person, trying to make him or her feel afraid or unsafe at all times.
You could almost hear Mr. Burns instructing Smithers to “Unleash the Hounds” because now, of course, it’s Rivka’s turn. In one insufferably long comment thread we see some pretty juvenile boasting regarding the unearthing of Rivka’s identity. Then, they use the exact formula that she so effectively called them out on. If we weren’t talking about peoples lives here, these tools might actually be funny. But they are not. They are dangerous and cruel. I have selected some excerpts for you to give you a good sense of their language and scare tactics. If these don’t paint a vivid enough picture for you, please do enjoy them in their gloriously hateful context in the link posted above.
- “She is a malicious lying anti-LGBT bigot”
- “There appears to be some kind of pathology here… And there just seems to be no self-awareness. If so, [she’d] be seeking professional help.”
- She “is lying in order to demonize gay people.”
- “With a liar like this, you have to take all the information that provide you about themselves with a grain of salt.
They seek to harm her professional life:
- “And now that editors and English Department Chairs know that B.A. Newmark, and Brittany Newmark is a vicious anti-LGBT bigot, they have more information for their publishing and hiring decisions.”
- “Rots a Ruck getting your work published in any non-religious, non-bigot publication, now that the world knows that “B.A. Newmark” is a malicious, lying anti-LGBT bigot.”
- “YOU’LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN.”
The attacks involve her family:
- “I wonder if her ex-husband is the talkative type?” (Followed up by several attempt to contact said ex-husband.)
- “[She] is a walking, talking disgrace to her mother’s memory.”
They blast endless broadsides against her trying to make her feel unsafe at all times:
- “I can tell you one thing for sure, she is gonna REGRET that association”
- She’s another anti-gay bigot railing against the evils of same-sex marriage while she herself is a divorcee and married more than once.
- “She doesn’t respect us and our being, she doesn’t *earn* the respect of her being.”
But wait, there’s more!
They discuss and share details about the birth of her children, her academic history, her places of employment, her house of worship, her engagement and marriage, and speculate about her ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
Despite one man’s repeated outcries for an apology from Rivka because she accused him of using the above listed methods of intimidation, in the same thread these men have dutifully proven every one of Rivka’s points.
I really couldn’t have orchestrated it better myself, so, thanks?
What is equally fascinating and horrifying to me in the aftermath of Janna’s truth and Rivka’s post is the feeding frenzy, the downright evilly motivated attack, centered on exploiting the personal lives of these two women.
Watching this train wreck is the perfect illustration of why so few people choose to stand against the radical wings of the gay marriage lobby. Because it’s not just about sharing your story, stating your opinion, or arguing your points. There is SO MUCH personally at stake for those who dare to speak against the machine, those who willing walk into the firing line, that it is just not worth it. They have ensured that the price tag is too high.
Obviously, these men do not represent most in the gay marriage movement. And yet, as I look over the threads where Janna and Rivka’s lives have been publicly gutted, I see few if any gay marriage supporters who are willing to confront the destructive methods wielded by these activists who share their views. I cannot help but draw a correlation to other extremists groups that I am told “are predominantly peaceful”. Peaceful, but silent and thus, irrelevant. The loudest, most extreme set the stage and drive the narrative. Is this how the vast majority really want it to be?
Of my friends who are strong supporters of natural marriage, there are those who have gay parents, gay children, and gay ex-spouses. Very few of them are willing to talk publicly about their views because they are struggling to maintain a relationship with that parent, child, or spouse. They fear that their loved one could either be harmed or used against them if they were to voice their opinions.
I would like to encourage them to be brave, to say what needs to be said. Assure them that if they dare to jump in, the water is not as hot as it seems.
But I would be lying because it is hot. And shark infested. And you won’t be the same after you dive in.
Are we as a society really OK with that?