Brian Brown | Gay Marriage | Harry Jackson | News | Rick Jacobs | Washington DC

Watch: Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs Confronts Anti-Gay Marriage Crusaders Brian Brown, Bishop Barry Jackson


Courage Campaign was the group behind the wonderful work done by NOM Tour Tracker, exposing the National Organization for Marriage's 23-city hate-a-palooza tour. 

Rick Jacobs, the founder and chair of Courage Campaign, showed up at NOM's final stop in D.C. and confronted two of marriage equality's biggest foes, NOM executive director Brian Brown and Stand 4 Marriage D.C.'s Bishop Harry Jackson.

Brown quickly became snippy and frustrated by Jacobs, eventually walking away and snapping that Jacobs was "talking over" him. Jacobs' conversation with Jackson was surprisingly civil, and Jackson left with the impression of Jacobs as "a very kind gentleman."

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. ...Rick Jacobs *was* talking over him. Brian Brown is an evil person, but he comes off looking better in this than Rick does.

    Posted by: Fan | Aug 18, 2010 5:35:24 PM

  2. Bruian Brown deserves to be talked over. Part of the problem is that we don;t talk over these people enough and we are too worried about how we look. Thats why even though they are a small vocal minority they always win.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 18, 2010 6:38:57 PM

  3. Sorry to wade in these waters: It absolutely disgusts and angers me when I see people of color like Jackson coming out against our civil rights. I wonder if he even knows the history of how the Bible was used by the powers to be to justify slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and the outlawing of inter-racial marriages. And now he and others like him turn around and use this same book to deny us. Sickening!!!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 6:51:18 PM

  4. why is the brown interview in front of a dumpster...!??

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 18, 2010 6:58:39 PM

  5. Too bad Rick Jacobs didn't bother to explain the difference between "marriage" and "civil marriage" to Brian Brown. Then he could have explained that the state's interest in "civil marriage" is that it is a contract providing the rights and responsibilities of the two parties involved.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 18, 2010 6:58:39 PM

  6. @Sean, I find it pretty disgusting too. He has no sense of history and no understanding of what "equality" is.

    Whenever I talk to people who are black (I am black) I always make the allusion. Some of them get it but a lot of them don't. The christian religion has such a strong hold on the black community at so many levels(from the intellectuals to the poorest), that I think it's at the point where it's destroying them socially (as it has since the late 1700s when it was introduced to slaves) and in other ways as well.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 18, 2010 7:09:28 PM

  7. Joe-

    Thank you so much for your comment!! Really put things in perspective for me!!!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 7:16:36 PM

  8. Joe,

    Are you SURE you're black? :-)

    You don't write with the sensitivity to the complexity and the historical reality of the black slave experience that I am accustomed to hearing from my black friends and hearing from black gay thinkers.

    What I have found more often than not is that even the outest and proudest black men and women I know speak with an understanding of, if not support for, the viewpoint, widely held in the African American community, that the black civil rights struggle was about fundamental human rights, fairness and morality. (What they were being told by racists is that they were SUB-HUMAN.)

    In contrast, so this way of thinking would have it, the gay rights struggle, at least in so far as it relates to marriage, is about the evolution of our social morality, about redefining a civil institution. Not to say the argument is wrong or weak or less obviously right than the argument that asserted the full human rights of people of color. But that it is a fundamentally different argument.

    I don't agree with this point of view. But in contrast to you, Joe, I don't belittle the people who think this way by calling "them" (all the way "from the intellectuals to the poorest") dupes of organized Christian religion.

    So, I'm gonna call bullshit on you being black . . .

    Posted by: Black Bart | Aug 18, 2010 7:31:49 PM

  9. Would people just comment on the topic and stop playing the race card - this whole idea that black people should know better because of their race and history.

    If the idea is people shouldn't oppose same sex marriage because of what people went through in history then the only people in America that would oppose same sex marriage would be straight white males given that all other groups of people have fought in some way for equity, not just black people.

    Posted by: MickW | Aug 18, 2010 7:33:22 PM

  10. While Rick Jacobs may have been talking over him, Brian Brown opened with "oh you're the guy who attacks Mormons" and would not shut up about it for what a minute and a half?

    Posted by: DN | Aug 18, 2010 7:42:50 PM

  11. MICKW I don't feel I was "playing the race card." I was simply pointing out that , IN MY OPINION, those that have been victims of state-sanctioned prejudice and denial of rights SHOULD have an appreciation of what other minorities are going through when they are are denied some of these very same rights. Of course, it their right not be supportive and even fight against it. It is also MY RIGHT to bitch about it, shake my head in disbelief and feel these folks are brainwashed by religion.

    Uh-oh, guess I better stop: now I am playing the "religion card."

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 8:23:31 PM

  12. Interesting conversation.

    MICKW, I think you're trying to whistle into a stiff wind when you try to contain how and what people have to say on an internet comments page. It's sort of the the nature of the beast that people free associate in their reactions. Personally, it's part of what I like about internet conversations.

    Sean, I don't think that MICKW was questioning your right to have an opinion. I think he was suggesting that your opinion is wrong and not worth having.

    No one does, or at least no one should, question your right to your opinion. The question is are you exercising that right thoughtfully in expressing persuasive opinions. MICKW was suggesting you're not.

    Posted by: Hermes in DC | Aug 18, 2010 8:34:47 PM

  13. I wish Rick Jacobs would reign it in a bit and let these guys hang themselves, instead of interrupting them.

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Aug 18, 2010 8:35:34 PM

  14. @BlackBart: the parallels between arguments against civil rights for blacks and against civil rights for gays show the style of reasoning to be pretty much indistinguishable.

    Both cases invole the evolution of social morality (toward equality of sexes / races and against disparate treatment based on sex / race.

    "God says clearly in that the Negro is inferior / that homosexuality is inferior."

    "Sodom was destroyed over homosexuality!" / "The Tower of Babel was destroyed because God hates integration of races!"

    "God made men and women different for a reason, and homosexuality is unnatural." / "God put the races on different continents for a reason and integration is unnatural"

    "Corinthians condemns the homosexual." / "The story of Ham tells us that the Negro is cursed and inferior."

    "A real, moral Christian would not accept the black as equal to white / homosexuality as the equal to heterosexuality."

    etc., etc., etc.

    In a lot of the arguments that were used against blacks, you can pretty much change one word and it's the same argument against gays. The animosity comes from the same type of religious brainwashing and most of the time, it is exactly the same churches on the same side for racism/homophobia vs. those that were for equality on both issues.

    Ironically, huge numbers of black Americans belong to the Southern Baptist denomination, whose entire existence came to be in order to reinforce the Biblical mandate for enslaving the "inferior" blacks. Obviously, this is also very ironic... but not surprising that such denominations would continue to oppress.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 18, 2010 9:14:06 PM

  15. Musing of the day: Organized religions are the shackles of oppressive heteronormativity. Discuss.

    Posted by: Sheeple | Aug 18, 2010 9:34:25 PM

  16. @ GregV --

    Good points all around. I don't disagree with you at all.

    But if you look back at my post, I wasn't commenting on how those who oppose gay civil rights or marriage equality think or argue, I was talking about how--in my experience, but I don't think it is unusual--African Americans including gay African Americans tend to think that the issues of AA civil or human rights and gay civil rights are meaningfully different, even if they fully support the latter.

    The gist of the perspective I'm describing, which though I don't agree with it I DO understand where it comes from, is that there was NEVER any ground on which a thinking person could stand and argue that blacks did not deserve full and equal human rights. There was no even makeable, let alone sustainable, moral argument against black human rights because blacks are self-evidently human beings and therefore endowed of the same rights as a matter of fundamental morality.

    In contrast, being openly gay IS a choice in a way that being visibly black is not. In that meaningful difference, there is room at least for the argument that being gay is about choices, decisions and therefore about situational or behavioral ethics and morality. Therein lies the difference.

    It is a question about categories. The right outcomes are not in question, but the assertion is that they are categorically different questions.

    The evidence of this is that the federal court in California listened to and took seriously the possibility that there might be evidence of the socially corrosive effect of gay marriage. I'm getting outside my knowledge zone, but I don't know that--in the long and unquestionably sordid history of litigating AA civil and human rights issues in this country--that any court ever heard or thought to be relevant evidence about whether treating blacks as real human beings would undermine basic moral interests of society. The issue was simply are they human and therefore entitled to the same rights as the rest of us.

    Put it this way. Blacks were made to prove that they were human and therefore citizens equal in the eyes of the law.

    We're being made to prove only that we're not second class citizens and entitled to live our lives in a certain way without social condemnation.

    Posted by: Black Bart | Aug 18, 2010 9:38:36 PM

  17. In that screen snap of Brian Brown and Rick Jacobs, is Brown thinking he can impress Rick with the size of his... uhmmm, you know...

    Posted by: BobC562 | Aug 18, 2010 10:10:10 PM

  18. You want to call bullshit on my being black too "Black Bart"? Cause I've heard all your shit before FROM MY OWN FAMILY!!!!!!

    As you can well imagine I'm not talking to them any longer.

    But then maybe KAPOS like you CAN'T understand that at all.

    Dollars to doghnits you've no idea who Bayard Rustin was and think Langston Highes was straight.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 18, 2010 10:43:36 PM

  19. @Black Bart, wow I've never been told I'm not black before.

    Sorry, but I'm not a black christian which is why I used the term "them."

    I think we know from history, and after the first slave rebellions, that white slave owners built churches and started sending slaves to church to passify them so they would accept their position in life and feel that by taking the beatings and prejudice of the white man, they would have injustice in the afterlife. This use of religion truly makes me sick to my stomach.

    I think the problem with religion and the black community is that it too often makes people passive. While it's undeniable that it can be used as a source of strength for communities, it is also used by bigots and those IN POWER to reinforce a social structure that is unfair to blacks, latinos, immigrants, and really any minority group. I think now, it has crippled some members in the black community to align with a group of bigots that hate gays just as much as they once upon a time hated blacks.

    I also think religion, in general, can often cause people to close off their minds to larger and important ideas (like "equality for all people, no matter who they are") because it makes it near impossible to convince someone who believes in God, and who reads the words 'man lying with man abmonation' to argue with that. How do you truly tell someone that their creator and maker is WRONG. This is why I feel like its crippled many communities, but particularly the black community (now talking about poor blacks) because it christanity (some forms not all), but particularly the southern baptist strain DO NOT encourage people to look for truths themselves, but to accept what their preacher says (not even really encouraging one to develop their own sense of what the bible means).

    Oddly enough I was listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show (something so many white people do) and they were discussing how controversial it is to be an atheist in the black community - they even had to search out and find a black athiest and they still were amidst shock at what she was saying. This is a real problem and what I've noticed from my own experiences with my parents is that even though they aren't religous at all (going maybe once a year or every two years to church) it's still important to donate and to believe in God. I was talking with my mother the other only saying it's okay for people to not believe in God and she told me that was wrong end of discussion - as many other blacks that I know do. This type of belief in religion and the fact that it is the social center of the black community is a HUGE problem for gay rights, since there is the idea that you must be religious and, subsequently, adhere to some of the core social conservative beliefs of the church without ever challenging it. Even for some blacks who are tepid on the issue, they'll still ire on the side of being anti-gay or socially conservative, because even if they question, it's probably the safer and right thing to do in God's eyes.

    Additionally, I understand that many blacks view the 60s civil rights movement from today's civil rights movement in terms of how you're born and choice. That's why when discussing this topic I always lead with "how do you know your straight?... Well that's how I know I'm gay" or "why would anyone choose to be persecuted."

    You do point out that the civil rights cases were about, "are they human, do they deserve rights" which is important because that question isn't being asked today. I fundamentally too much of our country is conservative/uneducated or even bigoted to realize that the same question should be posed to courts today in the exact same way. That's why the Humans Rights Campaign wisely call themselves "the Human Rights Campaign."

    By the time the 40s and 50s and 60s rolled around blacks were thought to be human, but treated as lesser humans and second class citizens. Gays are treated as if they are lesser humans (it's fine to bash them and kill them or watch them die of AIDS some, not so radical, say), as if their rights are worth less (let's put it to a vote, says almost every state in the country), and as if we aren't equal citizens in the eyes of the law (no marriage, debate over adoption, all the "they'll indoctrinate our kids and teach them that being gay isn't WRONG" talk, Bush's attempt to use the constitution(which gives rights)to deny the right to marriage).

    Sorry this was long "Black Bart" but your words fundamentally overlook the damage that religion has done to the MULTIPLE fights for equality throughout history, even while recognizing a few of the complex and (flawed) views that different groups have with regards to the civil rights movement of the 60s and the civil rights movement of today.

    And sorry I don't announce my race like you do by calling myself "Black Joe," which apparently means I'm not really black.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 19, 2010 12:08:13 AM

  20. I also wanted to add that if we don't adopt the rhetoric of our treatment and denial of rights is akin to being less than human, then we will surely lose the battle for equality.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 19, 2010 12:22:01 AM

  21. Okay, so lemme try to understand this. Brian Brown said that even if the state issued a marriage license to two people of the same sex (say, a same sex couple with kids) it still wouldn't be marriage. So even if marriage equality came to pass, and was legally recognized by the state, it wouldn't be marriage as he defines it...did he just make NOM and the bigoted push against marriage equality irrelevant? Uh huh, uh huh. So, what possible reason could he have for opposing marriage equality if it makes no difference? It seems he just kicked the chair out from under himself.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 19, 2010 1:00:15 AM

  22. And since NOM is basically funded by the shadow group that is the mormon church, let's shed some light on their...eccentric beliefs...prepare get offended and freaked out...especially if you're not a racist.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 19, 2010 1:03:34 AM

  23. These people believe that allowing gay marriage dooms America to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. It's partly the same reason why Obama doesn't support gay marriage, it's religious and coincidentally, politically convenient. Remember Obama is a pentecostal christian!

    Posted by: DC | Aug 19, 2010 1:59:29 AM

  24. Wonder how long it'll be before Brown is caught with a rent-boy/in a Gay brothel/at a beat/buying Gay porn/ all of the above....

    Posted by: wirrrn | Aug 19, 2010 3:46:39 AM

  25. Ironically, huge numbers of black Americans belong to the Southern Baptist denomination, whose entire existence came to be in order to reinforce the Biblical mandate for enslaving the "inferior" blacks. Obviously, this is also very ironic... but not surprising that such denominations would continue to oppress.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 18, 2010 9:14:06 PM

    UMMMMM GregV Correction..They do NOT belong to the Southern Baptist Group those are the white folk (i.e Jerry Falwell). They are a part of The National Progressive Baptist Group a BIG DIFFERENCE and the bottom line is this why is it always when a Black person whom may differ from us Gays some of you get so irritated at Blacks and no one else?

    They don't run NOM and all these other Anti-Gay groups. They're ran by Caucasians. This selective anger shit from some of you caucasians is just pathetic.


    PLEASE know that everything you read isn't true about African Americans.

    Posted by: Miss JuJu BeBe | Aug 19, 2010 6:35:34 AM

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