Brian Brown | Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon To NOM Pres: 'We Have No Desire To Change Marriage'

Yesterday, several panelists took the stage at the New Yorker Festival's session for "Love and Obstacles: The Case for Gay Marriage." Joining victorious Prop 8 lawyer David Boies were R. Clarke Cooper, Gene Robinson, Jeffrey Toobin and Cynthia Nixon and NOM's Brian Brown, who sat to Nixon's left.

The Sex & the City star made a very clear, coherent counter argument to Brown's view that, by seeking marriage equality, gays and lesbians wish to completely redefine marriage. Said Nixon:

"I want to say to the gentleman to my left, gay people who want to marry have no desire to redefine marriage in any way. When women got the vote they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table...We have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled to not only the same privileges, but the same responsibilities as straight people."

Brown must think this is just more gay trickery at work. Watch the clip of Nixon's well-received comment, AFTER THE JUMP.

Also, Broadway World has photos from the panel.

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  1. Well said.

    Posted by: Bastian | Oct 3, 2010 3:42:00 PM

  2. love this woman

    Posted by: topher | Oct 3, 2010 3:46:51 PM

  3. Very cool. Go Cynthia!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 3, 2010 3:47:41 PM

  4. Nixon is always well spoken.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Oct 3, 2010 3:48:48 PM

  5. "Go get our girl." Thanks Cynthia :)

    Posted by: Mr. Avenjer | Oct 3, 2010 3:55:14 PM

  6. Wise words.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Oct 3, 2010 3:55:40 PM

  7. But...but...if that's true then it means you're like me. And if that's true I can't paint you as an evil "other" that I can blame for everything that's going wrong around me. And if that's true, who CAN i blame? And why would my political party be telling me that you're the evil other? Unless THEY...

    Posted by: Danny | Oct 3, 2010 3:56:52 PM

  8. Pointing out the utter irrationality of the opposition's arguments (many of which are mindlessly accepted by privileged straight people) is always a good strategy, and Cynthia does it articulately and with humor. Bravo.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 3, 2010 4:08:28 PM

  9. Well said. Unfortunately, she's speaking to someone who is so ignorant you could literally see the words bouncing off his sweaty forehead like a cartoon.

    Posted by: Bart | Oct 3, 2010 4:29:28 PM

  10. LOL...Brian Brown's head is like lotus leave, because as you pure water (and in this case wisdom and rationality) on it, it slips right off.

    Posted by: Theo | Oct 3, 2010 4:55:19 PM

  11. Love her!!!

    Posted by: RB | Oct 3, 2010 4:58:08 PM

  12. It's wonderful to see someone articulate the argument so clearly and succinctly. Go Cynthia!

    Posted by: Greg | Oct 3, 2010 5:21:49 PM

  13. " people who want to marry have no desire to redefine marriage in any way."

    Nixon is a mealy-mouthed apologist, not terribly bright, or perhaps an out-and-out liar. That she presumes to speak for anyone other than her shallow self is infuriating.

    Perhaps she actually believes that our goal is to ape heterosexual marriage, complete with its toxic, claustrophobic relationships based on fear, jealousy, and male dominance, 60% divorce rate, and damaged, ignorant, destructive children. That doesn't make it so.

    We intend to change marriage and we will. By our mere participation in it, LGBTQ people will completely redefine the institution of marriage in ways about which we can only speculate. Given that the institution is failing disastrously - ethically, spiritually, and economically - it can't happen a moment too soon.

    LGBTQ people have forgotten something that our opponents know very well: we are not them. NOM and the other bigots will - sooner or later - lose this and all their fights by the simple expedient of dying and getting out of the way. Given that our "lifestyle" is actually a state of being, LGBTQ people never had the power to convert anyone. We have, however, been very successful in sharing our culture of tolerance. It isn't difficult - it's a better and more joyous way to live.

    Brown will never be persuaded, but his children won't need to be.

    Posted by: Bryan | Oct 3, 2010 5:30:59 PM

  14. Every gay advocate needs to be as articulate as her. I think people need to be saying this exact statement ALL THE TIME. It summarizes perfectly what we are fighting for and explains the idea of equality in simple terms that most people will be able to understand.

    Posted by: Joe | Oct 3, 2010 5:58:10 PM

  15. Bryan, I would argue that your post is an attempt to speak for all gay people in the same way that you claim Cynthia's words do. I appreciate that you enjoy the idea of "us" being so different from "them", but not everyone lives that way. I'm sure you would agree that the LGBT community comprises a very diverse group of people. Some of those people would enjoy a marriage identical their straight counterparts, while others want nothing to do with marriage at all, seeing it as a sad attempt to achieve acceptance in a heteronormative society. I suspect that many people fall somewhere in between. Cynthia Nixon may not speak for every gay person, but she does speak for a lot of us. I don't think she was trying to assimilate gays as much as she was trying to assuage the fears of "them" who are against "us". For what it's worth, reading the comments posted on blogs like this one makes me wonder how anyone could think we share a "culture of tolerance". I think it's our culture of divisiveness that holds us back.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 3, 2010 6:11:12 PM

  16. she's great, but it really sucks that any of this needs explaining at all

    her analogies are great

    Posted by: neverstops | Oct 3, 2010 6:14:28 PM

  17. The term "same sex marriage" describes nothing as NO ONE ever used the term "Opposite sex marriage". Do YOU use that term? I didn't think so. It's stupid to say "same sex marriage". Gay citizens want Marriage not same sex marriage, not Gay marriage, not opposite sex marriage, not straight marriage, JUST MARRIAGE. One would think that would be an easy concept. No wonder Gay Americans don't have civil marriage equality now, they want something different because they keep asking for something that does not exist.

    The Radical Religious Extremists coined the term "same sex marriage" to help pass ballot initiatives in about 30 states that changed state constitutions to codify marriage as one man one woman, in effect barring Gay citizens from marriage. They know the damage it does to the cause of civil marriage equality.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Oct 3, 2010 6:35:35 PM

  18. Absolutely brilliant!

    @BRYAN: as for the rights and responsibilities if legal marriage? Yes, that's what WE are fighting for. And there are plenty of healthy non-sexist straight marriages out there.

    Posted by: David R. | Oct 3, 2010 6:37:16 PM

  19. Brilliant and to the point Cynthia. Thank you!

    Posted by: brent46 | Oct 3, 2010 6:37:36 PM

  20. sorry Bryan, I want EXACTLY what straight people have in marriage: the ability to leave my pension to my partner, for him to make medical decisions for me if I were unable to, to make sure that we jointly have the same rights and responsibilities for the two children we adopted together, for him to automatically inherit everything I have if I were to die.

    As for us redefining marriage...I'll leave that to others. I want the legal stuff so my family is provided for and taken care of if I cannot.

    Posted by: Bart | Oct 3, 2010 6:52:42 PM

  21. @BRYAN... You truly think Cynthia Nixon believes the LGTBQ goal is to ape heterosexual marriage, with relationships based on male dominance? Since she's a lesbian, how exactly is that supposed to work? For that matter, even in gay male relationships, who gets to be the sexist man? Do they take turns depending on the day of the week?

    Tom: I get to be hetero sexist husband on weekdays.
    Javier: Ok, that means it's my turn on weekends.
    Tom: This is gonna be so much fun.

    Btw, she has just as much right to speak out on behalf of gay people as you do.

    Posted by: RJ | Oct 3, 2010 7:07:35 PM

  22. I would have really liked to have heard Brian's response to that statement. I'm sure whatever came out of his mouth was inane and trite.

    You can't hold the position that same-sex marriage will redefine marriage, but interracial marriage didn't. Of course it did. For centuries people of different races weren't permitted to marry. Based on his ideology, he should support banning interracial marriage and (based on biblical history) support polygamy. Which makes it clear that his real agenda is anti-gay rhetoric masked in religion.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Oct 3, 2010 7:41:46 PM

  23. I agree, SARGON BIGHORN. Words matter, and every time we, and our allies, use the term "same-sex" or "gay" marriage we are, in fact, setting ourselves apart, even if that's not our intention. (Clearly, it is the intention of the opposition.) The only term we should use is "marriage."

    @BRYON: I get where you're coming from (there are many straight couples--and some gay ones, too--I wouldn't want to emulate), but if we're fighting for marriage equality, we do want exactly the same thing that heterosexuals have. Otherwise, we'd be fighting for something else. The rights and responsibilities of marriage are concrete, rather fixed, and should apply equally to every couple. But that doesn't mean that, within marriage, couples--gay and straight--can't design their relationships as they see fit, or that marriage can't evolve naturally as a consequence. Marriage is always evolving, for better or worse, but it's difficult and dangerous to state "redefining marriage" as a goal if we're striving for equality.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 3, 2010 7:45:29 PM

  24. "...they did not redine 'eating out'."

    Had to refrain from making the obvious lesbian joke ;-)

    Posted by: Stuffo | Oct 3, 2010 8:06:40 PM

  25. I meant @BRYAN, sorry. Perhaps I should add, along the lines of DAVID, that I think the inclusion of gay couples in marriage, like the inclusion of mixed-race couples, has the potential to improve the institution because it demonstrates an evolving sense of fairness and tolerance within society. But I think that's different than changing the specific rights and responsibilities of marriage, which is what we're fighting for. Voting is improved when everyone is allowed to vote. But it's still voting. Likewise marriage.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 3, 2010 8:51:30 PM

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