Dan Savage Challenges NOM’s Brian Brown to Come to His Home for Dinner Party Debate on Bible, Marriage


In his Savage Love podcast released today, Dan Savage tells NOM's Brian Brown that he has thought for a while about the debate Brown challenged him to in early May, inspired by Savage's now well-known lecture to teen journalists about the Bible during which several Christian students were seen walking out.


Said Brown earlier this month:

Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I'm here, you name the time and the place and let's see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It's easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let's pick on someone our own size!

I'm here, any time, any place you name, Dan Savage. You will find out out how venal and ridiculous your views of these things are if you dare to accept a challenge.

Savage tells Brown that he's inviting him to a dinner debate at his own home:

"Where? My dining room table. Place? Seattle, Washington. Here's the deal. We [could] fill a room with your screaming partisans and my screaming partisans and we can both fill a room with our respective peanut galleries and I think both of us have a little bit of grandstander in souls and we will work that and I think that will create more heat than light. And so what I'd like to do is challenge you to come to my house for dinner. Bring the wife. My husband will be there. and I will hire a video crew and we will videotape sort of an after dinner debate."

The venue, Savage explains, is part of a situation in which both are forced to be humane to one another.

"And the trick here is you have to knowledge my humanity by accepting my hospitality and I have to acknowledge yours by extending my hospitality to you."

Savage goes on to tell Brown that to ensure the debate is fair, Mark Oppenheimer, a journalist who has written profiles of both Savage and NOM's Maggie Gallagher has agreed to moderate it. Savage also tells Brown that his straight stay-at-home dad neighbor has agreed to cook the meal.

"He's offered to cook the meal so that no homosexuals will have their fingers in your food before it gets to you, and we'll serve it family style so that nobody can adulterate something that's served just to you. I want you to be welcome. We will be nice. John will cook."

Savage tells Brown that they'll film a bit of the dinner and then turn the cameras on for an hour-long debate. Brown will be able to approve the tape that goes to the public to ensure that it hasn't been edited and there is "no trickery."

Concludes Savage:

"Are we on? Ball's in your court."



  1. Cassandra says

    Wow – snotty, snarky, devious, derogatory, bullying language, grabbing the ‘home field advantage’ to psychologically put his opponent in a weaker position –

    Dan would make an excellent Republican.

  2. jamesintoronto says

    This ain’t gonna happen. NOM has nothing to gain and everything to lose by accepting this challenge and they know it. They threw their little hissy fit about the poor christian kids being bullied by Dan Savage (now there’s a switch) but there is no way they’ll let Brian Brown get in the ring with Dan. Brian would get eaten alive by common sense.

  3. Markus Taylor says

    @CASSANDRA’s comment reeks of paid commentator. Dan’s invite is wonderful. He’s inviting NOM into the home of a gay family. He wins whether Brian accepts or not. Way to be classy Dan.

  4. UFFDA says

    Christianity, but especially Fundamentalist Christianity, is so senseless that Brian Brown would do well to stay home and posture.

    Of course in the belief that he is one of God’s elect, a soldier of Christ, he may show up to “defend the faith.” If he does the party will turn into a fight because all the religionists ultimately have is fists and weapons. Reason will be on Dan’s side and he will win easily, especially if he can authoritatively counter-quote the Babble that Brown will attempt to rely upon. For his own part, however, it’s painful to say that Dan may lose points by lapsing into the off-putting vulgarity of a man known to be raunchy which will feed directly into the hopeless corner position of the fundies, that he is posessed by the Devil.

    So, ya, it’s gonna be a fight. The video should be live streaming. I don’t want to miss this one.

  5. JimmyD says

    Cassandra: Brown said WHEN and WHERE?
    How can you rip on Savage for this?

    I think it’s fantastic. Of course Brown will weasel out of it with some fabricated BS.

  6. says

    he should take my husband, Rev. Dr. Robert E. Shore-Goss) along he wrote jesus acted up, queering Christ and is editor of the queer bible commentary. he is the number one queer theologian int his country. he would have no problem shooting this guy down and di8spelling his myths and lies.

  7. Shelly says

    I honestly think this is precisely what is needed more than anything — not just at the top, very public levels like this, but even within our own towns. I have a good deal of social anxiety, so it takes a real push for me to get out to “mix and mingle” in my rural southern town, but I have found that when I do so, just be myself and get to know people and them to know me as a fellow human whose “lifestyle” is barely distinguishable from their own except in trifling details, hearts and minds do change. So, I’m consciously working on overcoming my hesitancy and meeting more of my neighbors.

    I largely disagree with Cassandra — I do think this is a very classy move. However, gotta admit I did find the last paragraph there about food preparation snarkily worded and think it tends to undercut the overall positive, constructive tone.

  8. jomicur says

    @Stuffed Animal: Yes, it’s all about publicity. So what? You really think our community would be helped by having Brown lose a debate IN SECRET? You really think our community’s issues should never get publicity, i.e. public notice? What exactly would that gain us?

  9. Rick says

    A small semantic point: Dan is not challenging Brown, he is ACCEPTING Brown’s challenge. Now the onus is on Mr Brian Brown to show up as promised.

  10. Bill says

    I love Dan’s intelligence and most of his messages, but then he throws in something stupid. Insulting the kids who were leaving the room was wrong. Noting that “no homosexuals will have their fingers in your food before it gets to you…” is childish, not hospitable. Stick to your arguments, because you have the power of truth and fairness on your side. Skip the snark.

  11. Michael Bedwell says

    BULLLLLLLLLLLLLSHIT! For all the good Savage does, this—like his calling for mercy for Tyler Clementi’s tormentor—is another example of the dead half of his brain. I don’t give a flying F who’s offended by this analogy, but imagine Elie Wiesel inviting Hitler and Eva Braun to dinner? GROW THE F UP!!!!! There’s NOTHING you can say or do to make this PROFESSIONAL hate monger change. All you’re doing is making HIM look more “humane” to people who should be shunning him out of business!

  12. says

    Savage is a dingbat. He spits profanity at Brown, then invites his wife to dinner.
    We need someone serious to argue for us. Savage is too ignorant and emotionally immature to do the job.

  13. shle896shle says

    Too bad it will never happen. He would no sooner eat in the home of a gay person than he would marry one. Ignorance is bliss and Brian Brown prefers bliss.

    He knows if gay people are humanized, his arguments will fall flat. Brown is a simpleton and he’s not about to open his mind now. How sad and pathetic.

  14. mic says

    why a secret debate? NOM lost in the California state AND federal courts and worked tirelessly to keep THOSE tapes secret. Cassandra, Jason et al: one day your pay checks from NOM are going to bounce. Then who will you go shilling for?


  15. Chuck says

    Dan’s invitation shows a humane kindness of spirit and is a brilliant move.

    I don’t comprehend any of Dan’s critics .

    What inspires them ? Probably jealousy.


  16. Joseph Singer says

    Of course instead of having it in Dan’s home we could rent out the Key Arena and charge $200 for tickets. The arena needs the money since the Sonics bolted for Oklahoma.

  17. Redebbm says

    There is so much bitterness here against Dan Savage. Jeez don’t like him? Don’t READ about him! Some people are just obsessed to get there disdain in. Really Republicans like Brian Brown salivate at the idea that we are against each other. Spout your opinions with the likes of NOM NOM NOM.

  18. Joseph Singer says

    This ain’t gonna happen if only because it would make Brown act like a human being though he would probably like it better if the debate was held in Key Arena so he could grandstand.

  19. Coletta Hughes says

    I’m a transsexual woman and consider Dan Savage not a friend to the transsexual community. Dan is right up there with the bloated sloths at HRC. Once he talks real equality for all of the LGBTQ his voice will matter.

  20. Mary says

    This is one of the few things Dan Savage ever said that I thought was appropriate and not over the top. I’m not sure whether Dan would be able to keep his cool in a heated discussion, but at least here he’s making he offer in a way that appears to be dignified and reasonable, aiming to accommodate Brown in every way. Viewed objectively, this is a plus for the gay community.

  21. says

    I think the comment about food prep was appropriate, considering the first thing out of Brian Brown’s mouth would have been, “I’m not eating anything that filthy, sinful homosexual hands have touched!”

    Personally, I wouldn’t be able to have someone like Brown in my house, so kudos to Dan.

  22. Michael says

    I think Dan inviting Brown to dinner for the debate (and away from the mob scene) is both a kind, (surprisingly) mature gesture and a bold strategy. I don’t see what could be wrong with him approaching it this way especially when he was given the freedom to choose. He means to show Brown a slice of his home and family life. Dan Savage is a powerful advocate. I know he can be inflammatory, but he’s smart, fierce, and I truly believe his heart is in the right place.

  23. OccupyEquality says

    So Dan Savage invited Brian Brownshit to a book of genocide cherry picking dinner. Hey DAN that book of genocide says that gay men and lesbians should be killed.

    Here’s an idea – just serve Brownshit a serving of bible, tell him to shove it down his own throat & choke it down with Jesus Freak koolaid.

  24. Regan DuCasse says

    @Michael Bedwell,
    Such hyperbole, my friend.

    BROWN threw the gauntlet and challenged Dan Savage, and it HAD to the public and on the kind of ground REASONABLE for Brown to accept.

    I think we all know that Brown won’t do it. He wouldn’t want it done on what he’d consider Savage’s turf. He’d call it a home court advantage.
    And that’s what’s happened ALL along.
    People like Brown are absolutely afraid of having any kinds of discussions in situations they feel they have no control, or will be surrounded by the unfriendly.

    For all his pontificating, Tony Perkins has NEVER spent time with actual gay parents and their children.
    Brown, I am so certain, never has either.

    Prompting such an invitation to Brown, would at least give Brown an opportunity to NOT talk out of his ass next time.

    Savage is being more than generous and reasonable in this instance.
    Which is true for a majority of gay people who are private as well as public figures.

    BROWN brought, he can damn well do what he says.
    But we doubt it, and Savage does too.
    Brown is a weasel. He’s a pants wetting pussy, as is true of any one of his ilk.
    Savage of course, intends to show this.
    And Brown knows it.
    Just wait, Brown will try to find a way to get out of it.

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