NOM’s Brian Brown Defends ‘Traditional Marriage’ With A Dining Room Set

Jeremy Hooper — the blogger behind Good.As.You. — loves it whenever the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage uses strained analogies to demonstrate how “redefining marriage” will destroy the universe.

BrownIn his latest blog post, Hooper points out NOM President Bryan Brown’s tortured comparison of marriage to a dining room set, because marriage should only be between one table and a chair… or because a chair isn’t a table… or because gay marriage is like two tables marrying… or something:

Suppose you took a table and a chair and together referred to them both as chairs. In that instance, the two things really would be different—and by calling them the same thing, you would have made the term "chair" meaningless.

The point is this: the word "marriage" either means something or it does not. Isn't it only fair and just to ask first what it does mean before trying to decide to apply the term to something new?

Calling a table a chair does damage to the meaning of the word "chair"—and it does no service to our understanding of either tables or chairs. It is thus injurious to our wisdom and knowledge on three counts, and reduces our ability to reason at all.

So it goes with marriage. Calling something "marriage" that is not marriage damages our public notion of marriage, in multiple ways. It neither serves society as a whole, nor does it ultimately serve society's members because it reduces their ability to make any reasonable or legal distinctions. And so, when something else comes along purporting to be "marriage," no legal or moral rationale exists for drawing the line.

Hooper comments:

“Unlike nearly half of our states, twenty-nine consecutive courts (and many before that), the federal government, and a growing majority of the American public, Brian Brown has taken upon himself to determine that a civil contract between two loving and committed adults can only be called a marriage if the union has the distribution of penises and vaginas that he finds proper.”

Knowing that these are the best arguments our opponents have against nationwide marriage equality almost makes one look forward to the inevitable 2016 Supreme Court decision that’ll finally bury groups like NOM.


  1. Gregory in Seattle says

    I suspect the analogy he’s grasping at is, “Suppose you took a gay and a person and together referred to them both as people.”

  2. Mundus says

    Somewhat off-topic, but am in Europe and have just been looking at some of the US right-wing blogs and thought I would check in to make sure everyone hasn’t died yet from Benghaz-eee-bola carried by illegal children of DEATH!!!

    PS. That is a particularly unflattering piccy of Brian Brown.

  3. simon says

    I suspect it was the kind of stuff he put in the brief to SCOTUS while intervening in the Oregon case.
    “The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied,”
    That means the brief is worthless.

  4. Profe Sancho Panza says

    This sounds like an embarrassing attempt to apply his fragmentary memories of an intro to philosophy class he took decades ago and didn’t get a good grade in. It’s mainly poor Plato (ironically) who’s taking the hit.

  5. JJ says

    Exactly, Brian. I mean, what if table meant both “a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs” AND “a set of facts or figures systematically displayed, esp. in columns?” What if chair referred to both “a separate seat for one person, typically with a back and four legs” AND John C. Eastman, the head of NOM’s board of directors? Communication as we know it would end. Literally. By which I mean NOT literally.

  6. GeoffreyPS says

    I assume the man is the table and the wives are the chairs in his analogy? To keep it biblically correct, are the concubines the booster seats?

  7. Grey says

    Hmm those arguments failed elsewhere. Why? Because arguments with that theme are WEAK!

    Citizens were once defined as ‘white’. It didn’t hurt the definition of citizen to add black people to it.

    A ‘Judge’ was once defined as a man. It didn’t hurt the definition to allow women to become judges.

    A ‘person’ was once defined as a man as well. It didn’t hurt the definition of person to add women.

    Same sex marriage doesn’t change the intention. It only does if you’re a nasty anti-gay bigot; if one doesn’t get that this is an issue of dignity and human rights, one needs to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge the fact that one is a bigot. – Hello Brian Brown!

  8. Bill Strong says

    I assume that he got this analogy from sitting with Dan Savage and Terry Miller at their dining room table a couple of years ago in his failed attempt to debate his bigotry.

  9. Ethan Allen says

    If a chair marries another chair, or a table marries another table, are they not all still furniture? I mean, hey, even a footstool and a hassock could get it on, right?

    Marriage = furniture.

  10. Bill says

    @JackFknTwist : Nobody gets paid 500K per year for incoherent ramblings. Its being able to spew those ramblings while keeping a straight face that’s the hard part.

  11. Dan Cobb says

    This man seems hell-bent on providing archives of evidence as to what a moron he is.
    An utter moron.

    Hey Brian, it’s called furniture. Table, chair. The term that covers both is “furniture”.
    And marriage -covers two human people who enter into the solemn promise of marriage.
    People (not just limited to male and female)
    Furniture (which includes chair and table).

  12. Jack M says

    @ David, that analogy was so tortured, Amnesty International is investigating! I think Mr. Brown attended the Rick Santorum School of Philosophy.

  13. Tigernan says

    What kind of sociopath do you have to be to stand up and say these kinds of things – whether you’re just collecting a paycheck or not, that’s just bizarre to me.

  14. Tigernan says

    What kind of sociopath do you have to be to stand up and say these kinds of things – whether you’re just collecting a paycheck or not, that’s just bizarre to me.

  15. Rob says

    Well, bless his heart. I supect the poor dear has severely strained something in his brain trying to come up with a new and interesting argument to keep his base engaged and sending in contributions. The desperation is rising in these hate groups

  16. Marek says

    @GeoffreyPS “I assume the man is the table and the wives are the chairs in his analogy?”

    No, in his analogy chairs are hetero marriages and tables are same-sex marriages. He just says: “words have meaning, by forcing broadening a meaning [and calling collectively chairs and tables “chairs”] you make the meaning less clear”. The same (in his opinion) goes for extending the traditional meaning of the word “marriage” to refer also to formal relationships of same-sex couples. It just makes things less clear by using a wrong word to describe something.

    Obviously, this is quite silly – you can find an analogy much closer to the subject to proove him wrong. E.g. he could insist that traditionally marriages were just between one race, so we should not call mixed-race formal relationships a “marriage” because it somehow “untraditionally broadens the original meaning, calling a mixed-race formal relationship a “marriage” would be like extending the meaning of a word “chair” to also include tables”…

    As always with analogies: they are great in explaining how you think of something, they are almost always silly/stupid if one tries to present them as decisive formal arguments…

  17. Bernie says

    well, according to some on the right, marriage equality could lead to folks marrying their dog…so in that vein, maybe Mr. Brown is worried that marriage equality could lead to folks marrying their dining room table or their favorite armchair…with these wingnuts, you never know…………and his comparison of tables and chairs is so dehumanizing and asinine, it is hard to even address

  18. scott says

    Umm… what if you sit on the table? In essence, the table would become a chair. Geez. Who cares. When it effects the way you earn a living or take care of your family, then we can talk.

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