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Anti-Gay Group Wants Its Rainbow Back

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Dec 17, 2010

A religious group seeking "to promote life-long married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage" says that gays appropriated the rainbow from Christian and Jewish tradition. Now the anti-gay religious right wants it back.

The argument offered by the head of the National Organization for Marriage's Ruth Institute is that the rainbow symbolizes everything from God's covenant with humanity after the Great Flood to the cross-section of ethnic and religious demographics that joined forces to strip gay and lesbian families of marriage rights in California two years ago, reported Talking Points Memo (TPM) on Dec. 16.

As such, declares Jennifer Morse, the rainbow properly belongs not on display in gay Pride parades, but in Sunday schools and churches. TMP reports that Morse made her claims in an article published at anti-gay religious web site OneNewsNow. OneNewsNow went so far as to say that Morse viewed anti-marriage Prop. 8 proponents as "the original rainbow coalition," despite the term's earlier application to at least eight different specific political entities ranging from a 2002-forged Kenyan alliance to a political movement in Israel, to Jesse Jackson's National Rainbow Coalition (which subsequently merged with another group, PUSH).

"Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color," asserted Morse. "We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow."

As for gays having used the rainbow as a motif since 1978, "We can't simply let that go by," Morse declared. "Families put rainbows in their children's nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows... Noah's Ark and all the animals... Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols."

Rainbows result when sunlight refracts through water vapor in the atmosphere. Biblical literalists assert that prior to the great deluge described in the Old Testament, rain did not fall from the sky; rather, water seeped up from the ground to provide surface water and moisture for crops. The Bible says that the rainbow first appeared after God established a covenant with Noah following the great flood.

A Dec. 16 AlterNet article on Morse's declarations notes that Morse has participated in NOM's anti-marriage equality "Summer of Marriage" tour. NOM has mounted campaigns in states across the country to prevent marriage rights from being extended to same-sex families, and to roll back family parity in states where marriage equality has been granted.

Text at the Alternet article reads, "The main campaign of the Ruth Institute is 'Gay Marriage Affects Everyone,' a seminar led by Morse on the dangers of same-sex marriage.

"Among the ways 'gay marriage affects everyone,' writes Morse, include the notions that 'same sex marriage will marginalize men from the family" and "increase the power of the state over civil society,' " the Alternet article adds.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • RJ, 2010-12-17 14:20:33

    I knew before even seeing the byline that this would be a Kilian Milloy piece- any religious, well, Judeo-Christian religious, group that has differences with our community is automatically called the "religious right" by Kilian. Question for Kilian- was the heavy opposition w/in the black church to Prop 8 in CA the "religious right" too? And how about our President? He opposes SSM on religious grounds- ar eyou going to call him out as a member of the "religious right" as well? Yawn, Kilian.

  • aj, 2010-12-17 14:33:56

    Just try and steal my rainbow you right wing nut jobs!

  • TCBII, 2010-12-17 16:47:19

    I say, of course they can use the rainbow. No, they can’t take it away from us but they are welcome to use it. The whole point of the rainbow being a symbol for GLBT people is that it’s symbolizes inclusiveness. They want to exclude us, we don’t want to exclude them. So, yes I want to see rainbows in Sunday school rooms and kids bedrooms. I also want to see rainbows above GLBT youth centers and lining the streets in our neighborhoods. Like so many other things, the right wing zealots just don’t get it. GLBT people don’t want to disrupt their world. We only want to be included and not ostracized for the way we were born. That is the whole point of the rainbow. I do find it a little amusing that when they see a rainbow they think of us. When I see the rainbow I think of all my friends, past, present, and future and how diverse they all are.

  • , 2010-12-17 16:48:35

    God, next the Christians are going to want sodemy back too I suppose?

  • worthit, 2010-12-18 16:35:53

    After forty-plus years, it is a little late to try and appropriate the rainbow flag for themselves as it is too well established as a gay symbol. To Anonymous above, got news for you, sodomy is not exclusively a gay behavior. It is practiced by more than a few straights.

  • nick, 2010-12-19 12:15:08

    LOL...These religious nut-jobs REALLY do have to get lives. I couldn’t stop laughing.

  • Wimsy, 2010-12-21 13:07:08

    You can’t copyright a natural phenomenon, assholes.

  • , 2010-12-21 13:59:54

    Evidently science is not the strong suit of either the Religious Right or the author since "God’s rainbow" has seven colors and the "gay rainbow" only has six. The gay movement didn’t "steal" anything; however, if the Family Research Council or NOM would like to claim the 6 banded rainbow they should know it is an abomination since it is missing indigo.

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