What would happen if you crossed that creepy 1960s horror classic "The Village of the Damned" with the Broadway staple "A Chorus Line"? You don't need to use your imagination. It's therewaiting for you on YouTubeunder the title "Gathering Storm": a 60-second ad presenting homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism.
The actors are supposedly Not Gay. They stand in choral formation before a backdrop of menacing clouds and cheesy lightning effects. "The winds are strong," says a white man to the accompaniment of ominous music. "And I am afraid," a young black woman chimes in. "Those advocates want to change the way I live," says a white woman. But just when all seems lost, the sun breaks through and a smiling black man announces that "a rainbow coalition" is "coming together in love" to save America from the apocalypse of same-sex marriage. It's the swiftest rescue of Western civilization since the heyday of the ambiguously gay duo Batman and Robin.
Far from terrifying anyone, "Gathering Storm" has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic....Yet easy to mock as "Gathering Storm" may be, it nonetheless bookmarks a historic turning point in the demise of America's anti-gay movement.
After insulting the ad as "idiotic" and "homophobic activism," Rich named the shadowy figures behind the ad:
"Gathering Storm" was produced and broadcast - fora claimed $1.5 million- by an outfit called the National Organization for Marriage. This "national organization," formed in 2007, is a fund-raising and propaganda-spewing Web sitefrontedby the right-wing Princeton University professor Robert Georgeand the columnist Maggie Gallagher, who wasfamously caught receiving taxpayers' moneyto promote Bush administration "marriage initiatives." Until last month, half of the six board members (including George) had somepastorpresentaffiliation with Princeton's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. (One of them, the son ofone of the 12 apostles in the Mormon church hierarchy, recently stepped down.)
Rich concluded his rant by calling opponents of gay marriage bigots:
As marital equality haltingly but inexorably spreads state by state for gay Americans in the years to come, Utah will hardly be in the lead to follow Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. But the fact that it too is taking its first steps down that road is extraordinary. It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid.
Absent from Rich's long rant: An actual poll number for support of gay marriage. Maggie Gallagher, one of the activists slammed as a "bigot" by Rich, responded at National Review Online by pointing to inconvenient polling data showing just 33 percent of Americans support gay marriage.
And Kathleen McKinley wrote at NewsBusters that Rich lefta few inconvenient names off his bigot list: President Obama himself is against them, as well as the 70% of black voters in California who approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state.