The main thesis of the profile seems to be that NOM's director isn't a crazy, fire-breathing, foam-at-the-mouth right-winger.
The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.
Ruthlessly sane? What does that even mean, especially when you couple it with "pleasantly"? Apparently this is to show that it is possible, however unlikely, to like someone who advocates against gay marriage.
He is 35, red hair, solidly built, wearing a crisp blue shirt with a white collar. Instantly likable.
The reporter seems to be surprised that an anti-gay marriage activist is likable. This isn't new information. I have family and friends that don't believe same-sex marriage. But I still like those people. They aren't evil demons. But what Brown is doing is still pushing an issue that is becoming increasingly unpopular.
It is irrational when the opposition points to polls suggesting that most young people support gay marriage. "People mature," he says. Their views change.
That's actually not true, in political science terms. People establish the big principles of their political beliefs early on. A few outliers may change their tune down the road, and most people grow marginally more conservative as they grow older, especially on fiscal issues, but they also don't radically change their views as they get older.
But Brown is highly educated, shouldn't he know this?
But this country is not made up of people in the far wings, right or left. This country is made up of a movable middle, reasonable people looking for reasonable arguments to assure them that their feelings have a rational basis.
Brian Brown speaks to these people. He has a master's degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA.
Wait, so people with master's degrees from Oxford and doctorates from UCLA are suddenly people who speak to "middle" America? By this reasoning, academics should be dictating what "middle" America thinks. But this population is generally in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and tend to draw parallels between the modern anti-gay marriage and the movement that opposed interracial marriage in the Civil Rights era.
"The racial bigot comparison is the most troubling part of the argument," Brown says. It's horrible, offensive, deliberately incendiary. He thinks it is "irrational," a word he uses often.
Brown works to insist that he's not irrational. He's rational. He works hard.
He raises money. He organizes phone drives. He sits in the empty Washington digs and cheerfully takes conference calls about whom NOM should hire for an Iowa position ("I haven't had good luck with the Heritage job bank, but that doesn't mean anything"). He sends out regular e-mail updates to NOM's mailing list, conveying his excitement on the issues with exclamation points.
That. Is. Devastating. This man is not only well educated, but he has a firm grasp of punctuation. Dear god, people. Run.
But what is perhaps most disturbing is how he managed to change his wife's views on this issue.
Sue Brown had never really thought about same-sex marriage until she met Brian. "Obviously, I always realized there were gay people," she says one Friday morning, sitting in the still-sparsely furnished living room. "But I didn't think about them wanting to get married." And once she did: "Initially, I probably thought, well, what's the big deal if they do? What does it have to do with me?"
"I get how [gays and lesbians] feel," she says. "I get that."
She's pictured what it might be like to be on the other side of this debate. "I know many awesome women, and I've thought about what if I got together with one of them" and tried to raise a family.
She has thought through it. She supports her husband. "I can only go by my own experience, and I believe there's a huge difference in gender." The kids don't need Brian "walking in the door because he's another person. They need him because he's a man."
Yes, it must be that what their children need is not a loving and supportive family that is not living in poverty. It must be that they need a penis in their life. But by this logic, wouldn't two penises be even better?
Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile [Washington Post]