The 5 Strangest Antigay Ads of 2014

The weird and less-than-convincing ways people argued against same-sex marriage this year.

A Virginia billboard. (Photo: YouTube)

Dec 30, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Nicole Pasulka is a writer and reporter who lives in New York City. She has written for Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, The Believer, and the New York Observer.

Back in November, researchers published a groundbreaking study that found some genetic similarities in 409 pairs of gay brothers. LGBT-rights activists celebrated the news as further evidence that gay desires are innate and can’t change. But Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, an organization that believes homosexuality is the result of early trauma or family life and that advocates for gay reparative therapy, plastered this very different interpretation on a billboard in Virginia.

The company renting the spot refused to take the sign down, despite gay activists’ outrage over the billboard's claims. But thanks to all the media attention, model Kyle Roux found out how PFOX had been using his picture. He told NBC 12 that he’s not a twin but he is gay, and he’s upset with the ad.

“It just seems like there’s no place in today’s world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I’ve lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life,” said Roux.

This isn’t a rare incident. No matter how many gay marriage bans were overturned, how many schools enforced transgender-inclusive policies, cities passed nondiscrimination ordinances, and employers offered transition-related health care coverage, there were still people trying to promote intolerance and exclusion in 2014. And that they did, through fear-mongering speeches, radio broadcasts, lawsuits, and advertisements.

Here are some more of the strangest and most awkward anti-LGBT ads we came across this year:

1. Who’s Afraid of a Transgender High School Student?

Earlier this year, the Minnesota State High School League, the nonprofit organization that oversees high school sports in the state, proposed a rule that would allow transgender students to play on sports teams according to their gender identity rather than the gender they were at birth. For example, a student who has transitioned from male to female can play on a girls’ team. Anti-LGBT organizations responded with two panicked ads claiming that the rule would mean “your 14-year-old daughter” would have to shower with “a male” and lose her college scholarship.

(Photo: Twitter)

The ads, however, weren’t very effective. Though the policy had some vocal opponents, it was approved earlier this month, in part because the Department of Education clarified its Title IX rules to specify that transgender students are allowed to participate in same-sex activities according to their gender identity.

2. Invitation to the March for Marriage

With footage of Martin Luther King Jr. and protesters during the freedom summer shown alongside video from rallies for the antigay group National Organization for Marriage, this advertisement for NOM’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., takes the prize for most melodramatic antigay ad of 2014.

Court decisions and nondiscrimination laws are a form of “tyranny,” according to the voice-over. “Our rights are being assaulted,” the ad claims, pointing to instances when business owners came under fire for refusing to provide service to LGBT couples.

3. Republicans in Illinois Turned on Their Own

This year in Illinois, three Republican state representatives defied their party and voted in favor of gay marriage. In response, an organization called Illinois Family Action sent out a mailer telling Rep. Ed Sullivan he could “kiss the GOP goodbye” and illustrated it with a photo of two men smooching. The image undoubtedly got a reaction out of some people, but the outrage seems pretty silly when you consider that, yes, when gay men get married, they kiss.

(Photo: Facebook)

4. Cory Booker Attack Ad Missed the Point

This mailer was sent out by an antigay marriage group based in Virginia, which sort of explains why they spelled New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s name wrong. What it doesn’t explain is why they think this is photo is scary. Note to gay marriage opponents: Stock images of cute guys kissing kind of defeat the purpose.