The top four lies our opponents tell

All this month, our Director of Public Engagement Thalia Zepatos has been writing about the lies that we have seen opponents of the freedom to marry tell over and over again. Our opponents have seen that lying about same-sex couples and how marriage would impact states is the only way they can win. We've seen them repeatedly employ the same scare tactics and misinformation throughout the years, and this election cycle, with the freedom to marry on the ballot in four states, was no exception. Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington were exposed to the same tired messaging and distortions of reality.

Here's a round-up of what Thalia calls the four "anti-gay marriage lies," with links to the original pieces on The Huffington Post, where Thalia breaks down our opponent misleading information.

Lie #1. "Allowing gay couples to marry will result in opponents being 'fired, sued, fined and punished.'"

Thalia references opponents' decisions to distort isolated cases into depictions of how extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples would affect anyone's ability to express disagreement. "Leaders behind the opposition campaigns know that they need to go further than "love whom you choose, just don't call it marriage" if they want to win these elections," Thalia writes. "They have to spin tales of scary consequences, depicting the horrible things that will go wrong if there are more loving couples committing themselves to marriage in our society." She goes on to break down isolated instances that our opponents keep coming back to, an example that Mainers United and other fact-check groups have dismissed as false. READ ABOUT LIE #1.

Lie #2. "Gays and lesbians already have the same rights as married couples."

Thalia refutes our opponents' supposed "argument" that civil unions and domestic partnerships provide the same protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. She writes: "There are three big problems with this lie. The first is that, as court after court has recognized, separate is not equal; civil unions and domestic partnerships simply don't provide "the same legal rights" as marriage. Secondly, alternative forms of recognition don't always work in times of crisis, leading to devastating consequences for couples who thought their relationships were protected. Third, as the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and other opponents well know, marriage is more than a collection of legal rights." READ ABOUT LIE #2. 

Lie #3. "Marriage for same-sex couples hurts churches and religious charities."

Opponents of the freedom to marry repeatedly claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry will impede on the religious freedom of churches and other religious-based organizations and charities. Thalia cites some of these distortions and shows how they're simply not true. She writes: "The bottom line on all of this: Multiple fact-checking news outlets have found absolutely no merit to [claims that the freedom to marry impedes on religious freedom]. A Seattle Times national investigation 'checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.' A Maine Today Media 'Truth Test' also called around and found that '[t]here were no gay-marriage related claims against religious organizations in any of the states.'" READ ABOUT LIE #3. 

Lie #4. "Allowing marriage between committed gay couples is harmful to children."

This election cycle, our opponents in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington have all cited the same 7-year-old argument from a pair of anti-gay activists from Massachusetts: "If gay marriage happens here, schools could teach that boys can marry boys." The couple speaking out against the freedom to marry explains that their son brought home a book from school that depicted many different kinds of families, including single-parent families, an extended family, interracial families, a family with two dads and a family with two moms. The book said nothing about marriage. The story has been ruled "false" and "misleading" by a number of reputable news sources as well as a court of law. Thalia reflects, "Clearly, facts don't matter to our opponents. Anti-marriage campaigns in four states are still trotting this tired old story out in hopes of distracting the public and scaring people into voting against their gay neighbors." READ ABOUT LIE #4.

These are the lies that our opponents have used in the past. This election cycle, we were more prepared than ever to face them, debunk them, and explain to voters that they are simply not true. And we were backed up by independent fact-checking sources.

Fortunately, advocates for the freedom to marry have facts on our side. We also have values - family values, American values, values that support freedom, personal responsibility, and the freedom to marry who we love.