Evidently, some gay marriage supporters decided that Ann Romney’s line about having a “real” marriage with Mitt, rather than a “storybook” marriage, was actually some sort of coded “dog whistle” about same-sex marriage, which was meant as a personal insult to the participants.
Among the ringleaders of this effort was Dan Savage, the bullying gay activist who was last seen screaming an obscenity-laden anti-Christian rant at a captive audience of high-school students. The character who tried to re-define Rick Santorum’s name to mean “a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” makes perfect sense as your go-to guy for parsing the true meaning of innocent statements from sane people.
Savage said via Twitter, “Ann Romney brags about her ‘real marriage.’ Guess that makes my marriage unreal.” He proceeded to pepper an “UnrealMarriage” topic with sentiments like this: “Terry & I have been together 18 years and our son D.J., adopted at birth, is 14. Not bad for a couple of fags in an #UnrealMarriage, huh?” Others joined in, including actor Wil Wheaton.
There is nothing ambiguous, complicated, or “coded” about what Ann Romney said. It doesn’t take any elaborate “context” to understand what she was talking about when she described her “real marriage.” Here is the entire passage in question from her speech:
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage.’ Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer. A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage. I know this good and decent man for what he is: warm and loving and patient.”
Nothing about this passage, or anything Mrs. Romney said before or after it, had anything whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage. The “real” component she described in her marriage is, very plainly, a reference to the trials she and her husband have endured. It’s downright psychotic to infuse two words from a handful of simple sentences with layers of hidden meaning.
Beyond being a textbook example of a few jerks hijacking and misrepresenting a quote for political purposes, this “unreal marriage” word game is a perfect example of the Hatred Veto. Savage and his ilk hate Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, and anyone else they perceive as opposing their political and social beliefs, so limitless malice can be casually ascribed to anything the targets of their hate fetish say. To some supporters of same-sex marriage, their agenda is so blindingly righteous that opponents really shouldn’t have free-speech rights at all… or even other rights, such owning a restaurant that sells “hate chicken” in defiance of “Chicago values.”
It’s obviously much easier to “win a debate” when the other side has been completely silenced. Failing that, it’s very helpful to claim the telepathic power to divine what they “really mean” when they speak, so you don’t have to deal with the actual content of their words… or even the subject they’re actually discussing.