"It's pretty scary, you know? You wonder how many people I can truly, honestly be open with," says a man, speaking into camera. It's a newly viral ad for LGBTQ rights — but it's got a twist! His concern is not about coming out as gay; he's worried about coming out against marriage equality. The ad, from Catholic Vote, flips the script on Friday's Supreme Court ruling and posits that, in a nation where marriage equality is the law, it's religious people who are oppressed. The ad shows about a half dozen people, all sharing that they believe marriage, in accordance to Christian teachings, is between a man and a woman, and that they feel they'll be persecuted for those beliefs. It's a ridiculous (and perhaps offensive) twist on the "coming-out" storyline, which has helped shed light and show support within LGBTQ groups, by turning those inspiring stories against the community.
"You can't reposition a group as oppressed when there is no movement to oppress them," writes Kristina Monllos in AdWeek, which was one of the first media outlets to comment on the ad. "And you certainly can't equate being called a bigot for spouting intolerance with anything near what members of the LGBTQ community have experienced for decades." Sadly, the numbers tell the same story: According to the FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report published last year, sexual orientation was the second-largest bias category of hate crimes committed in 2013 — after racial-bias hate crimes. Of 5,928 reported incidents of hate crimes, 1,212 were categorized as anti-LGBTQ. In contrast, 1,031 reported crimes were driven by biases against religion — and 70 were anti-Catholic hate crimes. Thankfully, the Internet has already provided us with a parody video.