Same people who were unhinged about 'context' with Obama prove they obviously have no clue what context actually is #unrealmarriage — Laura Jensen (@77_Laura) August 29, 2012
I blew up a corner of the Internet last night. After reading this observation about Ann Romney's speech at the Dish...
[Ann Romney says] what she and Mitt have is a "real marriage." Who has a fake one, one wonders?
...I tweeted something about my unreal marriage and created the hashtag #unrealmarriage. The #unrealmarriage hashtag quickly trended as other people in marriages that the GOP doesn't consider legitimate—and the Republican party has ways of shutting our marriages down—started tweeting out their unreal 140-character love stories, their unrealweddingpictures, photos of their unrealkids, etc., all with the #unrealmarriage hashtag.
Now I wasn't watching Ann Romney's speech—I also missed Rick Santorum's speech—so I didn't hear her "real marriage" remark in context before I tweeted. My bad. So here's Romney's "real marriage" phrase in context...
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.
Angry conservatives soon swarmed #unrealmarriage to argue that we were being unfair to Ann Romney because she wasn't drawing a distinction between her opposite-sex marriage and the same-sex marriages that keep Rick Santorum up at night. But "real marriage" is a loaded a phrase—particularly in the context of the Republican National Convention. It's so loaded a phrase, in fact, that even those who were watching the speech—like Andrew Sullivan—took it as an unsubtle dig at folks in same-sex marriages. And while Romney's comments seem benign in print/pixels), consider the reaction of the anti-gay crowd.
Sorry, TCOTs, but "real marriage" is a phrase that someone who doesn't want to be mistaken for a bigot should avoid using from the podium the Republican National Convention. Again, consider the context: the GOP opposes same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnership rights, and adoptions by same-sex couples. The president of an officially-designated anti-gay hate group—Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council—wrote the Republican party's marriage plank. If we seem overly sensitive about this issue, TCOTs, it's because your side has give us every reason to be.
And, as they pointed out at Democratic Underground, Romney immediately pivoted from "real marriage" to "values centered on family, faith."
"Looks sorta fishy that she wove in the 'real marriage' phrase right before talking about values and faith," writes a blogger at DU. "Seems like a big 'dog whistle' to the GOP base to me."
Indeed it did. And, even in context, it still does.