In the fight over an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia, the battle became personal earlier this week.
Sadie Fields is leading the campaign to ban same-sex marriage as chairwoman of the Georgia Christian Coalition. In Monday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution she railed against the "assault" on the family by marriage-rights advocates. Her slippery-slope argument warned, "If we fail to protect marriage, the floodgates will be opened to every other kind of relationship outside of traditional norms."
Later in the week the editorial board of the paper received a letter condemning Mrs. Field's argument -- from her lesbian daughter.
Tess Fields read her mother’s attack and could not remain silent.
In a deeply personal letter she criticized her mother's "bigotry" and "abject hostility toward gay and lesbian people."
Telling of the tension within her family over her mother's extreme views, she writes that the first split with her mother occurred when she was in seventh grade and her mother told her that a Jewish friend "will go to hell" if she did not accept Christ.
When Tess was 24, her mother learned of her sexual orientation. "My mother came over to where I worked, screaming, and told me I was 'dead' to the family. She called me 'sick,' 'crazy,' and 'of the devil,' " Tess Fields wrote.
Tess Fields now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and newborn son.
"I felt almost cornered to write the letter because I needed to stand up for myself," Tess Fields said. "This amendment is hurting real families. It's hurting my family."
Sadie Fields and other opponents to same-sex marriage claim that they are not being "mean-spirited." The experience of her daughter calls this claim into question.
Whether in newspaper editorials or on-stage at events like the recent "Mayday for Marriage" rally, Religious Rights activists wrap themselves in the mantle of “family values” while their actions actually divide families.
Tess Field's response to her mother lays bare the rank hypocrisy practiced on a daily basis by extreme Religious Right activists.