In 2009, the National Organization for Marriage contributed $1.8 million to the campaign to overturn gay marriage in the state of Maine. Maine’s campaign finance laws require groups soliciting over $5,000 for a ballot question to file disclosure reports, but NOM did not file any reports. The Maine Ethics Commission voted to investigate, and NOM responded with a lawsuit alleging that the state’s reporting requirements are unconstitutional. NOM lost their case in the District Court of Maine and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court declined to hear it.
This week, the Human Rights Campaign released previously confidential NOM documents that were entered into the trial record. These internal memos articulate NOM’s strategies for fighting the legalization of gay marriage, as well as their plans for fomenting opposition to gay rights on a cultural level. These are some of the most revealing materials from NOM that have ever been uncovered, and they explicitly detail the organization’s intent to evade campaign disclosure laws, coordinate with the Catholic Church for fundraising, associate gay marriage with pornography, solicit celebrities to speak out against gay equality, promote racial division to serve their own ends, and even turn gay families against themselves. This is their playbook of underhanded tactics to roll back our equal rights, and it’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read.
In their “National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle” from 2009, they say:
“We are working closely with the Catholic Church and Bishop Malone of Portland. NOM Executive Director Brian Brown serves on the Executive Committee of the Maine Campaign alongside Mark Mutty, the Catholic Church’s Director of Public Affairs. The seed money that NOM initially provided has encouraged Bishop Malone to lead the fundraising effort – to date he has raised $150,000 and more than matched our initial funding.”
Under the heading of “Catholic Clergy Project”, they say:
“All clergy are key influencers on gay marriage, but Catholics are a key swing vote and Catholic clergy are notoriously difficult to personally reach. The Catholic Clergy Project aims to use NOM’s close relationships with Catholic bishops to equip, energize and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue. NOM has provided this service to bishops in New York, New Jersey, Rhose Island, Iowa and Kansas to date.”
Explaining how their “State Emergency Reserve Fund” can be used to keep their donors secret and get around disclosure requirements, they say:
“…we face a serious hurdle in getting state ballot initiatives and candidate campaigns funded because donors must be disclosed. However, if NOM makes a contribution from its own resources that are not specifically designated for one of these efforts donor identities are NOT disclosed.”
Under the heading of “The American Principles Project”, they say:
“Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist base of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. This is the mission of the American Principles Project.”
They further add that “APP has launched a project to contact Congress on keeping the Guantanamo prison open”. They explain that the APP’s Preserve Innocence Project
“…will monitor all administration initiatives from the White House, Department of Justice, Education Department, and the Health and Human Services Department that affect the welfare of children. We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children. We will provide a weekly update to Congress, to conservative leaders and to the national media on personnel or policy threats to childhood innocence.”
Attempting to find any famous people who are willing to promote their anti-gay message, they say:
“Hollywood with its cultural biases is far bigger than we can hope to be. We recognize this. But we also recognize the opportunity – the disproportionate potential impact of proactively seeking to gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous non-cognitive elites across national boundaries.”
The document budgets $120,000 for the apparent purpose of finding children who are willing to speak out against their own gay parents, allocating it toward “Children of same-sex couples and their concerns – outreach coordinator to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera”.
Under “The Latino Project: A Pan-American Strategy”, they say:
“Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.”
“With the help of Schubert Flint Public Affairs, we will develop Spanish language radio and TV ads, as well as pamphlets, YouTube videos, and church handouts and popular songs. Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”
In a board update, they explain their “Not a Civil Right Project” as follows:
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
Where do we even begin with all this? While many of their plans come as no surprise given their past statements and campaign activities, these documents reveal an organization that’s so outrageous and so openly ruthless, there’s simply no tactic that’s beneath them in their fight against our rights. The extremes to which they’re willing to go make them look like a cartoon supervillain. How singleminded and amoral do you have to be when you’re willing to encourage racial hostility just so you can take away the rights of American citizens? How revoltingly self-obsessed must you be to think a bunch of white people should be the ones to define Latino culture and identity? And after all of this has come to light, the only response from NOM and Maggie Gallagher has been to restate that they work with black and Latino churches. All they have to say is a big “So what?”
Well, here’s what: You’ve been working across the country using millions of dollars from secret donors to influence elections with racial tension and fear. You’ve been trying to make entire races hate gays, because you decided they just weren’t homophobic enough for your purposes. You’ve been using black and Latino people solely because they’re minorities, only taking an interest in them so that you can force your manufactured racial conflict into our rights, our marriages and our lives.
I don’t suppose you gave any thought to the fact that there are black and Latino people who are gay, and that your gays-versus-blacks narrative also means pitting gay people against gay people, and black people against black people. And as if that wasn’t enough, you even went looking for people who were willing to criticize their own parents for being gay. This has gone so far beyond just marriage, the truth behind your group is undeniable: Your entire movement relies on making people hate each other, because that’s what it takes for them to oppose gay rights. They have to be trained to hate, and that is what the National Organization for Marriage is doing to our country. That’s the only reason you exist. And that’s what you will always be known for.