There is absolutely no level to which the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) will not sink to marginalize and oppress LGBT Americans. This organization is on the front lines of the Prop 8 battle. It is attempting to overturn marriage equality in every state, most recently in the state of New Hampshire. (And I’m more than happy to report that its efforts failed.) It has targeted Starbucks for standing up for marriage equality. But perhaps the worst indictment of this hateful organization are its secret documents released as a result of an ongoing investigation by the state of Maine into NOM’s 2009 fundraising tactics.
These documents outline the board-approved NOM national strategy for the continued oppression of LGBT Americans, the most heinous of which is a classic game of race baiting, by driving a wedge between gays and blacks around what is and isn’t a ‘civil right.’
“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.”
Likewise, NOM targets the Latino community, building on the fear of ‘assimilation’ into what NOM calls the ‘dominant Anglo culture':
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt tis process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of the Latino identity — a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
On the home page of its web site, NOM blatantly mischaracterizes what it is doing by stating that the organization is proud of its strong record on what it calls ‘minority partnerships.’ Its president, Brian Brown, states:
“Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false,” Brown said in a statement. “Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
Fighting NOM requires more than countering its attacks. What is required is education of the black and Latino communities so that they understand that what NOM is fostering is not ‘partnerships.’ NOM is playing and manipulating blacks and Latinos in order to achieve its goals. It is using these minorities — who have intimate knowledge of what bigotry and oppression is all about — to do the same thing to LGBT Americans. By doing this, NOM proves that it neither embraces nor respects blacks and Latinos any more than it does gay Americans.
Although NOM is a member of the lunatic fringe, it has the opportunity to have a disproportionate amount of influence. In the South, for example, black pastors take offense at gay marriage being referred to as a civil right. For these misguided souls, homosexuality is still a lifestyle choice, even though we’ve long stopped calling it ‘sexual preference’ and have started calling it what it truly is — sexual orientation. Don’t think for a moment that NOM isn’t in bed with both right-wing Christian nutcakes and the more conservative traditional religions. Its home page tag line reads “Protecting Marriage and the Faith Communities that Sustain it.” NOM and religion is truly an unholy alliance.
The GOP brings the lunatic fringe into the mainstream
John Boehner, GOP Speaker of the House, has just appointed Dr. Robert George, founder and former Chairman of NOM, to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). There is nothing ‘mainstream’ about George, author of what is called the Manhattan Declaration, which reads in part:
“No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as “marriages” sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is.”
George has said that being gay is “beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures.” He also argues that gay relationships have “no intelligible basis in them for the norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and the pledge of permanence.”
Yet this is the man who Boehner refers to as “a respected and leading voice for religious freedom.” He should also have added that he’s critical to the GOP’s crusade to oppress the LGBT community. Let’s not forget that Boehner has earmarked $1.5 million to continue to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in spite of the fact that President Obama and his Justice Department have walked away from it, and several courts have determined that it’s unconstitutional.