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Days and Slights: This week in NOM (Aug. 20-27)

by Jeremy Hooper



Dear NOM Watcher,

Just a few short years ago, when any of us heard the sound "NOM," we thought of only one thing: Devouring food. The onomatopoeia signified some sort of Cookie-Monster-like dining experience, the marriage of edibles to insides just too darn enjoyable to go unverbalized. The "NOM, NOM, NOM" feelings were most always good-humored, even if caloric.

But now -- but now! -- the word "NOM" has taken on a whole new meaning for Americans, particularly those with an eye on politics. What was once a satisfied expression has now become shorthand for civil discrimination. The "NOM"-ing, once planted solidly in the realm of grocery stores and pizza delivery, now plays out in constitutions across the state and federally. "NOM," a term that brought smiles to adult and child alike, now connotes deep, soul-punching pain for millions of pro-equality human beings.

Though you shouldn't fret, dear NOM Watcher, for there is hope. Because while NOM, the discriminatory organization, may have added new weight to "NOM," the aggressive donut nosh, it seems that we may soon be able to reclaim the term. Why, you ask? Well, because NOM the organization truly seems determined to "nom" up their own practical role in American politics, eating away at their own stances and credibility better than any of us ever could. And this week, this sense of self-"nom"-ulation took on a whole new level. Let's examine.

Pedo-peddling Part Deux

Last week, I showed you how NOM President Brian Brown was using the organization's weekly newsletter to connect gays to pedophilia. Well it turns out NOM wasn't done there. On Tuesday of this week, staffers took to NOM Blog, where they pushed a piece that used homosexuality and its acceptance as a warning sign for theoretical acceptance of pedophilia. In fact, the writer of the NOM-linked piece, First Things' Joe Carter, put both homosexuality and pedophilia on a same "slippery slope to social disruption," saying that a pro-gay step like the historic Lawrence opinion "eventually becomes a useful ramp to normalizing degeneracy."

This is what NOM finds bloggable: Far-right attempts to connect gay people to child molestation? Okay, fine. If that's the unpragmatic way they want to direct this civil rights documentary, I'll just sit back and "nom" some popcorn.

Levin-ed bred, NOM fostered

Another event of the week that surely induced some internal NOM facepalm-ing was when Brooklyn rabbi Yehuda Levin took to his YouTube account to blame gays for this week's minor east coast earthquake. I suggest that it had NOM staffers smacking their heads in frustration, because Levin's over-the-top attack sparked such a reaction in just about any grounded person who watched it. Though I also suggest this reaction of NOM in particular because, uhm, well, you see -- NOM RECENTLY HOSTED THIS VERY SAME YEHUDA LEVIN AT THEIR ANTI-NY-EQUALITY PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE CAPITOL STAIRS IN ALBANY! Arm-in-arm. They stood with him for the common anti-marriage cause.

Don't believe me? Here, see for yourself: The press conference, with its small band of selected speakers, is still readily available on NOM's official YouTube channel:

Screen Shot 2011-08-26 At 10.18.03 Am
[SOURCE: NOM's official YouTube channel]

You know how before natural disasters like earthquakes, animals tend to scurry? Well the growing question I have for NOM: How will they weather political reputation-quakes, when their own birds of a feather stick around to make such extreme claims?

Money makes the NOM go 'round (disclosure laws)"

This week, NOM Exposed's own Kevin Nix rounded up NOM's nationwide attempt to go against fair donor laws. Kevin was forced to write this memo, because NOM seriously seems to think that these disclosure laws are merely suggestions, the likes of which need not stick to their coordinated Teflon. It's a choice that's making everyone in the political world wonder: What should a reputable group have to hide, anyway?

But there's no way this dance can last forever. If a group raises the kind of serious cash that NOM claims to be hauling in for the purpose of taking away citizens' rights, transparency will eventually rule the day. That is a promise.

Read Kevin's memo here and be sure to refer to it often.


If you've followed NOM for any amount of time, you've surely heard the organization purport to be non/bipartsian, a claim they work in order to deny the obviously partisan fuel that keeps marriage (and marriage discrimination) in the realm of public debate. But as I noted in this week's NOM Exposed piece, "NOM is Right. Very, Very Right," NOM's conservative roots are growing in new and uncontainable ways -- ways that completely bely the broad coalition vibe they sometimes like to cultivate.

From Maggie Gallagher's new Tea Party affiliated website to Brian Brown's "no liberal causes!" fundraising site, basically NOM (R-ProtectMarriageville) is saying that their group will take non-Republican support, cash, and votes, but will use the capital, intellectual or monetary, to advance nothing but conservative causes. Be you donkey, elephant, or an animal of your own stripe, NOM's failure to make these deep partisan ties known should strike you as disingenuous, at best.

That's Buell!

You surely heard about Jerry Buell, the Florida teacher who used words like "sin" and "cesspool" and "vomit" to describe New York's same-sex marriages. But did you know that the people6A00D8341C503453Ef015434D31F9F970C who investigated the conduct to see if Buell had violated any rules, led by administrators at the teacher's very own public school system, were actually conducting a "fatwa"? And did you realize that said "fatwa" is actually part of a larger "jihad"?

Yeah huh! Or at least that's what you would be led to believe if you read the latest edition of Brian Brown's weekly newsletter. In it, the NOM president used both of the aforementioned, loaded, religiously-charged words to describe the completely understandable questions that surrounded the teacher and his role guiding students from all walks of life. Never mind that even Mr. Buell's Liberty Counsel attorney admits Buell might have violated church/state separation in other ways or that a man's right to publicly tout his gag reflex is in no way a victory for NOM. Brian just went ahead and fundraised around the "fatwas" and "jihads" and gay-initaited "battles" (Oh my).

The NOM president made these "Gee, odd" word choices for reasons as obvious as they are dangerous.

"God's truth about marriage"

Speaking of Brian's weekly newsletter: The latest edition is one of the most overtly religious messages NOM's ever sent. Here are some quips from it, all built around Brian's theme of pitting "the new gay morality" against "God's truth about marriage":

"adults who believe and speak for the great truths of Genesis."
"good people of every race, creed and color can do when we come together on behalf of God's truth about marriage!"
"But you and I have always fought together under the banner of truth. Together, truth and love will prevail, as Maggie says. Not Truth without the love of God and our neighbor in our hearts. Nor a Love which is afraid to speak truth for fear of being labeled a bigot or a hater by those who wield scorn and hatred as a weapon to suppress the truth and those who speak it."
"They do not know us. They do not know the One whom we know."
"the new gay morality, backed by the government"
"We are looking into the face of a movement which wants, in the name of equality, to take away your rights and the rights of millions of decent, loving, law-abiding Americans who 'cling'—yes, I'm not afraid to call it that!—to God, common sense, and the best of America's long traditions of respect for Judeo-Christian values."
"fearless leaders in all walks of life who will stand up for God's truth about marriage!"
MAGGIE: "moral truth exists, and our rights (including our right to marriage) are not gifts of government, but are grounded in and bounded by Nature and Nature's God."
"Thank you for your fellowship, for your courage, and for your willingness to act on that great Biblical principle: 'Be not afraid!'
SOURCE: NOM Weekly Newsletter [NOM Blog]

This religious basis is of course not a problem, in and of itself. Just like any other faith-based group, NOM and its staff have every right to operate under the religious basis that we NOM Watchers have always known to fuel the "protect marriage" work. However, when they go to the ballot in any state to take away *CIVIL* rights, it is imperative that this organization be just as honest about the faith motivation as they are when speaking to the base. The public has a right to know where this frontline group is coming from, regardless of how much NOM might want to talk about school books, "gathered storms," and supposed (read: fallacious) religious violations coming from the other side.

So let's recap this week's savviness-snacking menu:

A group that respects the separation between civil marriage and the optional (even if oft-employed) religious ceremony? OM, NOM, NOM, NOM.

A group working from a sweeping place disconnected from a certain party? OM, NOM, NOM, NOM.

A group that stays away from gross, fringe games like linking sexual orientation to assorted paraphilias? OM, NOM, NOM, NOM

A group that respects this national conversation too much to reduce their opposition to "jihadists" at war with God's design? OM, NOM, NOM, NOM


I just hope with all that "NOM"-ing, they save room for dessert. If NOM's current trajectory is any guide, there will surely be lots more wedding cake in everyone's future!

Until next week,


Jeremy Hooper
Good As You/NOM Exposed

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