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10/22/2011

Days and Slights: This Week in NOM (Oct. 16 - Oct. 22)

by Jeremy Hooper

6A00D8341C503453Ef0154349F168B970C-21

Dear NOM Watcher,

6A00D8341C503453Ef0154349F168B970C-21Sandra Lee is a self-made businesswoman, famous television personality, Christian believer (who has even been known to go on the "700 Club"), strong supporter of LGBT rights, and the longtime partner of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. But to the National Organization For Marriage, Lee is simply "the woman [Gov. Cuomo] does not love enough to marry."

6A00D8341C503453Ef0154349F168B970C-21 Diana Taylor is an accomplished, Columbia MBA graduate whose private sector work includes stints with Smith Barney and Keyspan Energy. Taylor's public sector career includes roles as the Deputy Secretary to Gov. George Pataki and as the New York State Superintendent of Banks. She's also rumored to be mulling a U.S. Senate run. But again, none of these bio lines matter to NOM. Instead, that organization defines Taylor only by the supposed inaction of her domestic partner, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as they label Bloomberg the man who "does not love the woman he lives with enough to marry her."

I'm not making this up. Both of these abject claims come directly from NOM President Brian Brown's weekly e-blast, with the idea being that neither of these high-ranking elected officials are fit to speak on civil marriage equality since neither are currently married. Never mind that all four participants in this crude slighting have been married in the past. Never mind that NOM staffers presumably have no fly-on-the-wall insight into why these four have chosen to channel their freedoms in the way that they have. Never mind that respect for marriage should also include respect for the choice to not marry. Never mind that NOM has its own high-ranking personalities who have gone through periods of life where they presumably loved deeply without marriage being in the picture. The only reality that matters is the one where both Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo stood against NOM's political goals. Because of that fact alone, both men (and their significant others) are now to be cruelly flogged. Per NOM's "values" work, both gentlemen are fit to have their love lives publicly questioned.

There is no reason to mince words here: This is truly nasty behavior. It is personal, it is hostile, and it is completely beyond the pale. And as we are coming to know more every week: It is the National Organization For Marriage, circa 2011 America.

Now onto the rest...


Four pledged allegiance to one giant red flag!

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese brought the so-called NOM Marriage Pledge back into light this week, sending a letter to the four GOP presidential candidates who signed on to NOM's pledge -- Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum -- and telling them quite plainly: "You were duped." Because let's get real: They were/are/will be duped, so long as they get in bed with this organization.

The HRC prez focused specifically on the pledge's incredibly shady call for an incoming President to create a commission for the purposes of "investigating" alleged harassment of "traditional marriage" supporters. And it makes total sense that he chose this focus, since (a) the harassment is little more than the product of NOM's spin and (b) the call to "investigate" through some sort of new commission harkens back to eras that went bye bye for a reason. That NOM would be so bold as to put out this call is one thing. That Republican hopefuls would gladly sign on? Well that deserves our continued attention!

To read Joe's letter in full, check out this post.


Turning 18

Another week, another direct mail piece aiming to turn a certain state's election into a referendum on marriage. This time, it's Iowa's 18th Senate District that gets 6A00D8341C503453Ef0154349F168B970C-21the "honor." In that District's special race (held Nov. 8), NOM is backing GOP candidate Cindy Golding, who has vowed to do everything she can to overturn the state's benign, non-controversial marriage equality law. Golding's opponent is Democrat Liz Mathis, who's committed to keeping marriage off the ballot and out of the center of this election cycle, where so many crucial issues should come to the fore. So of course here come's NOM, rarin' to attack Mathis for this or that or the other while glorifying Golding for no rationale greater than her promise to put already-decided, should-be-settled minority rights before the whims of a majority vote.

NOM has already thrown considerable cash at the matter, and they'll surely toss forth more in the coming two-and-a-half weeks. But no matter the outcome, voters in Iowa's 18th District will be worse off for having to waste even a second on this, a discriminatory distraction that's even denser than the cast stones propelling it forward. Or backwards, as it were.


"Activist [facts]"

There were also two big court losses for NOM this week. [1] Washington state: U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle (a George W. Bush appointee) rejected the popular NOM claim that their supporters are being harassed and intimidated, determining that there's no valid reason to not release the name of those who petitioned for the purpose of repealing the state's domestic partnership law. [2] California: NOM and their "Protect Marriage" allies lost an attempt to hide campaign finance records, with U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. deciding that the public interest beats out NOM's baseless claims.

Both were direct smack downs of the "we're the shunned ones" strategy that NOM, over the past year or two, has placed at the top of its deck. Both of them were further court stings for an organization that has quite a bit of trouble in arenas where facts earn a premium. Oh, and both are also further justification for the Joe Solmonese letter that I referenced earlier in this here column.

My NOM Exposed buddy Kevin Nix has more here.


Viki knocks, NOM answers

And finally, let's end where we began: With NOM's weekly e-blast. In that same piece where Brian Brown so callously condemned certain citizens' unadorned ring fingers, he also took the opportunity to make a hero out of someone whose stated objects run far beyond the wedding band.

6A00D8341C503453Ef0154349F168B970C-21That "hero": Viki Knox, the New Jersey public school teacher who decided to use her Facebook page to denounce "immoral" and "ungodly" gay people and their "perverted spirit(s)." Except of course Brian didn't tell supporters the full breadth of Viki's comments, which included comparing pro-gay acceptance to someone "encouraging an eight year old girl to be a call girl/escort," repeatedly calling gays "unnatural," and declaring that this is all part of what she, a teacher, chooses to "teach and preach." No, no -- in true NOM fashion, Brian danced around VIki's words, saying that she simply "called for kind and loving treatment of gay people." Read her comments in full here and see who you believe.

It's obvious: Brian and NOM are pushing the Viki Knox story in hopes that she can become their next "Marriage Anti-Defamation" poster child. Which okay, fair enough, as far as the tactic goes. But if and when they hitch their wagons to this sort of thing, they're going to have to take the fully steamed up engine and not just the parts that they hope will drive their contrived cause.


Until next week, my precious ponies,

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hooper
Good As You/ NOM Exposed

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