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03/10/2012

Days and Slights: This Week in NOM (Mar. 4 - Mar. 10)

by Jeremy Hooper

Nationalorganizationformarriage-5

Dear NOM Watcher,

Every week, when I look back at what I and National Org. for Marriage staffers wrote during the prior seven days so that I can bring you this wrap, I try to see if any themes come to the fore. Sometimes it may be a specific state that NOM has honed in on during the week. Other times, it's a particular person who becomes more newsworthy than others. And sometimes, there's nothing all that specific that strikes my noggin, requiring me to get a little more creative.

But this week, it took me all of a millisecond to pinpoint the binding motif. It was just so glaring. In your face, even. I couldn't help but notice that for NOM, a group that purports to stand for against common sense grounds that require no religious ground, this was the week that they gave up and give it all to God.


On Monday, we found NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher over at her digital home on the National Review blog. That's where Maggie made it clear that she sees the mere act of showing up at a parent's funeral with a partner in tow as equivalent to "confess[ing] your sin to a priest." That, the foundational view that homosexuality is a "very serious sin" and an "unfortunate thing," of course jibes with what we NOM Watchers have heard from Maggie for some time, but is the kind of thing that rarely makes it into her bio when she plays the CNN or CSPAN version of herself.

Then there was the godly "stoning." That's the phrasing NOM prez Brian Brown used early this week in reference to the upcoming marriage referendum in North Carolina. Spun around a biblical David vs. Goliath conceit, Brian called on his side to throw "smooth stones" (a.k.a. $$$) at the "protect marriage" matter. He then closed out with the bold, presumptuous, and thoroughly theological claim: "With God's help, we know who wins in the end!"

Or what about the NOM Weekly newsletter? Whoa, buddy -- a veritable church bulletin, that one! After condemning the "perverse" and "corrupt" (Brian's words) plan that equality activists supposedly use to push "a strange new god of gay marriage" (Brian's phrase), the NOM president came right out and stated NOM's organizational goal. He wrote: "Here at NOM we are very busy, winning impossible victories for your genuinely sacred values—for the rights that are given to us not by government but from the hand of our Creator Himself." Which makes me wonder why they're defending Prop 8 in a court of civil law rather than on a cloud of several angels. But I digress.

But even Brian's "Creator himself" call was less faith-specific and condemnatory than the outreach that NOM is using in hopes of electing a Republican to an open New York state Senate seat. In order to curry favor among the GOP candidate's Orthodox Jewish base, NOM has teamed up with a religious group that quite literally calls homosexuality a "disgusting lifestyle" and claims that "this filth and degradation" has the power to destroy entire nations. For real. This is NOM's named ally that says this really sweeping, nasty stuff about gay human beings (as opposed to just marriage), as the two groups work hand in hand to support "Torah values."


Before going any further, I should stress that NOM has every single right (rite?) to be as religious as they want. They can shout it from the rooftops: "We think homosexuality is wrong, that is can and should be 'changed,' and that gays are in no way capable of marriage, based on our own biblical beliefs." They can form faith coalitions right and left far-right, hold religious rallies all day long, and tell America that same-sex marriage is always wrong because their view of "God's law" trumps all else. I'd fight for their right do this.

But this isn't what NOM does. NOM plays this deeply religious role on their blogs, in their newsletters, and in other rare instances when it seems safer or more strategic to do so, but when campaign season rolls around, they always work to convince whatever state is in contention that they stand against CIVIL marriage rights because of a host of every day, non-religious things (schools, employment practices, freedom of speech) that will supposedly change. They would N*E*V*E*R put out a campaign ad that instructed voters to turn out "for the rights that are given to us not by government but from the hand of our Creator Himself," because they (and their handlers at Schubert Flint Public Affairs) know that this would alienate the large swaths of movable middle voters who they need to dupe into supporting civil discrimination. NOM uses these wholly holy calls to action to hyper-motivate the crowds that they need, but they play games of pretend when mainstream media cameras, debate opponents, campaign ad film crews, and on-the-fence lawmakers come around. The duality is maddening.


My hope is that this is changing. I truly hope that I noticed the religious aspect so much this week because NOM has made the organizational choice to own up to their guiding views. I really mean this. It would help this debate tremendously and cut through much of the spin if those who stand against us at the ballot -- and remember, every state campaign is handled in large part by NOM -- would at least be honest about the deep and virtually inseparable religious motivations that are being used to halt a civil licensing process that is already faith-optional for all couples, opposite- or same-sex.

We shall see in the next few months. And if NOM won't own up to the truth that brings them to this fight against CIVIL licensing and CIVIL rights? Then we must.


Not just our marital beds, but our nurseries too

NOMmers are also dropping their guard when it comes to the outside sources and claims they use to make their case against civil marriage equality. This week, they linked to a critical "analysis" from Focus on the Family in which researcher Glenn Stanton works to "prove" that children of lesbians really face a wholeScreen Shot 2012-03-07 At 12.04.16 Pm host of unreported problems that stem from their family structure.

On its face, it's telling that this, an attempt to discredit a form of parenting that does and will continue to exist independent of the legal marriage contract (and that would be strengthened by the state and federal freedom), would even be of NOM interest, considering they're supposed to be only about marriage and not about opposing LGBT rights in general. But beyond just that, it's even more telling that they'd use Stanton as some sort of an expert. Because remember, this is the same Glenn Stanton who quite proudly claims, right on Focus on the Family's website, that homosexuality is "a particularly evil lie of Satan because he knows that it overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation," and that "nothing else challenges this image of the Triune God so profoundly and thoroughly as homosexuality." So clearly, anything that Mr. Stanton says about us is shaped by this, his grounding belief that we are a "particularly evil lie of Satan." Plus it's also clear that Mr. Stanton's agenda goes well beyond far and accurate analysis.

So does NOM's agenda, as we're learning more and more with every passing week.


And the Oscar for Reductive Rhetoric Goes To…

Have you heard that only rich, liberal, elites want the freedom to marry? Yeah huh -- NOM said so! And not just any elites, either, but the worst kind of elites: The dreaded HOLLYWOOD ELITES!!!!

That was the message NOM blasted out this week when they pushed a column from the UK Telegraph that indicted The Town that Movies Built for "trying to make gay marriage inevitable" through filmed entertainment. Although NOM -- an organization that was founded by and is stacked with rich, politically-connected, highly educated conservative "elites," by the way -- actually took it a step beyond merely pushing their "Hollywood elitist" column. NOM, having apparently hired a junior high student with a "ha, ha - this will show 'dem gays" point to make, actually went so far as to paint the Hollywood sign in rainbow colors:

Screen Shot 2012-03-07 At 12.04.16 Pm

I mean don't get me wrong: It's pretty, this Prideful sign. Big fan of the rainbow here. But something tells me Los Angeles skyline beautification was not NOM's goal here. The real goal, I would guess, is to make same-sex marriage seem as foreign and as distant as movie magic and to make gay rights seem like something that will drastically change the landscape (and its tourist attractions, apparently).

When it comes to this silly, "elite"-driven script, the credits can't roll soon enough!


Sky is blue, grass is green, NOM is accused of shady campaign disclosure

To no one's surprise, another one of NOM's state coalitions is under investigation by yet another Campaign Finance Board. This time it's Minnesota, where the so-called Minnesota For Marriage coalition is accused of some pretty serious charges, including hiding individual donors and filing false reports. At the very least, NOM & Co. is raising questions about the reliably shady practices that have come to define their electoral outreach. At worst, they are outright flouting the fair electoral practices that Minnesotans deserve.

We'll see how this one plays out. And hopefully this time, we'll actually get some answers before the harm is done rather than allow NOM to drag their feet until well after the election, when repercussions are minimal.


Until next week,

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hooper
NOM Exposed/Good As You

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