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Catholic NOM embraces Catholic motivation it pits against our *CIVIL* rights

by Jeremy Hooper

While some of the funding and board representation has been Mormon, it is Catholicism that has always driven the National Organization For Marriage's existence. Happily, NOM is starting to more fully embrace that which spurred the discriminatory special interest group into being:

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In a more honest world, the (very Catholic) Robby George, (very Catholic) Maggie Gallagher, and (very Catholic) Brian Brown would've chosen a name like "Catholics Against Same-sex Marriage," back when the idea to create NOM scratched their brains. But they didn't do that. When George and Gallagher founded NOM (and brought in Brown) so they could fight the marriage equality that they sensed was coming to California, they purposely masked the faith-driven reason they were entering this fight. NOM's very first interoffice document talked about its work with Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, led with statements from the Pope, and framed the debate around the supposed threat that civil equality poses to Catholic institutions. However, these NOM founders didn't want the public to know that their conservative Catholic beliefs were at the heart of their advocacy because they wanted to dupe people into believing that something other than theology was at the heart of their engagement. They chose the innocuous sounding name because they wanted to sound like their arguments were perfectly sound, completely non-partisan, and constitutionally-grounded counterparts to the civil rights arguments of the marriage equality movement. They knew that they needed to build a broad coalition, and these NOM founders knew that seeming like they were something other than a Catholic group driven by that very specific viewpoint would be a better way to go about this.

For 6+ years now, those of us who fight for civil equality in the realm in which it should be contested (i.e. the civil law arena that's detached from personal faith) have had to dignify a national organization's personal opinions about our morality, as if those conversations are two sides of the same coin. It's completely unfair to force everyone who lives, loves, and pays taxes under the laws of this government to square off against certain religious views to which only some of us choose to subscribe, but that is exactly what we've had to do when squaring off the opposition movement. Now that NOM is more fully embracing its religious root, hopefully those of us who do want to continue the practical conversation about constitutional rather than canonical law can experience a more honest debate.

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