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07/20/2009

We know NOM's goal of inequality is a 'cold feat.' But why the latest bout of cold feet?

by Jeremy Hooper

We're not sure why, exactly, NOM deleted the following post. But after promoting it via twitter...

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...they did abruptly remove it from their site:

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So just in case there is some sort of unsavory reason (beyond their discrimination, of course) we thought it was best to save an archival copy. Check it out for yourself and see if anything (beyond their discrimination, of course) stands out:

Dear Friend of Marriage,

Three national polls now confirm an astonishing truth: Support for gay marriage is not growing. Strong majorities continue to oppose gay marriage.

As Maggie Gallagher recently told the press: “Three recent polls (Pew, Gallup and CBS News/NYT) confirm that strong majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage, despite the recent push for gay marriage in Iowa and the northeast. Strong majorities of Republicans and independents oppose gay marriage according to the latest Pew poll. Even 41 percent of Democrats oppose gay marriage. Our challenge–and it’s an exciting one–is to build an organization that helps translate public opinion into an effective political force, one that helps the views of ordinary Americans get heard here on Capitol Hill and across the country.” (You can find links to all three polls at the bottom of this letter.)

Do you realize how revolutionary this news is? These polls turns the conventional wisdom on its head. Gay marriage is inevitable, “they” say, and the media trumpet; there are no arguments against it.

But the truth is very different: After six years of public scrutiny and debate, gay-marriage advocates have failed to persuade the American people. (Help us get the word out! Send this good news to three of your friends.)

And that’s in spite of the mainstream media, in spite of the recent court decision, in spite of the massive top-down push to ram gay marriage through blue-state legislatures in New England.

Through it all, the truth shines out. Americans know the difference between hatred and common sense, between the evil of bigotry and the profound good of marriage. Between two dudes, however lovingly committed to each other, and a man who is willing to take on the responsibility of becoming husband to a wife and their children.

Facts are stubborn things. Maybe you have already heard about the big joint statement by Equality California and two other gay rights groups: They will not try to get an amendment overturning Prop 8 on the ballot in 2010. They urge other gay-marriage supporters to abandon the attempt. Why? Because they are afraid they will lose.

According to the LA Times, Ron Buckmire, president of one of the groups which signed the joint statement, said he made his decision after his group went door to door to talk to voters about same-sex marriage in South Los Angeles. “It was a huge success. We had 70 volunteers, working for five hours, knocked on 1,200 doors,” he said. And yet after that massive effort, how many hearts and minds were they able to change? Just 50 people, Buckmire said. “Do the math.”

Even in the bluest of blue states like California, the American people just don’t buy this gay marriage thing.

The Supreme Court looms ever larger in the mind of the gay-marriage movement, a movement dedicated to imposing their values whether we like it or not.

So this week in Washington, I paid special attention, as hearings with Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor wrapped up.

In public, Judge Sotomayor was channeling her inner Scalia. She’s having no truck with any living constitution. That constitution is dead, written in stone, as far as she’s concerned. All she does is apply the law to the facts.

But Judge Sotomayor suddenly clammed up at the oddest moments. Sen. Chuck Grassley raised the issue of DOMA. And then Sen. Lindsey Graham tried to get her to say something, anything, about how she and the Supreme Court should decide what is a “fundamental right.” Graham pointed out the disparity: Ask the good judge about, say, “stare decisis” and she can ramble on at length. Ask her how the Supreme Court decides what a “fundamental right” is… and suddenly she can’t say anything at all?

Judge Sotomayor wasn’t going to say anything at all that might clue the American people in to her views.

As NOM president Maggie Gallagher told the press, “By refusing to answer basic questions about her views of the Constitution, Judge Sotomayor is not displaying the kind of honesty we expect from judges. All Americans who support marriage as the union of husband and wife–and every American who treasures democracy and freedom–has reason to be concerned.”

Kudos to Senators Grassley and Graham for raising the marriage issue. It’s probably the single most important case Judge Sotomayor is likely to influence in our lifetime. And remember: The Supreme Court reads election returns. (To help us fight to protect marriage, can you give as little as $5 a month? Or, if a one-time donation is easier, we can use any help you can give us–$10, $20, $250, whatever you can spare–to amplify your voice in Washington and around the country.)

I had my first quintessential Washington moment this week. I was sitting actually in a smoke-filled room (literally! cigars!) talking on the phone about the harassment and intimidation people who speak up for marriage face. The guy sitting next to me, a distinguished-looking man of 70 years or so, says to me, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing you. Can I talk to you about this marriage thing?”

I move over to chat. I explain why marriage matters–it’s a universal human social institution, necessary in a way that no other relationship is. When a baby is born, I tell him, there’s bound to be a mother somewhere close by, but marriage is how we attach the father to the mother-child bond, so we can make sure men live up to our responsibilities in family and in society.

That struck a big chord. “You are right,” he said, “Men are promiscuous.” (That’s his words, not mine!) “Thank you,” he tells me, “I never heard that argument before; that makes a lot of sense.”

Meanwhile, this being a Washington scene, every now and again we were interrupted by folks who wanted to say a few words to my new friend. I couldn’t help noticing that they kept addressing him as “Congressman.”

“I’m a Democrat,” he told me. “I’m not going to vote with you on most things, but this gay marriage thing… maybe that goes too far.”

Truth is powerful. The only way they can win is if they succeed in silencing and intimidating us. Thank you so much for all you do to encourage and help me–and all of us here at NOM–fight for marriage.

A final note of good news. Next week, I believe marriage forces will be announcing a huge victory in Maine: The people will get a chance to repeal the gay-marriage bill rammed through the legislature this spring. The gay-marriage juggernaut has been halted in its tracks in Maine (thanks to your help!) and the people will decide the future of marriage this November.

And right out of the box, the press is reporting that marriage advocates are taking a fundraising lead. It’s a broad coalition, Stand for Marriage Maine, with many players. But we are very, very proud to announce that thanks to your help, NOM has played a key role in pulling together a big chunk of early money to make this happen–$160,000 so far. As the Bangor Daily News put it, “The National Organization for Marriage in New Jersey, which helped defeat a gay marriage movement in California, chipped in another $160,000.”

This is great news! But it’s just the beginning. If we want really good news to come out of Maine, we’ll need your help–all the help you can give us. We’ll need your prayers, your vocal support, and your financial sacrifices. I know these are tough times… but we have tough battles ahead. Whether you can spare $5 or $500, we will work to turn your money into more positive, pro-marriage headlines.

We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated. Be not afraid! Common sense and kindness endures.

We will never ever be afraid to stand up for God’s truth about marriage, or for the children who deserve a world where grownups dare to speak truth to power: Marriage is about drawing together men and women in love to make the future happen.

God’s blessings upon you and your family–for your friendship and courage and common sense in standing up for marriage.

Until next week, my friend,

Brian S. Brown
Executive Director
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
bbrown[at]nationformarriage[dot]org

**UPDATE/21: It's now up on their site without any changes to the copy. So it's still a mystery why it was initially pulled.

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Your thoughts

I notice they dont actually link to these polls supporting them, why could that be?

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jul 20, 2009 11:34:43 AM

Maybe the Congressman part? Whether its made up or not it sounds completely ridiculous! I like their rallying call though, "We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated. Be not afraid! Common sense and kindness endures."

Posted by: Joe | Jul 20, 2009 11:36:27 AM

Also:
"Maybe you have already heard about the big joint statement by Equality California and two other gay rights groups: They will not try to get an amendment overturning Prop 8 on the ballot in 2010. They urge other gay-marriage supporters to abandon the attempt. Why? Because they are afraid they will lose. "

What the hell did they think the bigots would make of their cowardice? And are these the same people who ran the miserable prop-8 campaign? if they're not screwing things up gay marriage might win by a landslide.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jul 20, 2009 11:37:21 AM

I'm betting they took it down because Brian Brown CLEARLY pulled the story about the Congressman out of his ass, and somebody pointed out that there were a lot of people out there that would love to catch him in a lie. That kind of thing just doesn't happen in DC, though I'm sure Brian "Overcompensation" Brown genuinely believes that Congressmen and women give a shit what he thinks, so it would be an easy lie for him to make.

Posted by: SB | Jul 20, 2009 11:41:10 AM

I too think it's the supposed exchange with the congressman. For someone who knew where Brian was last week, it wouldn't be all that difficult to track down the lawmaker to whom he is referring. And if he's misrepping the conversation, it could be actionable.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 20, 2009 11:46:36 AM

Maybe they took the post down because the math they quote indicates California gay marriage is going to win next time.

Here's my math:

I googled the Prop 8 tally and found 52.1% Yes / 47.9% No. Out of 1,200 voters, that means 625 Yes votes, and 575 No votes - a margin of 50 people (or 4.2 percentage points).

So if Mr. Buckmire's volunteers were able to change 50 votes, and if that trend were to be extrapolated across the entire state (both are fairly large assumptions), that would mean adopting gay marriage by the same margin that defeated it.

I just hope Mr. Buckmire's groups didn't give up because 4.2% didn't seem like a big number - in this case, it's just big enough.

Posted by: DN | Jul 20, 2009 11:50:28 AM

"The guy sitting next to me, a distinguished-looking man of 70 years or so ..”
...
“You are right,” he said, “Men are promiscuous.” (That’s his words, not mine!) “Thank you,” he tells me, “I never heard that argument before; that makes a lot of sense.”

Wow! Shocking! He managed to convince a seventy-yearoldster that his ingrained prejudice could be justified by using stupid, insipid, and simplistic nonsense.

But I really like that he further touts the lie from Magaglagher that "strong majorities" of republicans and independents (which in truth total to a slight minority of total voters) is by some godly measure, a victory. They really do depend on the gullibility of their supporters.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 20, 2009 12:04:47 PM

Where is the "big joint statement" they refer to? Equality California's website states that they are committed to a ballot measure in 2010, and a scroll through their press releases has no mention of waiting until 2012. True, some groups want to push for a measure in 2012, but I don't believe Equality California has. (Nor do I believe they should; Nate Silver predicts that a marriage ban in 2010 would fail in California, and there's no reason to think that the same couldn't be said of a marriage un-ban.)
If I am missing something here please let me know.

Posted by: Absoludicrous91 | Jul 20, 2009 12:22:20 PM


Besides being a poorly written piece of rambling trash, it may have been pulled because their hyperbole is coming full circle and approaching the truth. For example, "Through it all, the truth shines out. Americans know the difference between hatred and common sense, between the evil of bigotry and the profound good of marriage."

Now that doesn't sound that bad at all.

Or even, "Marriage is about drawing together men and women in love to make the future happen."

Of course the singular/plural mismatch of "(That’s his words, not mine!)" or "...that strong majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage,...." jumped off the page at me.

But, in the end, you're probably correct that the congressman reference is what did it.

db

Posted by: dave b. | Jul 20, 2009 12:37:52 PM

It's this particular line that I cant believe Brian Brown is throwing around:

"Through it all, the truth shines out. Americans know the difference between hatred and common sense, between the evil of bigotry and the profound good of marriage."

Is he kidding? Has he suddenly had a change of heart and is now counted as one of our supporters? Is he that blind that he cant see the hypocrisy in this statement?

This sentence, to me at any rate, is the sort fo thing that G-A-Y, JMG and others have been saying all along. Isn't that really what we are talking about?

The 'hatred' seems to come mainly from their camp.

I cant see much 'common sense' in any of their arguments.

The bigotry that I have seen expressed in a whole raft of press releases from NOM and their ilk have left me astounded.

And surely, the push that the same sex side is undertaking for the recognition of our relationships in the institution of marriage shows how much some gay folk treasure that arrangement and right.

Why is it (to use their own style of words) that they cannot see the plank in their own eye?

Posted by: Greg | Jul 20, 2009 7:59:07 PM

I'm a staffer with Equality California. Just wanted to quickly clear the confusion.

We did not sign onto the Prepare to Prevail statement to which NOM refers (http://www.preparetoprevail.com/). The three lead organizations behind this statement are API Equality-LA, the Jordan/Rustin Coalition and Honor PAC. Other organizations that signed the letter are listed on their site. We do work in coalition with many of the organizations. We value their perspectives and are taking them heavily into consideration.

EQCA is ramping up its field efforts across the state, with 18 full-time field organizers placed predominantly in counties that had a majority of "yes" votes on Prop 8. We are fully committed to winning marriage back and are busy doing the hard work on the ground to make it happen.

When the community is ready to go back to the ballot, we will be a part of those efforts. We are gathering all the information and opinions we can gather -- from political consultants, other LGBT organizations and leaders, community members and donors -- to inform this decision. We are also tracking the impact of our field efforts and gleaning all we can from polling data.

Two recent blog posts from Marc Solomon, our Marriage Director, give the details of our current position on when to go back to the ballot: http://ca-ripple-effect.blogspot.com/2009/07/going-back-to-ballotupdate-from-marc.html; http://ca-ripple-effect.blogspot.com/2009/07/going-back-to-ballot-top-political.html.

Please post if you have other questions for EQCA; I'll check back.

Warm Regards,

Jay Davis
Online Community Director, EQCA

Posted by: Jay Davis | Jul 20, 2009 10:25:44 PM

Thanks for commenting, Jay. I can't imagine that this misrepresentation is the reason why NOM pulled this piece, but it's interesting to make of it nonetheless.

Also funny that they would make the misrepresentation immediately after saying, "facts are stubborn things." Why yes, Brian -- yes they are.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 20, 2009 10:33:59 PM

Greg: Yea, that line is particularly egregious. NOM is working desperately to change the tone of this debate. They want to seize upon our language and (mis)apply it to their discriminatory cause, acting as if they are the sun rather than the storm clouds (which we quite literally saw in their first ad spot).

The problem, of course? Our nice-sounding language comes out because our movement is, you guessed it: nice and peaceful. NOM and allied organizations act as if this equality fight is all a game, with code words ruling the day. But for us, it's not play-acting: it's LIFE. And it's easy for us to stand up for the same. We don't have to pass our language through a think tank or workshop the proper terms: All we have to do is speak our hearts.

So when pushing for ugly bias, they will NEVER be able to co-opt our loving, truthful, heartfelt language! Their goal is fundamentally different.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 20, 2009 10:40:58 PM

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