The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) outlined a plan to defeat same-sex marriage initiatives and aimed to create tension among the Democratic Party by driving a wedge between African Americans and the gay community, according to an internal memo released on Monday.
The memo was contained in a collection of the organization's internal documents unsealed by a federal judge on Monday, which were quickly published online by the Human Rights Campaign. The documents were unsealed early that afternoon as part of an investigation by the State of Maine into the campaign finance activities of its local NOM chapter.
The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots... reads page 13 of the organization's confidential 2008-2009 report to the NOM Board of Directors.
The memo suggests that the strategy was inspired by successful efforts to outlaw California's same-sex initiative in 2008. It also suggests that the organization push for a marriage amendment in Washington, D.C., and find attractive young Black Democrats who can challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.
The same section, described under the heading Internationalizing the Marriage issue: A Pan-American strategy outlines a plan to win the Latino vote by making marriage a key part of the Latino identity to keep those individuals from assimilating to the dominant Anglo culture.
We seek to identify glamorous Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities, willing to stand for marriage, regardless of national boundaries, reads the memo. Develop Spanish language radio and TV ads in an appropriate range of dialects, develop pamphlets, YouTube videos, church handouts for Spanish speaking people and create a template that can be used abroad.
Another passage from page 12 of that same report outlines NOM's 2 to 3 year plan to take back control of the New Hampshire and Iowa state Legislatures since they are the first to lead off the presidential primaries. Moreover, it specifically says the organization will make strong and vocal support for marriage a requirement to gaining the presidential nomination in 2012.
It seems that NOM was successful on that front. Last year Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all signed NOM's pledge to deny gay and lesbian Americans the ability to marry via defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, appointing anti-gay marriage judges, and appointing an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution.
Effort Designed To Portray Obama As A Social Radical
In order to sideswipe President Obama, the NOM document said it would expose Obama as a social radical by putting national attention on issues unrelated to marriage, such as pornography, the protection of children and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level.
Some of the other strategies discussed by NOM include fostering a closer relationship with Catholic bishops as a means of energizing and moralizing Catholic priests on the marriage issue, focusing on the consequences of gay marriage for parental rights and exposing Obama administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children or threatening childhood innocence.
In a statement, NOM President Brian S. Brown said the institution is proud of the work it has done with minority groups in defense of traditional marriage and insisted that same-sex marriage is not a civil right.
Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false, he said. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.
NOM is organized as a nonprofit social welfare organization, meaning it does not have to disclose the identity of its donors. However, Maine law requires any individual or group that raises or spends more than $5,000 to influence a ballot question vote to disclose the names of donors who gave more than $100 toward that purpose. The state ethics commission launched an investigation into NOM for failing to make those disclosures during a 2009 ballot fight regarding same-sex marriage.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...