Anti-Gay Marriage NOM Documents Reveal Racial Wedge Strategy and More

The National Organization for Marriage’s steadfast refusal to abide by financial disclosure laws has had the unintended effect of opening a door into its strategies. Internal NOM planning and fundraising documents from 2009 – gathered as part of Maine’s investigation of the group’s campaign finance practices – were released yesterday afternoon. HRC posted them online.

For those who follow NOM, the documents aren’t particularly surprising, as we have witnessed their plans being put into operation over the past few years. But there is still something remarkable about seeing their strategies – including racial wedge politics – laid out so clearly, as well as NOM’s taking credit for passage of Prop 8 in California and the anti-marriage initiative in Maine.

Included in the documents, which include several versions of a fundraising plan for a $20 million victory campaign, and a 2008-2009 update to the board, are now-familiar invocations of religious liberty.

“Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church.” NOM says it will use its “close relationships with Catholic bishops to equip, energize, and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue.”

The documents describe NOM’s “Not a Civil Right” project this way:

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.

It also includes an international Latino strategy built on identifying “glamorous” anti-marriage-equality spokespeople from across Latin America to “interrupt the process of assimilation” to pro-gay values and make “support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.”

The documents also make it clear that NOM is acting locally but thinking and planning globally, spelling out plans to attack marriage equality and “export NOM’s successful model” to Europe and Latin America: “Marriage needs to be a national (and ultimately international) effort, not just a local or regional issue,” says one document. One refers to an “International Organization for Marriage” and says, “The movement for gay marriage is global. The counterrevolution protecting marriage needs to have a similar reach. We need to take what we have learned about winning marriage battles in the US and assist groups fighting marriage battles in other nations.”

President Obama is explicitly targeted, and his defeat in 2012 is noted as a requirement for victory on the marriage front. Among the strategies of its American Principles Project: “Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist base of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level.”

You can find the docs at HRC’s Backstory blog here – and Think Progress’s first take here.

 

Peter Montgomery, an associate editor for Religion Dispatches, is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way Foundation where he was on staff for 15 years. Before that he was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause and wrote for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.