Racial Strategies of the National Organization for Marriage Revealed
With all the disclosures in recent months regarding the backroom hidden strategies of the ultra conservative and religious right, I feel at times numbed by it all. I am sure most of you are familiar with ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate-sponsored lobbying group whose push for “stand your ground” gun laws and voter ID legislation swarmed the media last year.
There is the 4-page memo from the PR firm Clark, Lytle, Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of its clients – the American Banking Association release late last year by MSNBC which details a very specific 5 phase plan to destroy the Occupy Movement and to save Republican election candidates from losing this November because of their ties to big banks as well as detailing their covert plans to take the White House from the Democrats.
However, there is one relatively new story that makes one’s hair stand up on end.
Back in March of this year a federal judge in Maine unsealed memos from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) which is one of the nation’s most prominent organizations fighting gay marriage. The documents were part of discovery in a case filed regarding NOM’s lack of proper disclosure of donors.
The documents detail their “crucial” role in the passage of Proposition 8, California’s now infamous ban on same sex marriage that was overturned by a federal appeals court and is still awaiting final disposition, likely at the hands of the United States Supreme Court. The documents detail the organizations use of robo calls to intimidate residents in other states into dropping their support for marital equality for gays. They talk of painting President Obama in a negative light and of plans to “expose Obama as a social radical”.
However, of most concern (and shock) are portions of the document detailing their strategies along racial and ethnic lines.
One memo, NOM Deposition Exhibit 3: “National Strategy for Winning Marriage Battle” dated August 11, 2009 details their plans to develop strategies disrupting Hispanic assimilation into American mainstream culture.
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be even more so in the future because of demographic growth. Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity. [emphasis added]
The memos detail plans to use resources outside the United States to support what they call “The Latino Plan: A Pan-American Strategy:
“We aim to identify young Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers, and other celebrities willing to stand for marriage, regardless of national boundaries. … Here our insight: The number of ‘glamorous’ people willing to buck the powerful forces to speak for marriage may be small in any one country. But by searching for these leaders across national boundaries we will assemble a community of next generation Latino leaders that Hispanics and other next generation elites in this country can aspire to be like. (As ‘ethnic rebels’ such spokesmen will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially t young urbans in America). … Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”
The memos also detail plans to create racial and ethnic division in the USA to further their goals speaking first of using African-Americans as leverage against Democrats:
“The majority of African-Americans, like the majority of Americans, oppose gay marriage, but Democratic power bosses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans. A strategic goal of this project is to amplify the voice and power of black Americans within the Democratic Party. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokepeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right. No politician wants to take and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
Another memo, NOM Deposition Exhibit 28: “National Strategy for Winning Marriage Battle” details their “Next Generation Project” aimed at creating racial and ethnic division as well as creating division along racial lines with gays.
“The Latino Project [which] will also help us in building a community that can reach out to the next generation of other Americans….The Strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and black – two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”
NOM Deposition Exhibit 25: ” National Organization for Marriage Board Update 2008-2009″ goes on to add:
“Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unaccetably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
Although I have seen very little on NOM and these memos online, there does seem to be a lot of buzz within some circles over their importance. The Human Rights Campaign’s outgoing leader, Joe Solmonese, noted: “Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is”. He went on to note that “Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African-Americans or Hispanics.”
After learning of the content of the documents, Dr. Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, released the following statment:
“NOM’s underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination. Pitting bigotry’s victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together.”
In early April, the Newark Star Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper wrote in an editorial on NOM that:
“It is sick beyond words that a group to ‘save’ marriage would exploit racial and ethnic divisions, stir intolerance and fear, and even rip families apart by pitting children against parents. In their self-described ‘battle,’ they come across as the biggest losers of all.”
So what do you think the Republican response has been? Well, to begin the day after the memos became public, National Organization for Marriage’s co-founder and chairman emeritus, Robert George, was appointed by John Boehner, the Republican House speaker, to a United States commission focused on addressing religious intolerance and extremism around the globe. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all publicly aligned themselves with the group and signed its pledge to work aggressively from the White House against same-sex marriage.
Now that NOM’s poisonous and racist strategy has been revealed one would expect Romney and other key members of the GOP to make their disapproval clear.
However, we are still waiting to hear a word………