(This article originally appeared on the GLAAD blog. GLAAD is a content-sharing partner with SDGLN.)
It sounds like a headline from the Onion, but strategy documents uncovered yesterday, from the nation's most prominent anti-gay marriage group, the National Organization for Marriage (found by the Human Rights Campaign), reveal a novel approach to convincing Americans to vote against marriage equality: recruit glamorous but unintelligent celebrities. (p.19/20)
"Hollywood with its cultural biases is far bigger than we can hope to be. We recognize this. But we also recognize the opportunity - the disproportionate potential impact of proactively seeking to gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous non-cognitive elites across national boundaries. (This is applying the Witherspoon and IAV model to non-intellectual elites.)"
Media including the New York Times today have been covering NOM's active interest in "fanning the hostility" (p.12) between the LGBT community and the Black and Latino communities. Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond today called NOM's tactics "reprehensible."
GLAAD responded to NOM's approach to "recruit glamorous but unintelligent celebrities":
"Celebrity or not and 'cognitive' or not, given how cynically NOM views its supporters, who would want to stand with them and support their agenda?" said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s Vice President of Programs and Communications.
In 2009, NOM released an ad featuring then Miss California Carrie Prejean, whose infamous statements against marriage equality during the nationally televised Miss USA pageant may typify the group's search for "glamorous non-cognitive" spokespeople. NOM later distanced itself from her.
These documents, unsealed as a part of a court case NOM is fighting in Maine also reveal that the anti-LGBT group has been actively interested in – as they say – "fanning the hostility" (p.12) between the LGBT community and the black community, and also revealed that NOM has been attempting to turn Latino families against marriage equality by framing the LGBT movement as part of – in their words – “assimilation.”
NOM is the most well-represented group on GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project (#glaadCAP), with five associated figures (Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, Christopher Plante, Jennifer Roback Morse, Robert George) among those anti-LGBT activists with profiles. And now we know that they refer to their own supporters as "non-intellectual."