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NOM documents expose strategy to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” over marriage

WASHINGTON – A series of internal strategy documents marked “confidential” outline the National Organization for Marriage’s multi-year plan to stop marriage equality in the United States.

The documents were released late Monday by a court in Maine, where NOM successfully led a repeal of marriage equality and where NOM lost a court battle trying to keep its donor list secret from the public. Ironically, Maine voters will reconsider its marriage vote during the November presidential election.

The "smoking gun" papers were obtained by various organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

In one of the documents titled “NOM Deposition Exhibit 25: National Organization for Marriage Board Update 2008-2009” these explosive passages appear:

“The strategic goal … 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 …

“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity -- a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

“Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said today. “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.”

The documents detail NOM’s goals, including “2010 Priority: Roll Back Gay Marriage in New Hampshire, Iowa, and D.C.” and “keeping gay marriage controversial in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.” Marriage equality has in fact not been rolled back in either of these states or D.C.

In NOM Deposition Exhibit 12, the group notes that it plans to spend $100,000 on a “study of what schools are teaching in gay marriage/civil union regimes.”

"These documents confirm my worst beliefs about NOM's cynical politicking,” said Jeremy Hooper, editor and publisher of Good As You and NOM Exposed partner. “It's hard to find joy in such divisive political games, but I'm certainly glad we know NOM's hurtful plans now before more folks are hurt.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, found the documents useful to supporters of marriage equality.

“In its anti-gay crusade to block the freedom to marry, NOM has spent years working to drive wedges within communities across the nation, all the while claiming it does not ’hate’ anyone, gay or non-gay. Now exposure of NOM’s own strategy memos confirms that NOM will stop at nothing to push its agenda, pitting American against American, minority against minority, family members against family members," Wolfson said.

“NOM’s wedge-strategy memos detail its campaign to funnel money to a handful of African-American clergy in order to attack gay couples and, appallingly, discredit the strong and clear voice of those African-American civil rights champions, such as John Lewis, Julian Bond and Coretta Scott King, who have stood up for the freedom to marry and the equal civil rights of all people, including gay people of color. These smoking-gun documents show how NOM has sought, in the most cynical ways imaginable, to bait the gay community in hopes of provoking a hurt response that would further divide, all in furtherance of the ugly and cruel anti-gay agenda," he said.

“NOM’s secret memos describe its intention to ‘interrupt [Latinos’] process of assimilation’ by ‘making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity’ and ‘seek to identify glamorous young Latino and Latina leaders’ to reject equal protection for their own family members who are gay. And all of this to be done, fueled by NOM’s shadowy secret funders, in the name of religion -- in flagrant contempt of the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated. Despicable," Wolfson said.

“Happily, even as NOM works to sow division and falsehood, we’ve seen the majority for marriage grow, as more Americans hear from their friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers about why marriage matters to gay people, their kids and their kin. And while NOM has worked to generate and showcase anti-gay animosity in communities of color, all of America’s communities have moved in support of the freedom to marry, thanks to the gay and non-gay people of color and others who have talked from the heart about why marriage matters," he said.

Read the NOM documents


NOM National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle



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