10 Things You Should Know About the Beleaguered National Organization for Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has suffered a great many defeats recently.  The group was founded in 2007 to help pass Proposition 8, California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. However, now that the issue of marriage appears to be on a one-way path toward nationwide equality in America, NOM has expanded its war against basic civil rights and human dignity to touch virtually all aspects of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

What’s more, NOM has begun exporting its personal brand of anti-LGBT advocacy abroad, working with governments around the world to pass legislation targeting LGBT people for unfair treatment under the law.  NOM’s mission and work have changed over the years; take a look at 10 things you might not have known about the organization:

1.     NOM uses racially motivated tactics as part of its official strategy. From the group’s internal memos: “The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies.” They’ve also tried to make opposition to equality a “key badge” of Latino identity in yet another attempt to divide.

2.     NOM thinks businesses like grocery stores, restaurants and hotels should be able to deny service to LGBT customers if they believe LGBT people are immoral.

3.     NOM’s Brian Brown says LGBT advocates are “bullies” and has compared the “persecution” he faces to that of Jesus Christ.

4.     NOM pushes discredited and harmful “conversion therapy,” even though practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country.

5.     NOM’s Brian Brown says families headed by gay and lesbian parents aren’t “normal,” and he even traveled to Russia to support a draconian bill banning adoption by same-sex couples.

6.     Though NOM tries to portray itself as a grassroots organization, they aren’t. In reality, NOM is primarily funded by a few large donors who hide behind a wall of secrecy.

7.     NOM is so hell-bent on operating secretly; the organization is willing to break the law to avoid exposing its deep pockets.  In May the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted to fine NOM to the tune of over $50,000 after a four-year investigation exposed “a significant violation of law” by the national anti-LGBT organization.

8.     This isn’t about partisan politics. In 2014, facing a string of legal defeats, NOM has decided that the best use of its remaining funds is to attack Republicans just for being pro-equality.

9.     NOM hosted a rally and invited speakers who likened the marriage equality movement to slavery, and other terrible comparisons.

10.  NOM is losing support and donors fast as more people stand up for civil rights and against discrimination. Maybe that’s why Brian Brown is travelling all over the world looking for countries more hostile to equality and more open to NOM’s outdated views.


Source: HRC Blog, “10 Things You Should Know About the Beleaguered National Organization for Marriage,” October 22, 2014 by HRC staff

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