National anti-gay marriage group seeks to divide

Posted March 27, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage has long insisted that the need for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions in NC is "not about politics." 

Confidential internal strategy documents unsealed today in a court case in Maine seem to contradict that. 

The document, available here, is an internal report to NOM's board from 2009, detailing the group's political strategies in a number of states.

Most striking is the report's description of the group's "Not A Civil Right Project," which, according to the report, played a key role in California's passage of Proposition 8 in 2008. 

"The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two Key Democratic constituencies,” says the report.

“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 report instructs. “No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.” 

NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher defended the memo to WRAL this evening. 

"The people who are driving the wedge in this issue are white liberals who are not paying attention to the wishes of African American voters," Gallagher said.

And what's the explanation for directing activists to "provoke the gay marriage base" to call African Americans "bigots"?  

"By having people say that they do not support gay marriage," Gallagher said. "That’s the only provocation we meant." 

Jeremy Kennedy with anti-amendment group Protect All NC Families wasn't surprised to read it in black and white. "It's right in line with what we've seen" from NOM over the years, Kennedy said.

"But I think it's a shameful strategy," he added. "The only way for them to push this divisive measure is by dividing people, and that's completely opposite of what we've done as a coalition, which is to bring together people."

Kennedy's coalition includes some 120 groups, including the state NAACP. 

Meantime, Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis told WRAL today he expects that if the Marriage Amendment passes, it'll be repealed within 20 years. Gay marriage debate, same-sex marriage Tillis: One generation wants marriage vote, next may likely reverse it

Tillis was a chief supporter of the amendment in the House, even voting for it, which is unusual for a Speaker -  they generally refrain from voting unless they believe a vote will be close.

At the time, Tillis said the amendment was needed to "protect marriage from being re-defined" by activist judges. Today, he said he expects the electorate, not judges, will redefine it by 2032 anyway.

"I think it's a generational thing," Tillis explained, addding that he supports the amendment and its presence on the ballot. "But if you take a look at demographic trends," Tillis said, "I would expect that you would see pressure going in the opposite direction 20 years from now."  

Still, he said, he thinks the current amendment is appropriate. "This generation and the majority of people today seem to be interested in having the question asked and then voted by the people."

Tillis also confessed to some philosophical issues with the amendment.

"We're the party of limited government," Tillis told WRAL today. "We're in the majority now. And so there are a number of things that we can do that we haven't been able to do in the past." 

But, he said, "We always have to be mindful of the appropriateness of government expanding to control people's lives - even if it's for something that we personally support." 

Kennedy said Tillis's newly nuanced position is more proof that the measure is overly restrictive and unnecessary. 

"Same sex marriage is already illegal in this state. This amendment does nothing to change that. Whether this passes or fails, that won't change," Kennedy said. "But what will happen is there will be children that lose their health care, domestic violence laws that will be put in jeopardy, and there are real harms that this amendment will cause to people, all in the name of family values."


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  • driverkid3 Mar 31, 2012

    Is it even the tiniest bit understandable that a group of people other than African Americans can have their civil rights stomped on and denied? Everyone is at risk for being denied for one reason or another. Come ON, people.

    I don't think it's my job or my business to tell ANYONE who they can or can't marry. There little chance in this world that a gay man or woman will have a successful and/or satisfying marriage with someone that isn't gay. I have been married, divorced now, and have no intention of ever doing that again. However, this affects me too. If I want to live with a man and leave every thing I own in this world to him, it's nobody's business but ours. I think everyone needs to read this bill and understand it word for word before they go running out to vote on it. I will NOT deny anyone the rights that I enjoy as a hetero woman, I don't think anyone should be able to do that.

  • johnnguyen24 Mar 31, 2012

    Robert George, founder of NOM, just was appointed to the US Commission for International Religious Freedom. NOM’s talking points, arguments and strategies come from this man, who calls for the arrest and imprisonment and promoting bigotry of LGBT people. If you believe NOM’s tactics are reprehensible, please take the time to fill out this petition on the White House’s webpage condemning the appointment of Robert George. He will use this official US government position as a platform to spread vitriol against LGBT people globally. Pass the word along and post where you it is appropriate.


  • matthewwood007 Mar 29, 2012

    Just what we need, religious men who dont have wives, or family telling us the proper way to live. Or, religious men who will not allow women into positions of authority doing the same. This is a fear based way to drive conservative values voters, thats all. Next thing you know they will be deconstruction Womnes rights and progressive era legislation that created the midle class....oops to lat!!!

  • NC Dawg Mar 29, 2012

    NOM isn't a hate group. An organization, or any person for that matter, who doesn't agree with redefining marriage suddenly becomes a hate group, a bigot, or racist, etc...

    Tolerance, huh?

  • elcid liked Ike Mar 28, 2012

    "Very disappointing WRAL. Instead of reporting BOTH sides, your focus and slant continues far left."

    There is nothing to report on the other side. Proponents haven't hidden the identity of their donors. They haven't engaged in coordinated PR campaigns shoveling out disinformation (as NOM did in California), etc.

    Contrast that with NOM. Despite trying to depict itself as a grassroots movement, better than 90% of NOM's funding comes from just 5 donors, and NOM has gone to court, repeatedly, in attempts to keep the identity of those donors hidden. Common wisdom suggests that its primary benefactors are the LDS Church and Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus. It stepped into a mess it likely won't be able to extricate itself from in Maine, which has strong financial disclosure laws and where a court will likely order NOM to release their identities. Once that happens, it's all over for NOM.

  • groovysus Mar 28, 2012

    @alyssefpc, NOM put themselves in this position. You ask that WRAL post internal strategy memos from the other side--well, they don't exist! The NOM is a hate group. They seek to divide the nation in an effort to support their bigoted view and here's the proof.
    I'd like to know how a gay couple marrying affects straight marriage. If someone really is pro-marriage then shouldn't their focus be on preventing divorce?
    Love is hard to find and should be encouraged.

  • NC Dawg Mar 28, 2012

    There is no "Amendment One". It's the "Marriage Protection Amendment". That's what's on the ballot.

  • NC Dawg Mar 28, 2012

    Very disappointing WRAL. Instead of reporting BOTH sides, your focus and slant continues far left. Your headline begins the spin. You're not reporting news, you're writing editorials.
    Excellent comment @alyssefpc!

  • alyssefpc Mar 28, 2012

    I am very disappointed at WRAL. This story is once again very biased toward LGBT activists on the marriage amendment. If WRAL is going to spend the time and resources looking for internal strategy documents from NOM, then the only fair thing to do would be to find some internal strategy documents from the other side, the anti marriage amendment side, and do a story on what they are doing to redefine marriage in our state. Now THAT would be news.

  • elcid liked Ike Mar 28, 2012

    The next important piece of information to come out of this case in Maine will be the identification of NOM's donors, which it has moved heaven and earth to keep anonymous.