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An anti-gay-marriage group's 'extremist' strategy: 4 revelations
According to leaked memos, the National Organization for Marriage planned to use "callous" racial politics to divide its liberal rivals
 
A rally led by the National Organization for Marriage: The anti-gay-marriage group has tried to drive a wedge between gays and blacks, according to leaked memos.
A rally led by the National Organization for Marriage: The anti-gay-marriage group has tried to drive a wedge between gays and blacks, according to leaked memos.
CC BY: Fibonacci Blue

Leaked internal memos from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the nation's leading anti-gay-marriage organizations, reveal that the group has been trying to divide liberals by stirring up minority opposition to same-sex marriage. Gay rights supporters say the documents, which date to 2008 and 2009, show that NOM is "callous and extremist," but NOM President Brian Brown says his group has merely tried to "bring together people of different races, creeds and colors" to fight for traditional marriage. What exactly is in the controversial memos? Here, four key revelations:

1. NOM wants to drive a wedge between blacks and gays
Liberals contend that denying gay couples the right to marry violates their civil rights. NOM's "Not a Civil Right Project" is designed to erode support for that argument, specifically by "[driving] a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies," as one of the memos says. Noting that California's gay marriage ban — Proposition 8 — passed with strong support from African-American voters, the memo calls for "fanning the hostility," recruiting blacks to oppose same-sex marriage, and provoking "the gay marriage base into... denouncing these spokesmen... as bigots."

2. NOM hopes to recruit Latinos, too
One document discusses efforts to get Latino celebrities, including a former Miss Mexico, to serve as spokespeople. NOM also hired a PR firm to spearhead a Latino outreach effort involving everything from TV ads to songs to YouTube videos. "Our ultimate goal," the memo says, "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." That "seems particularly rich given the Right's usual attitude toward Latino immigrants who refuse to assimilate," says Michelle Goldberg at The Daily Beast.

3. It strives to cast President Obama as a "social radical"
Achieving NOM's goals "will require electing a pro-marriage president in 2012," one of the memos says, so the group has a plan for defeating, or "sideswiping," President Obama. The central strategy is to "expose Obama as a social radical," and taint him — and other Democratic political leaders — by associating same-sex marriage with such things as "pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level."

4. But things haven't played out as NOM hoped
The anti-gay-marriage group went all out on its "Not a Civil Right Project," detailing a $1.5 million budget for the effort in a memo written three years ago. "Did this work?" asks David Weigel at Slate. "The answer: Not really. If there's some leading edge of black bloggers changing the conversation on gay marriage, it hasn't mattered at all; it hasn't trickled into mainstream conversation." And support for gay marriage continues to grow.

Sources: BuzzfeedDaily Beast, MSNBC, New York Times, Slate, Washington Post

 

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