Op-ed: Fred Karger Says It's Time For NOM to Go Down

Gay activist, and recent Republican presidential hopeful Fred Karger says it's time take on the National Organization for Marriage

BY Fred Karger

October 11 2012 5:09 PM ET

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has funded and led every anti-gay marriage action and election in this country since it was formed five years ago by the Mormon and Catholic Churches.  It was setup to serve as their “front group” in order to qualify and pass California’s Proposition 8. Prop 8 stripped away California’s gay marriage law and wrote discrimination into the state Constitution for the very first time

NOM has morphed into a finely-tuned, effective $12 to $15 million per year bullying operation that has gone to war against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in more than 20 states. NOM also goes after anyone and everyone who gets in its way on the ground, at the ballot box and in the courts.

Iowa
NOM went from its victory in California to Iowa determined to overturn Iowa’s new gay marriage law that was enacted by a unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court. NOM immediately spent a record $86,000 in a special House election in 2009. Last year it spent thousands more in another Iowa special election this time for a seat in the Iowa State Senate. It has fulltime operatives in Iowa and is hell-bent on repealing that successful marriage equality law.

In 2010 NOM funded and ran the million dollar campaign in Iowa to remove three state supreme court hustices who were part of that unanimous decision to allow marriage equality in Iowa. They won and all three Justices were kicked off the bench. NOM even viciously attacked former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she voiced her support for the Iowa justices. Now NOM is after a fourth justice this November and is the largest funder of that judicial retention election.

NOM to the Northeast
In early 2009 NOM began organizing in the northeast to prevent marriage equality laws from passing in Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. NOM also went into Maine in 2009 and qualified a referendum to repeal that state’s recently passed gay marriage law.  NOM gave $1.9 million of the $3 million raised and NOM managed to convince Maine voters to repeal its marriage equality law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

NOM Under Investigation in Two States
It’s now been legally documented in Maine and elsewhere NOM doesn’t play by the rules. NOM has been under a three-year investigation in Maine by the state attorney general and ethics commission for money laundering by failing to obey Maine’s election law and report its contributors. NOM has spent millions attempting to stop the investigation and repeal Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws with several separate lawsuits. The federal lawsuit made it to the United States Supreme Court twice. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court, for the second time, denied to hear NOM’s case. The lower court ruling, which orders NOM to cooperate with state investigators and reveal its donors, stands.  

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has launched an investigation into NOM for not reporting $345,000 that it raised in 2008 to pass California’s Prop 8. That investigation has been underway since May of this year.

New York Congressional Election
NOM bullied and led the defeat of Dede Scozzafava, a highly respected Republican New York assemblywoman, when she ran for Congress because she voted for the New York marriage equality bill. NOM ran a vicious negative campaign against Scozzafava and gloated when she was defeated by a Democrat in a special election. That seat had been in Republican hands since the Civil War.

New York Fight
NOM continually threatens any legislator who dares to vote for full equality for all Americans. When New York was taking up its second marriage vote in 2011, NOM threatened to spend $500,000 to defeat any Republican state senator who voted for that bill. True to its word, NOM spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the New York primary several weeks ago. One of the three Republican state senators running for reelection who voted for the successful marriage equality law went down to defeat, in spite of an enormous show of support for the three.

NOM the Bully
In state after state—like in Maine and beginning in California—NOM has sued to invalidate decades' old campaign disclosure laws to hide the names of the individuals and organizations who are contributing millions of dollars to NOM every year.

In 2010 NOM spent at least $450,000 to run terrible attack ads against pro-gay marriage supporter former congressman Tom Campbell when he ran for U.S. Senate in California in the Republican primary. NOM spent $1 million in vicious attack ads to defeat New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in his reelection campaign in November 2010 because he signed that state’s gay marriage bill. That same election NOM spent $1.5 million to successfully flip the New Hampshire state legislature as part of its continued effort to undo New Hampshire’s new freedom to marry law. NOM eventually lost that vote to repeal New Hampshire’s marriage law but not without waging a big, expensive battle of threats and intimidation.

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