Originally published on Advocate.com March 27 2012 3:08 PM ET
“Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church.”
So asserts a December 2009 internal document from the National Organization for Marriage titled “National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle,” one that details efforts to drive a wedge between gays and both African-Americans and Latinos as well as energize clergy opposed to same-sex marriage.
The document was previously submitted under seal in a 2009 case in which NOM and the Washington, D.C.–based group American Principles in Action sued the state of Maine over reporting requirements in its campaign disclosure rules.
That year state voters passed an anti–marriage equality ballot measure that NOM heavily supported (LGBT advocates are currently seeking to overturn the measure at the ballot box in November). Maine’s Ethics Commission had launched an investigation into NOM’s donors following a 2009 complaint from Californians Against Hate’s Fred Karger.
The document, available here via the Human Rights Campaign, lays out a framework for casting the marriage equality movement as a serious threat to American religious freedom — a common motif in the Republican presidential primary race. Of particular note, NOM details its “culture strategies” project to generate support among Latinos and African-Americans. Via the document:
—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.
—We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right.
As part of its cultural strategies, NOM outlined a “Catholic Clergy Project,” which aims “to use NOM’s close relationships with Catholic bishops to equip, energize and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue.”
The group also reported in the document that it has three unnamed donors at the $1 million level, and 66 total donors who gave more than $5,000 for its “$20 Million Strategy for Victory.”
“Thanks to the courageous and tenacious investigation by the state of Maine Ethics Commission and attorney general, we have our first glimpse into the dirty and possibly illegal campaign activities of the National Organization for Marriage all over the country,” Karger said Tuesday of the document. “No we know why NOM tried so hard to stop this two-and-a-half-year investigation only to be finally rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court,” which last month declined to hear the case.
In a statement, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said of the document, “Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is. 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.”
As HRC notes, the document listed as priorities in 2010 the “roll back” of marriage rights in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. — none of which have done so. Last week lawmakers in New Hampshire voted overwhelmingly against a bill that would have repealed marriage equality in the state.