In a August 22 blog post the National Organization of Marriage wrote, “What's the best way to weaken and silence those you disagree with? Intimidation and threats, of course."
That statement also went into a NOM email blast to its claimed list of 500,000. NOM and its president, Brian Brown, have been attacking me ever since my sworn complaint against them in Iowa resulted in another ethics’ investigation of NOM.
This was just one of Brian’s latest personal attacks against me. He is very upset because Iowa is the third state to conduct an ethics investigation into NOM’s illegal campaign activities. Ongoing investigations are under way in Maine and California as well, because of sworn complaints that I filed in those states.
Just go to Google and search “NOM threats.” There are 1,710,000 results. Trying “NOM intimidation” will yield about 1,320,000 results. That’s a lot of NOM threats and intimidation.
Let’s just take a look at a handful of Brian’s and NOM’s extreme intimidation and threats since it was formed by leaders within the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches just six years ago:
Dede Scozzafava (New York), October 21, 2009 – “GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava is not only theoretically in favor of gay marriage, she actually voted for it, twice,” Brown said. “Voters in New York’s 23rd deserve a candidate who has the courage to stand up for their values, not the values of party bosses in New York or Washington. The National Organization for Marriage will spend at least $150,000 in independent expenditures to make sure New York voters understand how strangely extreme and out of touch Dede Scozzafava’s views are,” Brown added.
New York State Legislators, November 12, 2009 – Brown said, "There is no Republican senate district in New York where the majority of people support gay marriage; Maine has made that very clear," he said. "The GOP should learn from Dede Scozzafava’s experience: voting for gay marriage does not pay.” Brown pledged to spend $500,000 to defeat any New York Republican state senator who voted for gay marriage.
Tom Campbell, June 9, 2010 – Former GOP congressman Tom Campbell opposed California’s Proposition 8, so when he ran for the U.S. Senate two years later NOM went after him with a vicious TV commercial and an automated phone campaign to 600,000 GOP primary voters. NOM spent $400,000 attacking Campbell.
Sandra Day O’Connor, September 9, 2010 – When retired U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke positively about the three Iowa Supreme Court justices up for retention election that NOM and its allies had targeted for defeat, NOM went after her too on its blog.
Iowa Supreme Court Judicial Retention Elections, November 2010 and 2012 – NOM ran and funded both campaigns to remove four of the seven justices who in 2009 voted to legalize same-sex marriage in Iowa. NOM’s attack campaigns against the sitting Jjustices were extremely nasty and personal. It ran TV and radio commercials, put several bus tours together and saturated voters with direct mail.
New York State Legislators 2011, October 2, 2011 – NOM paid for billboards and pledged $250,000 each to defeat the four Republican state senators who voted to approve same-sex marriage in New York. Brown’s post said, “Just like David Weprin discovered earlier this month when he faced voters after redefining marriage, Mark Grisanti, Stephen Saland, James Alesi, Roy McDonald and Shirley Huntley will soon discover that the people of New York will not sit idly by while the institution of marriage is redefined without voters having any say in the matter.” Days after the vote, Brown said the New York Republican senators who voted for marriage made a move that was a “disaster for the Republican Party.”
Starbucks, November 11, 2011 – When Brown announced NOM’s “Dump Starbucks” campaign he said, “We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society."
Ron Paul for President, December 28, 2011 – NOM’s “Marriage Pledge,” defining marriage as only between a man and a woman was signed by five Republican candidates running for president in the 2012 primaries, but Congressman Ron Paul refused. NOM unleashed a vicious attack campaign against the congressman including commercials, direct mail and phone banks just days before the all-important GOP Iowa Caucus. Brian Brown said it was important for conservative Iowans to know where Paul stood on the issue before it was too late. “There’s five days left,” he said. “This is the critical period. This is a very unique election. People are still making up their minds in Iowa, and that’s why it’s important we do this now.”
Human Rights Campaign, April 5, 2012 – after The Huffington Post and the HRC posted NOM’s 2008 federa; tax return online, Brown went ballistic and threatened a federal investigation as retaliation.
General Mills, June 15, 2012 – Just prior to launching NOM’s boycott of the cereal maker because of its support for marriage equality in its home state of Minnesota, Brown blasted the company. “Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is profoundly in the common good, and it is especially important for children," said Brown. "General Mills makes billions marketing cereal to parents of young children. It has now effectively declared a war on marriage with its own customers when it tells the country that it is opposed to preserving traditional marriage, which is what the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment does."
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, November 2, 2012 – NOM spent a whopping $1 million in this small state to try to defeat popular three-term governor John Lynch because he had signed marriage equality legislation in 2009. NOM ran nasty TV and radio commercials and did a slew of direct mail to voters.
New Hampshire State House, November 2, 2012 – NOM spent at least another $1 million leading up to the November’s election to vilifying anyone who had voted to support gay marriage in the Granite State. Its vicious attack mailers flipped the House from majority Democrat to a supermajority Republican.
Chris Kluwe, November 27, 2012 – After Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe came out in support of same-sex marriage, NOM's antidefamation spokesman Damian Goddard went after him. He did so in a video rant, calling Kluwe a "pose-in-a-gay-mag-shanking-20-yard-punts kicker, an idiot kicker who uses bully tactics in open letters to state delegates."
Illinois Republican Lawmakers, January 3, 2013 – NOM announced its pledge “to form an Illinois state PAC and spend $250,000 defeating Republican legislators who vote in support of same-sex 'marriage' in Illinois.” Brown later proclaimed, “Any Republican in Illinois who betrays the cause of marriage will be casting a career-ending vote and will be held accountable to their constituents.”
Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady, January 3, 2013 – When state Republican Party chair Pat Brady came out in support of a gay marriage bill the state legislature was considering, NOM demanded that he be forced out for his “betrayal of marriage.”
Minnesota Republican Lawmakers, February 25, 2013 – Sen. Branden Petersen became the first Republican lawmaker in Minnesota to say he would likely support a bill to legalize gay marriage. Brown said, “It’s a career-ending vote for a Republican. NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage.”
U. S. Senator Rob Portman, May 9, 2013 – When Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman announced his support for marriage equality, Brian Brown issued the following statement and threatened to support a Republican primary opponent against Portman: “He needs to be primaried, period. I think that folks in Ohio, if Rob Portman decides to run again, he will be primaried. He may not run again because there's been such a backlash in his state.”
U. S. Senator Mark Kirk, May 9, 2013 – Similarly, when Illinois GOP senator Kirk came out in support of gay marriage, Brown said, “That would be the death knell for the Republican Party.” Brown, who claims to be a Republican, does all he can to defeat Republicans if they support the freedom to marry even if it means that a Democrat wins the seat.
Rhode Island and Minnesota Legislators, August 1, 2013 – Brown threatened two states that passed the freedom to marry this year. “Virtually no politician in Rhode Island ran on a platform that openly pledged that he or she would redefine marriage if elected to office. Yet, when given the opportunity, they did so. NOM has pledged to spend up to $500,000 in Minnesota and $100,000 in Rhode Island informing voters about the issues.”
NOM Goes After Transgender Kids, September 21, 2013 – While NOM claims to be just opposed to gay marriage, it has recently broken new ground as it works to repeal California’s AB 1266 law, which allows transgender teens access to the facilities of their choice and to play on the sports teams of their choice. NOM has dispatched its political operative Frank Schubert to help repeal this new law.
I have been fighting back against Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and the rest of the gang at NOM for over five years. Thanks to federal judge D. Brock Hornby, who unsealed four exhibits in NOM’s lawsuit against the state of Maine where it was trying to keep its donors secret, we finally got to see the truth about NOM’s underhanded strategy to go after proponents of marriage equality.
Because of this reveling look into NOM’s interworkings, I took off the gloves against the group. When NOM went into New Hampshire to try to overturn that state’s recently passed gay marriage law, I took on NOM in this hard-hitting commercial called “Battle of Concord.”
FRED KARGER is a political consultant who lauched a campaign to become the first openly gay Republican presidential nominee in 2012. RightsEqualRights.com