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NOM Exposed by HRC, Courage Campaign

NOM Exposed by HRC, Courage Campaign


NOM Exposed, a website launched Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign, reveals the antigay affiliations of the National Organization for Marriage, discloses its substantial financial resources, and provides a dynamic space for activists to fight back.

Based on months of analysis and research drawn from public records, NOM Exposed was created to lay bare what the Washington, D.C.-based organization itself tries to hide through lawsuits like its recent challenges to disclosure laws in Rhode Island, New York, and Florida. The site reveals the deep-pocketed donors, such as the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church, that have helped the organization amass almost $10 million in the three years since it burst onto the scene with the Proposition 8 battle in California. NOM Exposed also monitors the organization's current campaigns to defeat equality in states including but not limited to California, New Hampshire, New York, Minnesota, and Iowa.

"NOM has become the leading anti-equality force in this country seemingly overnight," said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for HRC, in a conference call with reports Tuesday afternoon. "They've thrived on voters knowing nothing about them or who fuels them."

Among the findings of NOM Exposed, according to a news release from HRC and the Courage Campaign:

- At a time of the country's greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, NOM's financial growth has been explosive. NOM has amassed huge resources -- estimated to reach or exceed $10M in 2010 -- from modest beginnings in 2007.

- NOM is a highly secretive organization that not only tries to hide the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state after state but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who its key players and associates are.

- NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches, and to those who have a long history of antigay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations that oppose not only same-sex marriage but domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate-crimes protections, and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.

- Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws. This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide NOM's political activities from voters. This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.

NOM Exposed models itself on the success of the NOM Tour Tracker, a Courage Campaign project that chronicled NOM's 2010 Summer for Marriage -- One Man, One Woman bus tour of 17 states. The NOM Tour Tracker, which generated more than 1 million page views, will be laced into NOM Exposed. Kevin Nix, a communications veteran with experience at the Servicememembers Legal Defense Network, the Family Equality Council, and Media Matters, will lead the ongoing project.

Intended to be as much an activism space as an archive, NOM Exposed includes a blog and an action center, in addition to facts about NOM. Creators hope the site will serve as an ongoing tool for bloggers, activists, and organizers.

"This is a virtuous circle," said Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign. "We've got fact, we've got activism. We get more information put there, and we also have the opportunity to take that information with a great source of activists."

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