Thinking Out Loud: NOM’s Marriage Strategy—The cynical art of being wholesome

Abby Dees

By: Abby Dees*/Special for TRT–

Is anyone really shocked about the revelations from the recently released internal memorandum from the National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”)?  If you haven’t heard yet, this formerly confidential memo from 2009 lays out NOM’s national strategy for fighting same-sex marriage.  There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already suspect, really.  Mostly it serves as confirmation that NOM and its clones are not the grassroots, Church bake-sale folks they’d like us to think they are. Instead, they’re a cynical, mean-spirited bunch of cultural manipulators who don’t give a toss about perpetuating wholesomeness and community-mindedness. If there is anything that stands out about the memo, beyond what we already knew, it’s that they say this stuff out loud to one another and then put a price tag on it. Bigotry looks especially weird all written in a peppy memo.

Fanning the hostility between LGBT and African Americans

The part of the document that’s gotten the most media attention is entitled “Not a Civil Rights Project,” which is NOM’s strategy for “fanning the hostility” between the LGBT and African-American communities. The idea is that LGBT leaders will then be compelled to react negatively to anti-gay rhetoric by African-American leaders, and will thus be viewed universally as bigots.  In other words, they want a good old-fashioned race war.  Even African-American leaders who oppose same-sex marriage are, not surprisingly, declining the invitation.


Another portion of the memo that’s gotten a lot of play, one that also plays the race card from a stacked deck, describes NOM’s plan to present opposition to gay marriage as a badge of Latino pride and to encourage youth rebellion against “conformist assimilation” into the dominant culture. I’m picturing NOM founder, Maggie Gallagher, in her collarless suits and pearls, fomenting youth rebellion in L.A. and it’s making me giggle.

NOM’s Project worth: $2 Million

What you may not have heard is that a year’s worth of race-bating by NOM in 2010 was projected to cost $2 Million.  And here are some more choice strategies from the memo:  The “Behind Enemy Lines” project documents how gays have tyrannized those who have spoken out against gay marriage, with a special focus on states where courts have “imposed gay marriage” on the citizens.  This is a favorite trope of the religious right nowadays, so stay tuned for a lot more. You saw it first during the federal Prop 8 trial when the Yes on 8 folks claimed that they couldn’t get any witnesses to testify against gay marriage because they were all trembling with fear of the great gay mob. I know – you’re wondering how you missed that gang dues notice.

Continuing the big-bad-gays theme, is the “Face of the Victims” project.  Now, this one had me scratching my head because as much as I like to try to see things from another side’s perspective, I was absolutely stumped to figure who the victims of same-sex marriage might be.  A straight couple that lost the neighborhood Xmas decoration contest to the new gays next door?  I’ll give you a few moments to see if you can figure out who the tragic victims are…

NOM Gay crisis

Did you guess Homophobes?  I had no idea, but apparently it takes an enormous emotional toll to maintain your opposition to same-sex marriage when it becomes legal in your area.  NOM planned to videotape these stories via a rapid response team, and they were all heartbreaking, I’m sure.  The “rapid response” part is also intriguing, and makes me wonder what a NOM gay crisis might look like. Do you spontaneously fall to a crying heap on the golf links because you can’t get the picture of Ellen DeGeneres out of your head?

NOM also planned to hire a coordinator, at $60,000, whose sole job description was to find and document the stories of all those miserable children of LGBT parents.  First, I’d like to know what the hiring criteria are for such a job, and, second, how’s that’s going.  I suspect that by month six, the coordinator spent most of his or her time updating Facebook at Starbucks while ostensibly out in the field.

Remember, this is a 2009 document and presumably these projects actually got started. I dearly hope we get to see the 2010 version and learn how it all went.

*Abby is a civil rights attorney-turned-author who has been in the LGBT rights trenches for 25+ years. She can be reached through her website:

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1 Comment on "Thinking Out Loud: NOM’s Marriage Strategy—The cynical art of being wholesome"

  1. billy wingartenson | April 18, 2012 at 6:52 am |

    NOM is largely a creature of the catholic church whose german pope in 2009 did this….

    I love RATZInger – hes doing gods work destroying the church. May he have a long life and papacy.

    Wonder who will be the last one to turn out the lights on the vatican on the way out to put up the bankruptcy sign

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