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NOM Strategy Documents Publicly Released
March 27, 2012 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Docket Item 132-2 a.k.a NOM Desposition Exhibit 12 a.k.a "National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle" was unsealed yesterday along with many others and the Human Rights Campaign have been busy scouring the documents.

The documents were taken as part of a deposition in NOM's ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against the constitutionality of Maine's campaign financing disclosure laws which itself was launched as a pre-emptive strike against an investigation by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Now that the Supreme court has rejected their appeal the documents from the trial have been unsealed.

NOM's infamous and numerous attempts to hide its actions and backers in secrecy seems to have backfired this time. As a result it has allowed pro-equality groups an unprecedented look at the tactics used by the conservative "marriage protection" group.
posted by Talez (45 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
7 posts tagged with nomnomnom
Heh.
posted by LordSludge at 10:26 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fred Clark just posted a good roundup of links pertaining to this
posted by tippiedog at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If your marriage is a battle you're doing it wrong.
posted by Runes at 10:35 AM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


There are NOM defenders on Metafilter?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn, its like culture warriors on both sides are making grounds in completely different areas. The political map is beginning to look like a well used trench line.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:38 AM on March 27, 2012


It's really surprising just how completely inept NOM and its cohorts are, considering that they've had moderate successful at promoting their own cause.

How blindingly stupid do you need to be to write something like this down, and circulate it as an official document? Even in court, testimony from NOM and its allies seems to more often than not end up being used against their own cause in the verdict. In Judge Walker's ruling in the Prop 8 case, some of the most damning and effective evidence was presented the defendants themselves.

Even if I held strong anti-marriage sentiments, I wouldn't want to give money to NOM. They've proven to be a fantastic vehicle for undermining their own cause.
posted by schmod at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2012


In retrospect, it's one hell of a lucky break that conservatives Latino-outreach strategy was such a failure. There was a really coherent plan, after all, which Rove wasn't shy about articulating:

1) Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic in the US.
2) Many Latinos are culturally conservative Catholics.
3) The GOP won over Irish and Italian Catholics (who were once solid Democratic voters) using abortion
4) So repeat that strategy, using abortion and gay marriage (with a little bit of anti-tax talk aimed at small business owners) to bring Latino Catholics into the GOP
5) Permanent Republican Majority w00t!

This was a well-developed plan---part of why Dubya was the Republican nominee in 2000 was because he was regarded as the guy with the best balance of appeal to evangelical and Latino voters, and therefore the best person to pull it off. But then Rove was blindsided by the base's fury over Latino immigration---to his surprise, it turns out that when you cement a coalition by stirring up race-hate, it's hard to get them to stop being racists. But it very nearly worked, and the consequences would have been terrible.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


The GOP still has hopes for cultivating a conservative Latino base, but much of this election isn't helping.
posted by drezdn at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2012


How blindingly stupid do you need to be to write something like this down, and circulate it as an official document?

Stringer Bell: Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?!
posted by axiom at 10:47 AM on March 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


Okay, call me astoundingly and politically naive in this arena...but what is the big picture? What does NOM really want by abolishing gay rights and same-sex marriages? Who's really behind NOM and what's their absolute end goal?

Would the country magically get transported back to 1957? Every homosexual would be forced back into the closet overnight? Would we suddenly fix every other single social and economic problem in the country? How does this all fit together?
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:48 AM on March 27, 2012


OK, so wait. The "smoking gun" is that NOM wanted to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" and "interrupt this process of assimilation" (of Latinos picking up liberal values from "anglo" culture)? That's it? That's the best the HRC could find to lead with?

Well, duh. That's all obvious and everybody knew it.

Sorry. The only people who are going to be outraged, or even slightly bothered, are people who would never have supported NOM anyway.

Non-story.
posted by Hizonner at 10:51 AM on March 27, 2012


The only people who are going to be outraged, or even slightly bothered, are people who would never have supported NOM anyway.

And since those people don't need to be energized and are already donating to the max: yawn.
posted by DU at 10:53 AM on March 27, 2012


OK, so wait. The "smoking gun" is that NOM wanted to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" and "interrupt this process of assimilation" (of Latinos picking up liberal values from "anglo" culture)? That's it? That's the best the HRC could find to lead with?

There's also the "Expert Witness Project" and "The Face of Victims".
posted by Talez at 10:55 AM on March 27, 2012


schmod observed: "It's really surprising just how completely inept NOM and its cohorts are, considering that they've had moderate successful at promoting their own cause."

After Prop 8 passed in California, many of us looked at HRC's strategies surrounding that election and wondered if they were playing the long game: The defeat of Prop 8 would have meant that they'd lose a big portion of the reason people were donating to them, so although their stated position was against Prop 8, Prop 8 passing was good for them as an organization because it kept their base outraged and donating.

Maybe NOM is playing the long game too?
posted by straw at 11:03 AM on March 27, 2012


I guess I have trouble believing that there are more than about 10 people who care enough about the issue, and are politically engaged enough, to donate to anybody under any circumstances, yet who are still naive enough that any of this would be news to them.

Seriously, this is absolutely bog standard stuff.

It's not even particularly evil. If HRC isn't doing the same, and trying to drive wedges between NOM's supporters, then HRC isn't doing its job. For HRC, it might be, for instance, trying to drive a wedge between liberal "mainstream" protestants and evangelicals/Mormons.

Change the phrasing from "drive a wedge between X and Y" to "show X that it's not in keeping with X's values to support Y's position", and you are still describing the identical activity.

The "Face of Victims" isn't evil unless you don't believe there are real victims. NOM does believe that. I happen to think they're wrong to believe it, but given that they believe it, making it visible is a perfectly reasonable thing for them to do.

The news about their "Expert witness project" is that it failed to find any experts, not that recruiting experts to support your position is a bad thing to do.

The problem with NOM is its position, not its tactics. Or at least not those tactics.
posted by Hizonner at 11:07 AM on March 27, 2012


I guess I have trouble believing that there are more than about 10 people who care enough about the issue, and are politically engaged enough, to donate to anybody under any circumstances, yet who are still naive enough that any of this would be news to them.

Get over your trouble. My wife cares, donates and doesn't give two hoots about political machinations.
posted by DU at 11:10 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who's really behind NOM and what's their absolute end goal?

I suggest watching the documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition, now on DVD (trailer). It shows how the LDS works hard to 'keep in the background' and basically 'buy' allies, especially the Catholic Church, funneling money to them to finance media campaigns, etc. The Mormons were also behind the formation and funding of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

New York Times:
"The film dives angrily into the fray. It uncovers the classified church documents and the largely concealed money trail of Mormon contributions that paid for a high-powered campaign to pass Proposition 8. The Mormon involvement, the film persuasively argues, tilted the vote toward passage, by 52 percent to 48 percent, in its final weeks.

That involvement was concealed under the facade of a coalition with Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians called the National Organization for Marriage. Mormons raised an estimated $22 million for the cause. In the final week of the campaign, the film says, $3 million came from Utah. The money financed a sophisticated media barrage that involved blogs, Twitter and YouTube videos, as well as scary (and, according to the movie, misleading) television ads, and an aggressive door-to-door campaign whose foot soldiers were instructed on how not to appear Mormon."
NOM Exposed -- Follow The Money:
NOM Closely Aligned With Mormon Church In California And Through Board Members
NOM’s mission and organizational secrecy fits with a pattern of behavior by the Mormon Church, which has been trying to influence policy related to same-sex marriage since the mid-90s while keeping its name not only out of headlines, but entirely out of campaign finance reports. Additionally, one of NOM’s founding board members has close ties to the Mormon Church’s leadership and was replaced by well-known Mormon writer and anti-equality columnist Orson Scott Card. Maggie Gallagher also sits on the board of the Marriage Law Foundation, which is Mormon-founded and Utah-based. And one of the academic advisors to the Ruth Institute (now a NOM project) has been deeply involved with the Church’s opposition strategy to same-sex marriage from its earliest days.

NOM’s Largest Known Donation Is From A Catholic Group, And Has Ties To Powerful And Secretive Opus Dei
Another cornerstone of NOM’s emergence is the Catholic Church. The three main founders of NOM – Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and Robert George – are all Roman Catholic, and have been comparatively open about the fact that the group is backed by “well-off Catholic individuals.” A September 2010 Washington Independent article identified the largest known donation to NOM as a $1.4 million bundle from the Catholic fraternal organizations Knights of Columbus in 2009. The prior year, the Knights gave $500,000 to NOM. Another board member, Luis Tellez, is a high-ranking official in the American branch of the ultra-conservative and secretive Catholic anti-gay organization Opus Dei.

NOM Received Funding From Right-Wing Evangelical Groups And The Bradley Foundation
NOM has acknowledged that it has received funding from evangelical right-wing anti-gay organizations Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. NOM board chairman emeritus Robert George, who served on FRC’s board, also has ties to groups like the Bradley Foundation. Moreover, NOM has connections to the Arlington Group, a collection of 75 religious right groups that poured $2 million into passing gay marriage bans in states during the 2004 presidential election."
The Top Five Donors To Nom Account For Almost 90 Percent Of Its Funding.

NOM’s Operation Depends On Secrecy.
posted by ericb at 11:18 AM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not that this isn't what everyone engaged on the issue knew that they were doing, it's that this is NOM going straight out and saying that this is what they're doing. It's really not a great strategy when you're trying to drive wedges between constituencies to let them know that you're manipulating them. Particularly with the African-American community, HRC is now able to use this document and directly show influential people that NOM is basically trying to hoodwink them.
posted by Amplify at 11:19 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


DU, have you checked to see that your wife is surprised and outraged? If she "doesn't give two hoots about political machinations", then why are they important enough to make her act differently if she finds out about them?
posted by Hizonner at 11:19 AM on March 27, 2012


It's not even particularly evil. If HRC isn't doing the same, and trying to drive wedges between NOM's supporters, then HRC isn't doing its job. For HRC, it might be, for instance, trying to drive a wedge between liberal "mainstream" protestants and evangelicals/Mormons.

NOM is promoting bigotry, homophobia, and racism as the wedge. Personally, I'd rather the HRC stay well away from despicable behavior like that.

Additionally, the difference between suspecting NOM of a certain behavior and finding this document is the same thing as suspecting someone of theft and then finding the stolen item in their possession. It's very important news, and I'm not sure who started the idea that the conformation of suspected behavior isn't news. It's the difference between suspicion/hearsay and evidence, and evidence is a hell of a lot more important to me.
posted by deanklear at 11:24 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


ericb: Thank you. I'll start reading up on this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:25 AM on March 27, 2012


If she "doesn't give two hoots about political machinations", then why are they important enough to make her act differently if she finds out about them?

"Oh yeah, NOM! Wow, they are evil. I'm sending another check to HRC!"
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


From page 5 of The Nation Strategy (page 8 in the whole document):
Marriage will be won or lost in the United States in the next two to three years, and victory in the United States will depend primarily on adequate resources.
This makes me so very sad: so much going to fight a losing battle. So much money used to promote bigotry, homophobia, and racism, all in the name of fear. Sure, it's nothing new, but as a single-topic group, their wider support for the topic is dwindling. The Overton window is shifting for a variety of reasons, including younger people 1) not caring as much about marriage in general, and 2) not caring about gay people being able to marry each-other.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Old people: stop throwing your money into fear-based concerns, and start funding things you love.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:30 AM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


But it very nearly worked, and the consequences would have been terrible.

I don't think so. I think, for the reason you gave, the project was always doomed to fail. The problem is that the Republican machine really is largely fueled by racism, and you just can't contain that, not even long enough to create an alliance with Latinos that would have made the party invincible. The racism is just going to come out. It doesn't matter how coherent your plan is under these conditions. Until the party moves away from the racism that has fueled it since the 50s, the attempt to woo Latinos will always fail. Bush failed, as you said, because he and Rove thought otherwise.

The recent furor over birth control is a perfect example of this. The Republicans thought they had the ideal election-year issue to fire up the base: Obama attacking religion! If they could have stayed on message and prevented the debate becoming one about contraception and women's rights, it would have worked greatly. Unfortunately, large chunks of their base *really do despise women and have bizarre ideas about contraception*, so the effort was doomed to fail because inevitably loudmouths would pop up (like Limbaugh) and destroy the intended message.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:31 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only way to stop the Mormon gangsters is the same way they locked away gangsters like Capone: tax fraud. We need a nationwide campaign to get some scrutiny on these guys.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Its embarrassing, but I have to keep consciously reminding myself the NOM is not in reference to CHEEZBURGERS.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was an illogical strategy because you can't be all 'OH OUR LATINO FRIENDS HELP US STOP GAY MARRIAGE' at the same time your closest allies are all 'SCARY LATINO PEOPLE TAKING OUR JERBS LET'S STOP THEM ON THE STREET AND ASK THEM FOR DOCUMENTS.'
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:48 AM on March 27, 2012


deanklear: I didn't see where NOM's document said "drive a wedge by promoting bigotry, racism, and homophobia". The document just says "drive a wedge". I'm sorry, but the plain "drive a wedge" part really didn't need any confirmation.

The bigotry, racism, and homophobia part is an inference. It may be true, but it's not confirmed by bald text of the document itself. You have to follow implications and use certain assumptions to get there.

Homophobia is a given; it's part of NOM's whole purpose for being. They might not like to use the word "homophobia", but they'll happily and publicly state their acceptance to lots of specific homophobic views. Their prior public statements are plenty to convict them of homophobia as most of us here would define it. No news there.

Racism... well... their document goes so far as to recognize the existence of a distinct "black community", and it implicitly makes some assumptions about the attitudes to be found in that community... but that's a pretty attenuated form of racism.

Given that NOM is itself homophobic, is it really racist, in the usual meaning of that word, for NOM to believe that homophobic attitudes are prevalent in a racial community, or that religious views objectively common in that community and not too far from NOM's own could be used to make community uncomfortable supporting SSM?

On the other side of the wedge, it's true that NOM would stand to gain from somehow making (presumably white) gay people less comfortable with black people, and thus making it harder for them to make the SSM case with that community. That would indeed clearly be promoting racism. But that doesn't seem to actually have been their main approach, nor does the document suggest it.
posted by Hizonner at 11:48 AM on March 27, 2012


Who's really behind NOM and what's their absolute end goal? Would the country magically get transported back to 1957? Every homosexual would be forced back into the closet overnight? Would we suddenly fix every other single social and economic problem in the country?

At some level, yes. This is exactly what they think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chekhovian: "Its embarrassing, but I have to keep consciously reminding myself the NOM is not in reference to CHEEZBURGERS."

That's the least of it. They used to tell folks to text everyone they know a "2M4M." You know, 2 Million 4 Marriage. Certainly there are no other associations with that particular initialism. I assume they've got the same marketing team that named the SRT8.
posted by stet at 12:07 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The "smoking gun" is that NOM wanted to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" and "interrupt this process of assimilation" (of Latinos picking up liberal values from "anglo" culture)? That's it?

The blacks and Latinos used as pawns in this battle might see this very differently, even if they aren't entirely supportive of gay rights.
posted by jonp72 at 12:11 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it was an illogical strategy because you can't be all 'OH OUR LATINO FRIENDS HELP US STOP GAY MARRIAGE' at the same time your closest allies are all 'SCARY LATINO PEOPLE TAKING OUR JERBS LET'S STOP THEM ON THE STREET AND ASK THEM FOR DOCUMENTS.'

There's also the contradiction of demanding that Latinos assimilate completely to American culture, but complaining about that assimilation if the assimilation process leads Latinos to a more liberal, pluralist, cosmopolitan view on gay rights.
posted by jonp72 at 12:16 PM on March 27, 2012


I love how they talk about the need to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" as if gay Black people don't exist.
posted by ActionPopulated at 12:23 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


or gay latinos.
posted by spicynuts at 12:34 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's like they've never seen RuPaul's Drag Race. This show has so much potential as an educational program.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:04 PM on March 27, 2012


Sangermaine/Sidhedevil: I don't think it was implausible at the time as it seems in retrospect, and I think it seemed even less implausible to Rove.

As a conservative, Rove would likely believe that the base really was motivated by a traditional right-wing desire for law'n'order on the border (please, nobody suggest that phrase to any Arizona politician!), not simple racism. After all, he would reason, conservative voters might hate Jesse Jackson, but they love (then-popular radio host) Herman Cain; they might not like Mexicans, but they love Cubans. If Latinos became an anti-gay, anti-abortion, Republican voting bloc, conservatives white southerners would regard more and more of them as "the good ones", until "the bad ones" became the exception.

And Rove would have the personal experience to back it up, because he's old enough to remember what a sea change has happened in conservative attitudes towards Irish and Italian Catholics. Remember, as recently as the 60s, evangelical Protestants hated Catholics far *more* than they hate Latinos or even gays. Catholics were a major target of Klan terror, and most evangelicals believed that the Catholic Church was literally the "Great Whore, clothed in scarlet", that the book of Revelations warned them about. On top of that, there was real racial---or if you prefer, nationalistic---prejudice against "wops" and "micks", prejudice that was much more open and fierce than anything Jan Brewer could imagine directing at Latinos. For anyone who remembered the hatred conservatives felt for JFK's Irish Catholic roots, it was easy to imagine that anti-Latino prejudice could be put away when it was no longer useful.

So it wasn't crazy to think that the conservative base would end up forgetting how much they used to hate Latinos, just like they forgot how much they used to hate Catholics and Italians. It turned out that he picked the wrong moment---I suspect because the conservative base is much older now than it was in the 70s, and therefore less amenable to change---but there was plenty of reason to believe it.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 1:09 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One right hand didn't know what the other right hand was doing, sounds like. Launching a big GOP 'HOLA LATINOS' initiative in the era of GOP 'JOE ARPAIO IS AN AMURRICAN HERO' initiatives was rotten timing.

I mean, people aren't going to "forget" stuff that's going on all over the place right now. And by "the place" I mean FOX News.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:10 PM on March 27, 2012


I love how they talk about the need to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" as if gay Black people don't exist.

Well, to be fair it was a lot more difficult with 1ED/2ED rules.
posted by verb at 2:48 PM on March 27, 2012


I assume they've got the same marketing team that named the SRT8.

Ok I am dying to know, what is SRT8?
posted by naoko at 6:52 PM on March 27, 2012


To naoko's question, when I read "SRT8", my dyslexia rearranges it to "STR8", or, phonetically, "straight".

Since I think of Dodge Charger drivers as... well... "compensating", I suspect that marketing there is actually pretty brilliant.

We now return you to your regular bluster about how corrupt politics and lobbying is.
posted by straw at 9:03 AM on March 28, 2012


Maggie Gallagher MIA for MSNBC NOM Document Segment: VIDEO.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on March 28, 2012


NOM Threatens HRC With Federal Investigation Over Leaked Tax Returns.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2012


Starbucks Stock Rises After Anti-Gay NOM Boycott.
posted by ericb at 1:57 PM on April 5, 2012


640,000 Say Thanks to Starbucks.
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on April 5, 2012


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