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NOM Exposed
September 30, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

NOM Exposed collects information about the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a secretive front group for the Mormon and Catholic churches which funds other front groups across the country, in their fight against recognition of same-sex marriage rights in the United States. NOM Exposed pulls together biographies about the leadership behind the organization, the ties to extremist religious and other groups, the money trail and the shadowy outfits where the cash leads, the organization's ethical, campaign finance, and other legal violations across the country (such as that pointed to here), and various propaganda that NOM uses to spread its message.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (95 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
If sunlight were only the best disinfectant these days......still, it's a start.
posted by lalochezia at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are there organizations working for recognition of same sex marriages?
posted by Cranberry at 12:22 PM on September 30, 2010


Protest sign: nom nom NOM!
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 12:25 PM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Wow, the first president of NOM was a Matt Groening character!
posted by Scoo at 12:25 PM on September 30, 2010


Cranberry, Marriage Equality USA and Freedom to Marry are two.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:26 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that the government grants special privileges to couples who join in matrimony and the argument is that people should be free to choose who they want to "couple" with.

So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

Solved. Next.

Yes. I'm being facetious. And no, there's no cure - i was born that way


posted by mmrtnt at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2010 [10 favorites]




If sunlight were only the best disinfectant these days......still, it's a start.

But, there's a storm a-gathering.

It's not about laws. It's about love.
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2010


These people must be stopped. Vote.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:38 PM on September 30, 2010


Are there organizations working for recognition of same sex marriages?

Yep.
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2010


So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

I know you were being facetious, but what's frustrating about this is that logic and reason fall down in the face of religious folks who view the government not being in the marriage-for-them business as a step backwards in the fight to keep what they view as their rights. It's a rarely-mentioned sticking point, but think of all the people pushing to reduce/eliminate the separation of church and state, and imagine how they feel about government moving exclusively to civil unions.
posted by davejay at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

Solved. Next.

Yes. I'm being facetious. And no, there's no cure - i was born that way



No no. That's a legitimate viewpoint.

Mainly because it's mine.
posted by clarknova at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Just this week ...
"A group that opposes same-sex marriage wants to run TV ads in the Rhode Island governor's race, but doesn't want to comply with state campaign finance laws, so it's suing in federal court.

In a lawsuit [PDF] filed last week against the state, the National Organization for Marriage says it should not have to report its expenditures or comply with spending limits or bans that are required for political action committees.

The group -- which held a rally against gay marriage on the State House lawn in July, sparking a counter-rally -- argues it shouldn't be considered a PAC, and says the rules for PACs are burdensome and interfere with free speech.

Rhode Island is one of two New England states that does not allow same-sex marriage. The group also wants to run ads for General Assembly races."
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were involved with an organization of any kind which indulged in shadow warring, I think I'd say to myself that I was a dumbshit. Can't even imagine how stupid I'd feel if that organization was my religion.
posted by cookie-k at 12:44 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, how could one even begin to justify such a thing?
posted by cookie-k at 12:45 PM on September 30, 2010


"NOM’s tactic — flout an individual state’s campaign finance laws by failing to register as a PAC and to report its donors, then sue the state for interfering with free speech if its election board attempts to force the group to comply — is pretty standard fare by now. The group is engaged in similar lawsuits in California and Maine, and it’s currently refusing to register as PAC despite its political activity in the state of Minnesota as well.

Most independent observers predict NOM’s challenges will eventually fail — the group has already lost a similar case in the Supreme Court regarding disclosure of its political activity in the state of Washington — but the group’s plan, for now, seems to be to delay as long as possible. It’s got deep enough pockets to fight these cases in the courts for months — or even years — allowing its political spending in state races, meanwhile, to go undisclosed until long after the elections in question have been decided." *
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


NOM's Latest Fail: 'They Knows'.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2010


>> Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice. Yes. I'm being facetious.

I got married this weekend, and I found it frustrating that it must have been performed in a courthouse or by clergy. I am totally in favor of the government leaving 'marriage' to the churches. It would have saved our friend the $5 he spent on his online ordination.
posted by JohnFredra at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


LOLORSONSCOTTCARD
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]




Good Lord, Orson Scott Card is a board member.

This is interesting, but I feel like the watchdog site is drawing a bit of a long bow, at times. It jumps from 'several of their top people are Catholics, and they took funds from wealthy Catholic individuals' to 'they are funded by the Catholic Church'. I'm not sure they've really demonstrated that.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kinda see their point: If we allow gays to marry, the next thing you know they'll be demanding equal protection under the law.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hold on, guys, I'm still trying to understand why anyone would willingly call their organization NOM.

Nom nom nom nom nom.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:58 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


... and this is AMERICA, dammit!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:58 PM on September 30, 2010


So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

I've been in favour of this for a while, but something just occurred to me. My step-father's an Anglican vicar, so he obviously gets lots of requests to officiate weddings at his church. And he'll always check that the couple, or at least one of them, is religious, and ideally has ties to the area. As you'd expect. But there are huge numbers of people with no actual religious beliefs, who want to get married in a church because they think it looks pretty. I'm sure we've all been at those weddings. I suspect that not every priest is as conscientious at weeding these people out as my step-father is.

So it occurs to me: if Churches are really really concerned with people devaluing the institution, they might be better occupied in making sure that they only conduct wedding ceremonies for people who really, genuinely share their religious beliefs, than in campaigning against gay marriage.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would it help to point out that almost two decades after recognizing same-sex unions, and almost two years after legalizing same-sex marriage, Norway still haven't sunk into the sea? No? OK, thought as much...
posted by Harald74 at 1:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Great post, BP. I've been watching a bit about NOM via the Prop 8 Trial Tracker website, and Maddow did a piece on their activities not too long ago, but this has depth to it which I hadn't bothered to track down. Thanks.
posted by hippybear at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2010


The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada are doing quite well too...
posted by Harald74 at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2010


'...they are funded by the Catholic Church'.

Maybe not, but at least by a leading Catholic organization, not to mention Opus Dei's involvement.

Iowa Independent: Catholic Group Knights of Columbus Gave 'A Whopping $1.4 Million' to NOM in 2009.
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh. That was the first time I've seen a two-dudes wedding-cake-topper used in an anti-gay-marriage ad.

It's as though the message that they're going for is "Just look at all these homos with their celebrations and their love! The horror!"

I wonder if the photographer who took that shot took it for the purpose of that ad. If so, I wonder if he drank himself to sleep that night.
posted by gurple at 1:02 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Surely the best way to protest the Democrats' failure to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act is not to turn out to vote in November. Some other party will be elected, and I can only assume they will be more active in support of marriage equality.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:03 PM on September 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


Excerpt from the HRC/Courage Campaign press release regarding NOM Exposed:
“NOM Exposed builds off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling NOM’s ‘2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman’ bus tour of 17 states. The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million page views and more than 15,000 comments. During the course of the tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities – California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – unconstitutional.

The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations. It also showed NOM staff attempting to limit public access to their events and NOM’s sparse supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT families.

‘The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called 'National Organization for Marriage' as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking families, spreading lies, and sowing fear,’ said Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs. ‘With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism. We are proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.’

NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:

* 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 tries to not only 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 anti-gay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose 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.”
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on September 30, 2010


The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada are doing quite well too...

As are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. here in the States.
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2010


Vota Tus Valores?

When it comes to bashing fags, bigots find maybe those brown skinned invaders from the Southern border aren't so bad after all.

It's a matter of priorities, I suppose.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2010


clarknova and davejay

At the risk of belaboring something, I was only being facetious about the "Solved. Next." part.

I firmly believe the rest.

posted by mmrtnt at 1:29 PM on September 30, 2010


Would it help to point out that almost two decades after recognizing same-sex unions, and almost two years after legalizing same-sex marriage, Norway still haven't sunk into the sea? No? OK, thought as much...

Yeah, but isn't that only because it's floating on an ocean of oil money?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:31 PM on September 30, 2010


> The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada are doing quite well too...

The other night my wife asked me if same-sex marriage was still legal in Canada, and I had to look it up to make sure; that's how thoroughly it's destroyed our society.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:52 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please don't confuse the terms "marriage" and "matrimony.". The latter is the church-approved part of the deal; the former is the governmental part.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2010


I just came here from the Tyler Clementi thread, and the urge to unload expletives in this thread, aimed at NOM, is almost overwhelming...

But I won't.

I can control this...

barely.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please don't confuse the terms "marriage" and "matrimony.". The latter is the church-approved part of the deal; the former is the governmental part.

Wait. What?
posted by The World Famous at 2:08 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


We need to start an organization called "Operation Marriage," or similar, for the sole purpose of exposing NOM and creating headlines such as "OM: NOM? NOM!"

Perhaps we could get Olympique Marseille to make some sort of statement in support of equal marriage.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:16 PM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Please don't confuse the terms "marriage" and "matrimony.". The latter is the church-approved part of the deal; the former is the governmental part.

Wait. What?


Seconded. I have no idea how fff is drawing a differentiation between two synonyms, neither which have different meanings from each other in either religious or legal settings.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:20 PM on September 30, 2010


Nom was also the name of the Sandgorgon that Thomas Covenant summons to destroy Revelstone and put out the Banefire at the end of the Second Chronicles. Is that relevant? Probably not, but that's what sprung to mind for me the first time I saw the acronym.
posted by hippybear at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2010


Marriage has to do with the legalities of the relationship, and has since the dawn of time. There is no long-term tradition of marriage being the domain of religious authorities: it's holy matrimony that is their traditional purview.

The church has only recently confused the two terms, and it's time they stopped doing so.

No one gets married without signing a government-issued legal document. Religions have nothing to do with it.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

Since when have marriages solely been a religious affair?

Conservative churches need to leave their anti-gay agenda out of marriage. Preserve the sanctity of civil marriage!
posted by kmz at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The section on compensation in the "other legal violations" link is excellent. I often wonder if people like Maggie Gallagher could be convinced through argument, or meeting LGBT people, but the compensation structure tells me that even if she could be, she wouldn't stop persecuting folks publicly. There's too much money in it.


And to head off the inevitable "Only civil unions from the State! Only marriage from the churches!" third way proposal: marriage, recognized by the state, is a fundamental right in the U.S., guaranteed by the 14th amendment. It would be easier to enact same-sex marriage laws, repeal DOMA, etc. than to implement the civil-union-only plan, which would require a constitutional amendment or new judges on the bench.
posted by Marty Marx at 2:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got married this weekend, and I found it frustrating that it must have been performed in a courthouse or by clergy. I am totally in favor of the government leaving 'marriage' to the churches. It would have saved our friend the $5 he spent on his online ordination.

This is actually legislated at the state and county level. In California, most counties will deputize anyone to perform a marriage ceremony (although it cost us closer to $40). Lots of states have Quaker traditions that allow couples to self-marry, which is the solution I like best.
posted by muddgirl at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2010


Yay daylight on NOM.

Boo on our court system being so gameable that NOM can pull the sort of legalistic BS it is in order to stretch out court cases.

To join in the marriage vs. civil unions for all debate, I'll simply observe that while, in theory, it is an elegant and nifty solution, in practice it would never, ever work.

There are two forces who would hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

1) The religious loonies who want to keep gay people from marrying. They'd see it as marriage being taken away from straight people, and they'd advertise it as such. "The radical homosexual activists couldn't take over marriage so now they're trying to destroy straight marriage! Protect your marriage vote against Prop X!"

2) The homosexuals and homosexual allies who would see it as a way to avoid giving them marriage.

It might have worked, at least for the second group, before civil unions started being used as a separate-but-equal slap in the face to homosexuals. But right now we all know what "civil union" means, it means "we won't let you get really married because we're kowtowing to the religious loons so take this second class fuck you". I know that isn't what the civil unions for all people mean, but that's the visceral reaction people have on the topic of civil unions now due to the way they've been used over the past couple of decades.

So, yeah, its going to have to be marriage for all despite the seeming elegance of the civil unions for all approach.
posted by sotonohito at 2:48 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lots of states have Quaker traditions that allow couples to self-marry, which is the solution I like best.

"Out of the silence (for a really long time) the couple will exchange "promises" or "declarations" with each other. The promises are short, simple, and egalitarian, and can vary between different regions and meetings. Traditionally, Quakers do not swear or make oaths, because they intend to tell the truth at all times, not only when swearing."

I like it.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a lot of states, the ceremony is just that - ceremonial. You're married when you sign and file your marriage license, whether you had a party in a church before or after or never.
posted by kafziel at 3:12 PM on September 30, 2010


My wife and I have been together for 26 years now, and that's just about half of my lifetime so far. My wife is 18 years older than I am, plus she's a Resident Alien here in the states. We've both had to deal with the age difference as well as the cultural differences, but we've managed to get by okay in that regard, with little thanks to any religious or governmental institutions.

Thing is, we're not going to be making any babies anytime soon. Some people, such as those that populate this NOM business, will consider us to be 'sodomites' for that reason alone. We're not same sex though, so they'e not targetting us yet. I'm confident, though, that they would get around to us sooner or later, were they to have their way.

It's just the way that they are. The easiest way to get close to heaven is on another's back. How else to account for the thousands of christian denominations that exist today? They just can't get along together long enough to reconcile their differences. This, I believe, is because so much of their identity is defined against some 'undesirable' other. It's pitiful, and more than a little scary.

How can you explain to people that you don't necessarily have to be gay to become a target, if simple empathy won't suffice?

Excellent post. Thank you.
posted by metagnathous at 3:28 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no long-term tradition of marriage being the domain of religious authorities: it's holy matrimony that is their traditional purview.

I still don't get it, five fresh fish. I think the "holy" is the only part that is exclusively the domain of religious authorities, and even that is highly subjective. "Marriage" and "matrimony" are two words for the same thing, as far as I know. Of course, if you're referencing some specific legal or other authority, or if you're saying something that I'm just misunderstanding, I'd be curious to know what it is.
posted by The World Famous at 3:29 PM on September 30, 2010


It could be I'm full of shit, but as far as I can tell, the Christian church was very much a late-comer to the marriage business. I can see no reason to believe the church has any footing to its claims regarding marriage.

So basically I'm arguing that we take back the word. The churches have co-opted and corrupted the difference between marriage—a legal concept—and matrimony, a show and tell performance.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


...marriage, recognized by the state, is a fundamental right in the U.S., guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

Well, yes and no.

The fourteenth amendment - if Wikipedia is to be believed - provides for equal protection under the law and only 21-year-old males may vote, among other things.

In fact, according to these bed-bugs, the Constitution doesn't mention marriage at all - but they would like it to.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2010


Infinite Jest: I feel like the watchdog site is drawing a bit of a long bow, at times. It jumps from 'several of their top people are Catholics, and they took funds from wealthy Catholic individuals' to 'they are funded by the Catholic Church'. I'm not sure they've really demonstrated that.

The documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition focuses on LDS sources, but IIRC it gets into LDS leaders reaching out to Catholic ones and how NOM was one of the success stories from their behind-the-scenes machinations.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:56 PM on September 30, 2010


It could be I'm full of shit, but as far as I can tell, the Christian church was very much a late-comer to the marriage business. I can see no reason to believe the church has any footing to its claims regarding marriage.

I agree.

So basically I'm arguing that we take back the word. The churches have co-opted and corrupted the difference between marriage—a legal concept—and matrimony, a show and tell performance.

You're the only person I have ever heard claim that "matrimony" is not merely a synonym for "marriage" in every sense. Have you heard anyone other than yourself claim that "matrimony" is a religious term and not a civil one? I don't think there's any "taking back the word" necessary.
posted by The World Famous at 3:56 PM on September 30, 2010


And by "sources" I mean documents (this one is from their successful fight against legalizing gay marriage in Hawaii. It became a template for the Yes on 8 campaign in CA).
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:04 PM on September 30, 2010


Infinite Jest:

Whew!

I had to read that three times to figure out I didn't just post in this thread.
posted by mmrtnt at 4:05 PM on September 30, 2010


I just wish the Rapture would happen already.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:28 PM on September 30, 2010


Even my satanic friends aren't this devious. Not on this type of large, organized scale anyway...it's more about the petty bickering and in-fighting.

Perhaps it's time to reassess my allegiance?

Well, HELL-OOO Mr. Lieberman, it's good to see you at the sacrifice; we didn't think you could make it!
posted by malocchio at 5:00 PM on September 30, 2010


The fourteenth amendment - if Wikipedia is to be believed - provides for equal protection under the law and only 21-year-old males may vote, among other things.

Including, under current jurisprudence, protection of substantive due process. Substantive due process requires strict scrutiny of invasions of fundamental rights, which current jurisprudence considers to include the right to marry.

Whether or not that is the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment doesn't matter. To change the law to accommodate civil-unions only you will need a constitutional amendment or (almost certainly) 5 new justices. And even then, we still wouldn't be at civil-unions-only because we've only removed the federal minimum requirement: individual state constitutions can provide greater protections than the federal constitution, and many do. Maybe we ought to push for that amendment or for those justices anyway because of the virtues of civil-unions-only, but that will take longer and be less certain than federal protection of same-sex marriage. In this case, the right thing to do is also the pragmatic one.
posted by Marty Marx at 5:17 PM on September 30, 2010


> Please don't confuse the terms "marriage" and "matrimony."
Why not? The OED seems to:
  • marriage, n. 1. a. The condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony. The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.
  • matrimony, n. 1. a. The rite or sacrament of marriage; the action of marrying.
Oh, and me and ms scruss did the Quaker wedding thing, though in Scotland we legally needed an officiant who just stood up and basically said, "Let these two crazy kids marry each other." There also wasn't much silence for us; we got married before a late dinner, so there was quite a bit of "intestinal ministry" going on ...
posted by scruss at 5:36 PM on September 30, 2010


I can't help but think of Louis C.K. whenever I hear about people actively campaigning against gay marriage: "But your honor! THEY'RE QUEAH!"
posted by sonika at 5:49 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm totally for the marriages to churches|unions to the state so long as it's clear and that NO legal rights appertain to anything conducted under any authority except that of the state.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2010


It could be I'm full of shit, but as far as I can tell, the Christian church was very much a late-comer to the marriage business.

I'm gonna go with option A, full of shit. Marriage has been unequivocally a religious thing in the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition. The Gospels refer to marriage as "what God has joined together":
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
                                                                            -- Matthew 19:4-6
So yeah, if by "late-comer" you mean "ever since the beginning of the religion...."

There are good arguments for the secularization of marriage. Appeals to tradition are non-starters, for countless reasons, not the least of which is that they're both logically fallacious AND based on false premises.

Well, yes and no. The fourteenth amendment - if Wikipedia is to be believed - provides for equal protection under the law and only 21-year-old males may vote, among other things.

Not "yes and no," just "yes." The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that no state shall deny life, liberty, or property without due process of law. There is a level of arbitrariness of legislation at which requiring due process before infringing liberty becomes meaningless. Because of this, some people [read: the vast majority of legally educated people, including the Supreme Court] read substantive rights into the due process clause. (NB: The term "substantive due process" is a historically loaded term.) Based on the very specific Constitutional privacy protections of the home (no forced quartering of soldiers, no searching homes without a warrant, etc.), the substantive component of the "liberty" prong of the due process clause has been interpreted to include a broad swath of domestic issues, to include procreation and marriage, Skinner v. Oklahoma, contraception, Griswold v. Connecticut, sexual practices among consenting adults, Lawrence v. Texas, and others.
posted by thesmophoron at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So. Civil unions for all, marriages from the church of your choice.

As a nonbeliever, where do I get my marriage?

Marriage has been unequivocally a religious thing in the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition.

Just because organized religion co-opted marriage doesn't make it any less secular in origin. The co-opted lots of things from those who came before or existed concurrently. Keep in mind that the beginning of these religions was not the beginning of civilization.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:55 PM on September 30, 2010


As a nonbeliever, where do I get my marriage?

If the government offered civil marriages, or unions, or whatever semantic you choose to get bogged down in, that provided the same benefits to all couples regardless of gender, as a nonbeliever you wouldn't need to get a "marriage" blessed in the religious sense, but people to whom that is valuable could seek it on their own.

Aren't there countries in Europe where you have to have a civil ceremony as well as a religious one? Or at least there used to be, I'm thinking of Grace and Rainier of Monaco.
posted by padraigin at 8:04 PM on September 30, 2010


Matrimony is the religious rite. Marriage is the legal status.

Churches perform matrimonies. They do not provide marriages: only the state has that ability, which is why there's a document-signing moment during the matrimonial service.

Thesmophoron, I think that is a translation error. For many centuries the Christian church was not involved with marrying people.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2010


whatever semantic you choose to get bogged down in...

I want that semantic to be "marriage." As a queer atheist, I'd be pissed if the U.S. passed a law that said that semantic was fine to get from the State until I wanted to do so. Hell, this was the whole idea of Prop 8, I'm still pissed, and I don't even live in California.

(Also, again, the civil union-only program fails as a third way between same-sex inclusive and opposite-sex only marriage because we're much less likely to be able to implement the compromise position than the full win of same-sex marriage. I don't know why people keep endorsing it.)
posted by Marty Marx at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I were involved with an organization of any kind which indulged in shadow warring, I think I'd say to myself that I was a dumbshit. Can't even imagine how stupid I'd feel if that organization was my religion.

You don't have to, though -- because the organization would only have been an organization WITHIN your religion. I guarantee that you'd be able to find members of your religion who would be just as disgusted as you are.

(Tangent: some Googling I just did turned up the factoid that Donny and Marie Osmond both ran an ad condemning Mormon groups' position against gay marriage. That just...pleases me for some reason.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 PM on September 30, 2010


Matrimony is the religious rite. Marriage is the legal status.

FFF, where are you getting that from? I seriously have never heard that distinction, and I have heard both terms used in both settings.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:02 PM on September 30, 2010


So what about when I want to marry an artificial intelligence then? Or that attractive alien from Epsilon Eridani? Seriously, the whole direction of this argument is going to change in generation or so. Garden-variety gay humans are going to seem so mundane by comparison. Every old sock deserves an old shoe.

Also when my wife and I renew our vows, we are going to gay-marry each other.
posted by newdaddy at 10:23 PM on September 30, 2010


It must be something from my fevered imagination.

I have never heard anyone use the word matrimony except in the context of a church wedding. I have heard marriage to describe most any couple relationship.

I do think it would be great if churches claimed the word "matrimony" for their use.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 PM on September 30, 2010


National Organization for Marriage....that the outfit that's fighting to ban divorce, right? Wait, what, they're trying to PREVENT people from getting married? Shouldn't they be called the National Organization AGAINST Marriage?

I want to know how many of their board members are divorced.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:06 PM on September 30, 2010


Also, again, the civil union-only program fails as a third way... I don't know why people keep endorsing it.

Because it works in countries that are not the USA. New Zealand has had Civil Unions since 2005*, and it has worked wonderfully. Despite opposition when it was proposed, now no politicians or religious leaders are attempting to have it revoked, no one is trying to make it less than marriage, all the heat in the debate has fizzled out, and homosexuals have the rights they need.

Sure, that is anecdotal evidence, but it shows there are good reasons for seeing it as a calm sensible compromise. So people keep endorsing it, even if there are cultural, political, and legal reasons why it may be sub-optimal for Americans.


*and to date, the worst thing it has caused is Gay Divorce.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 4:08 AM on October 1, 2010


Do they have any secrets for getting their robodialer to stop calling my house with their push-poll?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:54 AM on October 1, 2010


FFF, you are right in that "holy matrimony" refers to the Christian sacrament or rite wherein people are married to each other. My cursory Googling shows that "matrimony" comes into English from Old French c 1300, from the Latin "matrimonium," meaning "the act of marriage." The only page I could find discussing a distinction between the two is here, and, well...

So while you're right in that matrimony =/= marriage, matrimony is more a subset of the wider conception of marriage rather than a separate thing, being referent to the act of marrying two people, and also nobody cares because matrimony is fun to say! Matrimony matrimony matrimony.

matrimonium =/= meconium

posted by jtron at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2010


In church usage, when I was a kid in the Methodist church, the phrase "To join in holy matrimony" was used. Given that, I would have said the matrimony was a state of being. I even think I've heard "state of matrimony", but that's less certain. The ceremony is called a wedding.

Words and terms don't seem to matter all the time. I don't have a marriage, I have a life partnership (Lebenspartnershaft, in Germany). Thing is, outside of Germany, some countries choose to consider us married. I'm fine with that, and that's the intent.
posted by Goofyy at 8:12 AM on October 1, 2010


Liebe partner's shaft? ;)
posted by jtron at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2010




Great site, BP. I'm gonna show this to my team today. Thanks!
posted by klangklangston at 9:20 AM on October 1, 2010


Mormon Leader: ‘I’m Sorry’ For Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8.

Despite a nicely phrased apology, the LDS is likely still funding NOM and still breaking campaign and tax laws in a long campaign to deny fellow Americans their rights.

An apology is a start, but if they are really "sorry" they can take several direct, open actions to show sincerity.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2010


Mormon Leader: ‘I’m Sorry’ For Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8.

Despite a nicely phrased apology, the LDS is likely still funding NOM and still breaking campaign and tax laws in a long campaign to deny fellow Americans their rights.

An apology is a start, but if they are really "sorry" they can take several direct, open actions to show sincerity.


Well, the tricky part is that while the LDS Church is one monolithic block from the outside, it's hardly that from the inside. The point of showing an apology like that is that the Mormon Church is undergoing an introspection from their actions that could lead in a several areas: they could just keep on plugging away at same-sex marriage, but they could also decide that they should never have gotten involved and drop out of such a political battle. Finally, perhaps the LDS Church will eventually allow or even embrace same-sex marriage. That's a long shot, but I think that out of the Catholics, the Evangelics, and the Mormons, the Mormons have the best shot of their church fighting the good fight. Of course, that would be just as illegal to run call centers FOR it if they did switch.

The entire point is that it gives me hope, a recognition by someone high in the Church of the damage that it's wrecking through its own followers. It's not much and not a celebration, but it's worth at least hope.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2010


Because it works in countries that are not the USA . . . . So people keep endorsing it, even if there are cultural, political, and legal reasons why it may be sub-optimal for Americans.

Fair enough, but that's no reason for people to keep endorsing it as a solution in the U.S.
posted by Marty Marx at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2010


From the Mormon article:
"It was not, to be sure, an apology for Proposition 8 itself. It was not a renunciation of Mormon doctrine on homosexuality."

Then it wasn't really an apology, was it? No more than "I'm sorry you get hurt when I hit you" is an apology.
posted by Marty Marx at 11:36 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, Elder Jensen is an outspoken Democrat and often urges Mormons to reconsider the common assumption that conservative politics are consistent with their religion. I suspect that Elder Jensen never liked the Church's involvement with NOM and Prop. 8 to begin with. I have noticed a big change in the Church's attitude toward Prop 8 and same-sex-marriage as a legal phenomenon. While it would be untenable for the Church to change its position on same-sex marriage as a doctrinal matter, I think it's conceivable that the official position will gradually move away from advocacy of efforts to ban same-sex marriage.
posted by The World Famous at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It might have worked, at least for the second group, before civil unions started being used as a separate-but-equal slap in the face to homosexuals. But right now we all know what "civil union" means, it means "we won't let you get really married because we're kowtowing to the religious loons so take this second class fuck you". I know that isn't what the civil unions for all people mean, but that's the visceral reaction people have on the topic of civil unions now due to the way they've been used over the past couple of decades.
posted by sotonohito at 4:48 PM on September 30


This is me. I got married in a church, by a justice of the peace. If we did the civil union thing, I wouldn't be married anymore, because my wedding was secular. I think that's some horseshit. I might be willing to make the concession if I thought it would do anybody any good, but I'm pretty sure that organizations like NOM would just shift the goalposts and now homosexuals wouldn't be allowed to do anything that even vaguely resembles marriage, no matter what it was called.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2010


From the Mormon article:
"It was not, to be sure, an apology for Proposition 8 itself. It was not a renunciation of Mormon doctrine on homosexuality."

Then it wasn't really an apology, was it? No more than "I'm sorry you get hurt when I hit you" is an apology.


Actually, the part I thought was telling was this:
As Carol Lynn Pearson, the Mormon LGBT advocate who attended the September 19 Oakland meeting, observes:
I think the people who didn’t see [Proposition 8] as a problem then are now in two groups: those who still don’t see it as a problem, and those who say, ‘Wait a minute. What did we just do? Why did we do it? Why is my neighbor so cold to me? Why am I still looked at differently at work? I thought this would just blow over. Is there something here I haven’t thought about?’ And those who experienced it as a significant problem two years ago still experience it as a significant problem. A problem that to many is even exacerbated because the church wants to just do Business As Usual. I know plenty of LDS people who are in no mood to do Business As Usual.
That's more of a "I'm sorry my hand hurts after I've hit you" apology.
posted by hippybear at 12:14 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


but I'm pretty sure that organizations like NOM would just shift the goalposts and now homosexuals wouldn't be allowed to do anything that even vaguely resembles marriage, no matter what it was called.

That's pretty much exactly what happened in Washington State last year. A Senate bill was passed which enhanced domestic partnerships to be legally equivalent to civil marriages, without being called marriage. The "defend marriage" people immediately went into overdrive to get the bill overturned by referendum, because they don't actually care about "marriage", they care about maintaining second-class status for homosexuals.
posted by Errant at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


A Senate bill was passed which enhanced domestic partnerships to be legally equivalent to civil marriages, without being called marriage. The "defend marriage" people immediately went into overdrive

Same thing here in Hawaii. The governor waited to the last minute to veto it in order to "protect marriage." She's one of those people who finds marriage to be such a valuable social institution that she's had several.

We have a case in the courts right now arguing that our state constitution's equal protection clause mandates that the protections and privileges of marriage must be extended to all couples, regardless of what particular word might be used for their relationship.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:20 PM on October 1, 2010










Doh --- that would be: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2010


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