Minnesota says NOM must disclose donors

Timothy Kincaid

July 5th, 2011

The State of Minnesota has joined the long list of states that refuse to give the National Organization for Marriage a special exemption from voter laws due to their claimed fears of gay reprisals. (Independent)

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled today that corporate donations to groups advocating for or against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage must be disclosed. The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) argued that supporters of marriage equality would commit violence against their donors if they were made public. On Thursday, the board disagreed.

NOM suffers from the delusion that “stand up ye soldiers of the cross” is a stand that should be done in secret without the possibility of reprisals from those who find out that you are trying to hurt their family. Because, you see, Teh Gheys are vengeful, scary, dangerous, and violent. Why, if it was discovered that someone was a major donor to NOM, they might lose business from gays and other people who don’t want to fund discrimination. They might even get the cold shoulder at their florist and someone at choir practice might look at them with disdain.

And that’s not fair!!

But, so far, neither campaign boards nor judges have found this argument convincing. And NOM loses this argument wherever it is presented.

So does that mean that NOM is going to comply? Are they going to disclose exactly which mega-wealthy Catholics are funding their efforts to replace civil law with Catholic doctrine?

No way. They haven’t any time in the past and they aren’t going to start now.

And what is Minnesota going to do about it? Nothing.

Until a state is ready and willing to throw Brian Brown in jail for contempt of court and keep him there until the names are disclosed, NOM is going to continue to thwart justice and thumb their noses at the legal system. And they know that actually jailing Brown or freezing NOM’s assets is so politically dangerous and that they have so many friends in powerful places who share their theocratic zeal that enforcing these rulings is impossible.

NOM believes themselves to be exempt from the law. Sadly, in practical terms, they may be right.


July 5th, 2011

Well – we already know who some of the donors are:



July 6th, 2011

NOM wants “special rights”.


July 6th, 2011

30 years ago, a business/corporate donor supporting a GLBT cause would have wanted his/her donation to be kept secret to avoid the stigma of being associated with such a cause. They might have found a way to make the donation through a third party. The GLBT community would have taken some steps to shield such donors. Of course, disclosure laws weren’t what they are today.

As Edna Turnblad would say, “The times — they are a-changin'”


July 6th, 2011

Since NOM is a religious organization they will always claim to be above the law. The separation of church and state only is in effect when it is to their advantage…Much like the Republicans say they are for States Rights but for DOMA, abortion, etc.


July 6th, 2011

@Arthur: NOM is not a religious organization. NOM is a 501(c)(4) organization under IRS tax-exempt categories. Religious organizations are 501(c)(3). They may be religiously motivated, and may imagine themselves to be church-like, but they would not fit the IRS definition of a religious organization.


July 6th, 2011

The “chilling effect on free speech” argument is the only one NOM and MFC can make in public. It also supports their whole “be afraid of the gays” approach.

I bet the real reason they’re fighting disclosure is that disclosure would expose they are dependent on a small number of large donors. They are trying to convince everyone they have widespread support. Finding out they don’t, that they are dependent on a handful of big donors, would undermine the “our movement is growing” message. The truth would hurt them, so it must be suppressed.


July 6th, 2011

Much as Minnesota matters in its particular fashion, in the end the ban will probably pass narrowly with between 52% and 55% given the current electorate. Unfortunately.

Maybe the thing to do is to get NOM and whatever Mormon front group gets created into the worst possible position on this in California. Repeal of Prop. 8 is the priority for 2012, I’m quite sure.

That list of known donors so far linked in tim’s post is sort of interesting. They’re older white men who own businesses. The major one is a fervent religionist whose business is part of the Middle American religion-industrial complex. The others sound a bit more like the self-closeted gay anti-gay thang is going on in at least one case. Which seem typical profiles and motivations on that side of things.


July 6th, 2011

I’ve been puzzled for quite a while. We hear of NOM losing case after case. Yet donor lists don’t appear on gay blogs (and I’m sure if the lists were made public they would appear on many blogs). Why haven’t we seen those lists?

Thanks, Tim, for noting that NOM has simply been ignoring those court losses. That explains the missing lists. Could you expand more on why that is happening — and what we might do about it? Can you at least list the cases they’ve lost and ignored?

Timothy (TRiG)

July 7th, 2011

In these straitened times, one would think the state would have a positive interest in fining these people for contempt of court.



July 7th, 2011

I don’t agree with the conclusion of this post. I don’t believe that NOM has simply thumbed its nose at any state’s disclosure requirements. Instead, it has filed lawsuits challenging those disclosure requirements, while enjoying the benefit of delay that results while the legal process grinds forward. For example, NOM has tied up Maine’s investigation for nearly 2 years. The investigation is slowly making progress, but NOM likely will file another suit in state court if it is ordered to disclose its donor list. Eventually, though, NOM will run out of delaying tricks and the donors will be disclosed.

Even assuming that Kincaid’s post is right and NOM simply refuses to disclose in MN, then a voter could request the information from NOM and, upon being denied, could file suit against NOM seeking a court order compelling NOM’s compliance with the law. There wouldn’t be any need to wait for a MN agency to act.

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