NOM Tactics Revealed in Court Docs Dump

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2012

According to secret strategy documents of the National Organization for Marriage which were unveiled last night, NOM’s strategy was based on seeking to sow divisions between LGBT people and African-Americans and Latinos, between LGBT Americans, President Barack Obama and the Democratic base, and between LGBT Americans and other ordinary Americans across the country.

NOM’s internal strategy documents were unsealed in Maine yesterday as part of an ongoing investigation by that state into NOM’s campaign finance activities. Some of those documents have been posted on the NOMExposed web site of the Human Rights campaign. Many of the tactics revealed in the documents include manipulating ethnic and racial minorities in order to pit them against LGBT Americans — as well as LGBT members of their own ethnic and racial groups. For example, on page 20 of a December 15, 2009 document describing NOM’s national strategy with regard to the Latino vote:

The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be even more so in the future because of demographic growth. Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.

We aim to identify young Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities willing to stand for marriage, regardless of national boundaries. …Here’s our insight: The number of “glamorous” people willing to buck the powerful forces to speak for marriage may be small in any one country. But by searching for these leaders across national boundaries we will assemble a community of next generation Latino leaders that Hispanics and other next generation elites in this country can aspire to be like. (As “ethnic rebels” such spokespeople will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially to young urbans in America.)

With the help of Schubert Flint Public Affairs, we will develop Spanish language radio and TV ads, as well as pamphlets, YouTube videos, and church handouts and popular songs. Our ultimate goal is the make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conforming assimilation to the bad side of “Anglo” culture. [Emphasis mine.]

That same document outlines what they call the “Not a Civil Right” Project aimed at African-Americans (Page 22)

The majority of African-Americans, like the majority of Americans, oppose gay marriage, but Democratic power busses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans. A strategic goal of this project is to amplify the voice and power of black Americans within the Democratic Party. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil rights. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. [Emphasis mine]

According to that document, one million dollars was being earmarked for that effort in 2010, the same amount that was also earmarked to the Latino project. Another undated document which describes NOM’s “$20 million strategy for victory” was much more blunt about the purpose of this initiative (page 12):

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. [Emphasis mine.]

Another document, a NOM “Board Update 2008-2009,” quite literally seeks to “fans the flames” further (page 13):

Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally. [Emphasis mine.]

Alvin McEwen puts this dynamic in very plain language:

NOM has portrayed whatever African-American opposition to marriage equality its spotlighted as spontaneous attempts by leaders and members of the black community to keep its civil rights legacy from supposedly being “tainted” by a comparison to gay equality.

But now we see that there was nothing spontaneous about this. It was a cynically planned effort by NOM – which the organization continues to exploit – in order to drive a wedge between blacks and gays.

…One doesn’t have to spell out how this benefits NOM’s efforts. The two sides attack each other with extreme anger causing magazine articles to be written about the division, news programs to focus on the division, and venomous chats to occur on places like Facebook and Twitter.Some heterosexual African-Americans will let loose with homophobia against the gay community. And some white lgbtqs will express racist comments about the black community. Both communities will be at each other’s throats. There will be no intelligent conversations on the matter and neither community will benefit an iota.

And NOM will sit back and reap the benefits of causing this chaos.

One of NOM’s chief tactics lately has been to claim victimhood status while simultaneously attacking LGBT families, and those attacks are aimed specifically at trying to provoke some sort of backlash against their side. Whether they succeed in that or not is immaterial to them however. NOM designated another project aimed toward creating victimhood messages regardless of merit. This project was called “Behind Enemy Lines”, with the goal of “keeping gay marriage controversial in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut.” (page 24):

Document the consequences of gay marriage and develop an effective culture of resistance. … Fund a low-cost media campaign (primarily billboards) to support the idea the children need mothers and fathers and to highlight threats and promise support to any citizens attacked for their pro-marriage views; commission polling and other studies to document consequences of gay marriage; and gather a rapid-response team of videographers and reporters to collect and record stories of those who have been harassed, threatened, or intimidated as a result of their support for traditional views on marriage and sexuality across the country and also in Europe and abroad. [Emphasis mine]

The document earmarked $300,000 for the Behind Enemy Lines project in 2010, including $100,000 for a “study of what schools are teaching in gay marriage/civil union regimes.” The document also proposed related project called “the Face of the Victims Rapid Response Video Team and Archive” (page 25):

Who is hurt by gay marriage? The rapid response video project would aim to put an emotionally compelling face on the answer to this question. … When a young Hispanic mother discovers in New Jersey that her first grader is being taught about gay marriage, how does the school counselor respond to her concerns? We need to get her on camera, telling the story of what gay marriage really means. NOM’s rapid response team takes the “document the victims” project national, giving us the capacity to capture the oppression of people’s rights, the disregard of their feelings and interests, on video, as it happens, in real time. [Emphasis mine.]

Another document, dated August 11, 2009, also had a plan for painting president Barack Obama as a “radical socialist” as part of their anti-equality strategy. This plan is significant, given that NOM has always touted itself as an organization that is only interested in marriage and nothing else. But the August 11, 2009 document shows that NOM sees itself as an integral player in the much larger culture war against LGBT Americans, as well as pushing the radical-right’s broader messages against President Barack Obama with an eye toward their desire to defeat him in 2012 (page: 13):

Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist hase of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. This is the mission of the American Principles Project. …

The Preserve Innocence project will monitor all administration initiatives from the White House, Department of Justice, Education Department, and the Health and Human Services Department that affect the welfare of children. We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children. We will provide a weekly update to Congress, to conservative leaders and to the national media on personnel or policy threats to childhood innocence. We will work with appropriate legislation to reverse current Department of Education policies that use the Safe Schools program to foist de facto sex education on children as young as kindergarten age. [Emphasis mine.]

Another undated document which describes NOM’s “$20 million strategy for victory” outlined the same offensive against the president, calling the effort “Sideswiping Obama” (page 11). That document also calls for “nationalizing” the issue in the context of the U.S. presidential elections (page 9):

Marriage needs to be a national (and ultimately international) effort, not just a local or regional issue. If marriage is going to be preserved between a man and a woman in the United State two things must happen: the pro-gay agenda of President Obama must be defeated in 2012, and replaced by one of that expressly articulates a pro-marriage culture.  [Emphasis mine.]

HRC’s outgoing president Joe Solmonese describes this document dump as a “game changer”:

“Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African-Americans or Hispanics.”


March 27th, 2012

In the very first sentence you reference secret strategy docs from the National Organization for Women. How does NOW play a part with NOM?


March 27th, 2012

errr you are welcome Timothy.
I am happy to have been of help to the cause. -SGM


March 27th, 2012

Thanks for setting this out so clearly.

I am still trying to get the Oxford University Press to understand what it means to their reputation to be publishing Maggie Gallagher on the subject of marriage. I’ll forward this piece to them, if I may, since all this plotting seems to have been done when Ms Gallagher was still officially in charge.

It’s been clear for years that NOM was a political group devised to divide Democrats. Now that these documents make that explicitly clear the need to discover who provides the money becomes yet more urgent.


March 27th, 2012

Heh, it’s absolutely no surprise to me that it’s not (and apparently never was) really about marriage at all but instead about trying to split up Democrat-voting groups of people and use religion to support a political agenda. Yeah, business as usual for the decievers.

Unfortunately…it doesn’t seem to be working very well, teh gay isn’t as much of an issue from what I’ve observed as it was say, eight or ten years ago. Most people who know anything about it (even that it exists) think NOM is a joke of an organization. Yet they get steadily crazier as people stop listening to them…

And, um, yeah, please fix the NOW mistake…

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2012

I apologize for the error. It was a really late night last night.

Maurice Lacunza

March 27th, 2012

That is evil. I am shocked by the outright fraud and deception. Thank you for sharing this.


March 27th, 2012

I’m eager to see what the SPLC will have to say about this. I wonder if this could actually qualify NOM as a hate group…

A. M.

March 27th, 2012

You mean to tell me that NOM has no standards? I am shocked. Just SHOCKED.


March 27th, 2012

Evil. Plain demonic evil.

Timothy kincaid

March 27th, 2012


I’m a bit confused. I hadn’t commented yet on the issue.

If you were wryly noting that Jim didn’t credit you, it may be that he had already received the info from an earlier source – just as it became available. Unfortunately we both work full time and are not always able to comment in items immediately (and it’s tax season for me). So it’s likely that this commentary was at least in draft form before you shared the link.

But please know that we always appreciate tips and info. Our readers are often sources for info we might otherwise miss.


March 27th, 2012

Do we have any proof yet of where the money is coming from for NOM?


March 27th, 2012

Andrewdb, when we know where the money is coming from for NOM is when the REAL scandal will break. NOM will likely be relegated to a fourth rate organization in this battle, if it continues to exist at all.

Who/what will take its place is the only question I have. I have a feeling this information will be coming out shortly.

Nick Literski

March 27th, 2012

I read through the documents, and one thing I found interesting is that there’s only ONE mention of the Mormon/LDS church—a boast about how NOM organized a full page newspaper ad supporting them and condemning anyone who protested against… them a…fter Prop 8 (an ad which, at the time, was shown to be orchestrated by Matthew Holland, son of LDS “apostle” Jeffrey R. Holland and then a member of the NOM board).

What the documents DO repeatedly mention is their close working relationship with Catholic and protestant leaders. There has been much to suggest that NOM is largely an LDS front group, so it’s curious that there’s so little mention of the LDS church in the documents. On the other hand, the language seems VERY similar to internal LDS documents released by Fred Karger a couple years ago online. Those documents said that “we” (meaning the LDS church representatives carrying on anti-marriage-equality activities) needed to create allegiances with Catholics and evangelicals. As I read these newly released NOM documents, I couldn’t help but wonder if the same “we” (i.e. LDS representatives) was behind authoriing these strategy docs.


March 27th, 2012

I was moving to quick. I thought you wrote the article Tim, by bad. You guys both work full time AND do this? WOW!

I take some small satisfaction of being the first one to post the docs. Because I posted them, then HRC had to hurry up last night and release them also. They had planned to analyze them overnight and make a big announcement this morning. I have private e-mails which verify this.

Oh well, in the end what matters is that the information is now out in the public domain. If HRC wants to claim that they “exclusively” have these docs as they are now doing, I really don’t care all that much. It’s not true, but that is okay.

The REAL unsung HERO is Fred Karger. It was Fred who filed the initial election law complaint against NOM. Then NOM sued him and he won. Good As You has a nice statement from Fed Karger. My little tiny work is a grain of sand compared to Fred Karger. We all owe Fred Karger a lot.

Timothy Kincaid

March 28th, 2012


Fred Karger is a joker. A jester. The guy in the clown suit who thinks he’s going to president. Ha! As a Republican. Ha!

And like jesters before him, this gives him power to tell the truth in ways no one else can. Silly ol’ Fred with his frisbees and his lawsuits and his ridiculous campaign can demand attention as a candidate but not fear losing voters by what he says.

It isn’t just the gay community that owes Fred. All Americans owe him thanks for taking on this role. The speaker of unspeakable truth is crucial to any society


March 27th, 2012

Wow, some intense stuff. Thanks for sharing.


March 27th, 2012

Best pre-birthday gift ever.


March 27th, 2012

“Who is hurt by gay marriage? The rapid response video project would aim to put an emotionally compelling face on the answer to this question. … ”

Yet every time I see Brian Brown in news media he brings up the same two pieces of fudge from Massachusetts, the Catholic adoption agency and teaching kids as young as kindergarten about SSM. The former case is a long bow argument relevant only to the issue of discrimination and the latter is a confabulation based on the availability of the book King And King in a school library, not a consequence of allowing SSM in the state and nothing to do with the curriculum.

It seems NOM doesn’t even have an honest face, much less an emotionally compelling one.

David C.

March 27th, 2012

Like Nick Literski above, I have a keen interest in the main sources of funding for the nefarious NOM agenda, but I have an even keener interest in knowing who developed this strategy.

Whomever or whatever organization(s) were responsible for formulating the NOM plan of attack is or are either incredibly cynical or downright evil. This smells of something that might easily have emerged from the largest criminal enterprise on the planet: the RCC. I however certainly do not put it beyond the much smaller but well organized Evil Empire based in Salt Lake City.

It is wild speculation to assume that either “religious” organization is responsible for developing the obviously very political NOM strategy. On the other hand, the incredibly cynical and evil approaches taken by it were not developed by political novices or the typical evangelical/christianist frauds that rob the naïve faithful of their hard-earned cash to live a rich and famous lifestyle. These are seasoned political operatives and strategists that are determined to win irrespective of the collateral damage to young lives, families, and whole political movements that might or even appear to stand in the way.

But whomever they may be, the developers of the NOM strategic plans ought to be exposed in the process of shining the light on NOM, its sources of funding, and those behind the NOM curtain we know nothing about.

F Young

March 27th, 2012

“Our ultimate goal is the make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conforming assimilation to the bad side of “Anglo” culture.”
“Marriage needs to be a national (and ultimately international) effort, not just a local or regional issue.”

This (opposition to gays as an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conforming assimilation to western culture) has actually happened in sub-Saharan Africa. I wonder if it was just a natural process, or whether it was planned, strategized and organized.

My other comment is about the amazing amount of money that NOM had to carry out their strategy. Twenty million, for one group on one issue.

Overall, I think the strategy is sophisticated and very ambitious, and of course cynical.


March 27th, 2012

Jim, Great job! I guess we’re all a little tired from stayin up late last night to digest the docs, and email, tweet, what not.

My new slogan, NOM NO MORE!


March 27th, 2012

Show. Me. The Money. These documents were presented as part of a lawsuit that we hope will identify just who is ponying up all those buckaroos for this cynical, obsessive, divisive bullshit. Any guesses at this point?


March 28th, 2012

Just think — if NOM had actually followed state campaign law and disclosed their donors in the first place, we never would have gotten access to these documents. It’s so satisfying to see their own contempt for the rules come back to bite them in the ass.

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