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Posts for May, 2015

NOM may have inadvertantly contributed to marriage equality in Ireland

Timothy Kincaid

May 26th, 2015

Irish no couple

The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown is furious about the Irish vote for marriage equality and is childishly lashing out at Ireland’s citizens and political parties for not structuring their country’s laws in accordance with his wishes. But perhaps he should add himself to the list of whom to blame.

One of the stronger elements of the vote was the citizenry’s national identity. This was the Irish people voting in Ireland or Ireland’s laws. And there was a great deal of pride as a people that this was a collective and national decision absent foreign involvement.

But both sides of the debate accused the other as having been funded by outside sources, especially by American organizations. And while both sides denied the accusation, evidence against the No campaign was publicized shortly before the vote:

One of the no side’s strongest supporters in the US is the lavishly funded National Organisation for Marriage (NOM). In a letter to supporters around the world, it has urged evangelical Christians to visit keepmarriage.org, which is campaigning for a no vote.

“Just like in campaigns for marriage here in America,” the letter says, “slanted public opinion polls become fodder to influence and depress supporters of marriage. This is happening in Ireland. If [the no campaign] can manage to pull off a victory, it will be a tremendous boost to the cause of marriage worldwide. Please do what you can to bring awareness to their efforts.”

Foreign contributions to lobby groups during referendums in Ireland are banned. But the “please do what you can” language used by NOM hints at an effort to thwart the law.

Also hurting the No campaign’s image was the use of stock photos in their advertising, a tactic regularly employed by NOM. While the Yes campaign made a point of using real Irish supporters, the No side selected as their primary campaign image a photo of a young couple with a baby, who turned to the media to declare that not only do they not live in Ireland, they are both ardent marriage equality supporters.

The fact that NOM was associated with the No campaign served only to give that campaign some flavor as a non-Irish import. And to the extent that NOM advised the No side on it’s campaign and image, their efforts backfired.

Brian Brown Reacts

Jim Burroway

May 23rd, 2015

Marriage equality opponents have been almost uniformly graceful in their concession statements in the wake of today’s landslide in Ireland. David Quinn of the Iona Institute tweeted “Congratulations to the Yes side. Well Done.” The Iona Institute’s official statement congratulating the Yes campaigners described their win as “a handsome victory0.” Another group, Mothers and Fathers Matter offered their  “warm congratulations” as well. All the major groups expressed their typical concerns going forward, but you get the idea of the tenor of their reactions to today’s vote.

Brian BrownOn this side of the pond however, things are a bit different, with the usual suspects blowing a gasket over the Irish vote. NOM’s Brian Brown, for example, sent out a statement which blamed the loss on ” the utter abandonment of principle by every political party in the nation, all of whom endorsed the referendum” and what he claimed to be an “intense harassment of any group or individual who spoke out in opposition to the referendum.” Also —

“Despite this, millions of Irish citizens stood to vote to uphold the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Millions? Try just 734,300. The “millions” were on the yes side, at 1,201,607. Idiot.

NOM’s new Dump campaign

Timothy Kincaid

April 7th, 2015

As I’m sure you know, the National Organization for Marriage (theirs, not yours) has been promoting Dump campaigns wherein the get supporters to pledge not to use certain vendors and products.

It all started back in March 2012, when NOM launched their Dump Starbucks campaign in response to the coffee giant’s support of Referendum 71, a pro-equality vote. That was also when NOM still maintained some grasp on relevance, and the media took them seriously.

Helped by cross promotion from other conservatives, NOM was able to garner tens of thousands of signatures from those who promised not to drink Starbucks coffee, nearly 50,000 in three months (they currently have 71,193). Although this was laughably low, considering Starbucks’ ubiquitous presence, it did suggest that the National Organization for Marriage did have some reach.

Next on their Dump list, in July 2012, was General Mills. Although it wasn’t a complete and true boycott (signatories promised to ‘look for alternatives’ to the General Mills products), it didn’t catch quite the same success as their Starbuck effort. Perhaps more people were willing to give up over-priced coffee than were willing to ‘look for alternatives’ to Pillsbury or Green Giant. But for whatever reason, Dump General Mills only pulled about 23,000 in the next few months and now has topped out at 27,930.

That put NOM off the boycott business for a while.

Yes they set up a temporary and limited boycott of Target last August which drew at least 2,756 participants, but that was much more low-key and wasn’t sold on the scale of their Dump campaigns.

But now NOM is making another attempt. Among the hundreds of companies now supporting the gay community, NOM has selected Angie’s List as their next target.

It’s hard to guess why some garner their ire while others slide by. I suppose it must be driven by what they consider to be “theirs” or who they think is betraying them in some way. But, in any case, Angie’s List it is. (For those unfamiliar, Angie’s List is a bit like Yelp in that participants grade the quality of service providers).

In a petition titled “I DUMPED ANGIE FOR LIBERTY“, NOM now has 1,463 people who claim to have cancelled their membership in the service (something I very much doubt) along with another 3,662 non-members who are saying “ANGIE’S LIST: STOP YOUR ATTACK ON FREEDOM“.

It will, of course, go nowhere. But unlike some of their other efforts, you can read what NOM’s supporters think. Which is quite a revelation (if not exactly surprising).

North Carolina GOP petitions to intervene

Timothy Kincaid

October 9th, 2014

The Republican majority in the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives have filed a brief arguing that the ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied certiorari by the Supreme Court, does not apply to their state. Because those crazy liberals in Virginia made concessions in court that the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature would never make, therefor their ban on same-sex marriage – unlike everyone else’s – should be upheld.

They are being represented by John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, who ran Attorney General in the Republican primary, winning 34%. Eastman is not exactly the most persuasive of legal minds and his involvement is likely to be an advantage to marriage equality proponents. You may recall him from his unbroken string of colossal losses in NOM’s battle to defy state political donor laws.

Should the judge write a big giant F in red ink across the face of their brief, they alternately want to be granted the right to appeal any ruling for marriage to the Fourth Circuit (who already ruled for equality), to the court en banc (good luck with that) and to the Supreme Court (which has already denied cert from this circuit).

NOM’s record

Timothy Kincaid

October 9th, 2014

Just for some perspective:

When the National Organization for Marriage was formed to oppose marriage equality in 2007, only two one state, Massachusetts and Connecticut, offered marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Today, seven years later, 27 states along with the nation’s capital offer marriage equality.

NOM was helpful in passing four state-based constitutional bans on same-sex marriages:

* California – has marriage equality
* Arizona – is in the Ninth Circuit and should have equality shortly
* Florida – ban has been found unconstitutional and is on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit
* North Carolina – is expected to issue marriage licenses quite soon

NOM exceeds its goal

Timothy Kincaid

September 16th, 2014

TargetLogo
A month ago we told you about the ambitious efforts of the National Organization for Marriage to slap down mega-retailer Target over the company’s support for marriage equality. At the time, NOM had accomplished a significant portion of their lofty goal, getting 2,800 people to pledge to join a boycott on the store.

Now it appears that not only has NOM reached their goal of 2,800, but they’ve done so with such confidence that they’ve moved the goal-post. Now NOM, having achieved 2,856 signatories, is eagerly seeking 2,900!

I suppose a cynical person might be inclined to believe that the goal just automatically updates itself to the next 1,000 so as to let the next visitor to the site believe that their signature really matters. But, then again, a cynical person might also believe that NOM is a shell group that has no real grass roots, does nothing but attempt to get its name in media, and is nothing but a front for the nastier side of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

But we’re not cynical here. No, we choose to believe that NOM is bravely marching forward to make tangible change at Target and that some day they just might have enough signatures to scare the retail giant. Maybe, just maybe, if they keep at it, Target’s response to NOM’s protest might not be to increase gay visibility in their marketing.

So buck up, Brian Brown. Maybe you’ll be relevant again in the US some day. And if not, you can always learn Russian.

Thousands sign up for NOM’s Target boycott

Timothy Kincaid

August 15th, 2014

TargetLogoTarget, that fine purveyor of clothing and household goods, signed onto an amicus brief expressing their opposition to anti-gay marriage bans. And this has infuriated the National Organization for Marriage.

So much so that NOM is harnessing its tremendous power and influence to punish the monster-store for daring to “maligned millions of voters who support the traditional definition of marriage by effectively likening them to ‘haters’ or ‘bigots.'” Nom has called upon its supporters to stand in unison and let the corporate giant know just how strong they are and what threat Target faces for insulting anti-gay voters.

And thousands of NOM supporters have stood together to be counted. Yes, literally thousands; 2,756 to be exact. And that’s almost nearly reaching the goal that NOM set of 2,800 proud defenders of traditional marriage. Surely within the next month they’ll get there!

Because NOM fears for the safety of its petitioners, they disallow showing names of signers. Thus we cannot know whether those 2,756 principled buyers include those ubiquitous few who seem to sign every petition, such as Mickey Mouse, Mike Hunt, and You’re Haters. But, even if so, I am certain that there are many many good souls showing their shopping muscle and threatening the profitability of Target stores everywhere.

Granted, this is not exactly the most popular petition currently being circulated on electronic media. For example, 5,114 have signed to “Tell Dove to stop using Photoshop in their ads” and 69,791 people want the show Shark Hunters to be cancelled. Both of which pale next to 271,469 people who want Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using styrofoam cups.

But NOM can be proud. They’ve stood up and been counted.

And now Target can treat NOM’s boycott with all the seriousness that it deserves.

BREAKING: Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Are Being Summarily Executed Following Kangaroo Court Trials!

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2014

Worried over a string of Federal Court decisions striking down marriage bans across the country, National Organization for Marriage Chairman John Eastman told a reporter: “It’s like we’re in Stalinist Russia.”

SCOTUS: no stay on Oregon decision

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2014

In April Federal Judge Michael McShane was presented with testimony as to why the State of Oregon’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages was in violation of the US Constitution. The state chose not to defend the law and agreed that the law was unconstitutional, leaving no defenders of the ban.

At the last moment, the National Organization for Marriage sought to intervene in the case in support of the ban. Judge McShane found that they had no standing to intervene. He subsequently found that the law was in violation of the US Constitution and opened the state to same sex marriages.

NOM has appealed the decision rejecting standing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They also requested that the Ninth Circuit stay McShane’s ruling until they could argue as to why they should have had standing. The Ninth declined.

Then NOM appealed the Ninth’s decision on stay to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Kennedy, who handles such matters for the Ninth Circuit requested that each side submit briefs. Buzzfeed

Kennedy, who hears procedural matters brought to the court from the 9th Circuit, referred the request to the full court, which denied the request without comment on Tuesday.

NOM’s appeal of the denial to intervene is the only matter left pending in the case because Oregon state officials had not fought the lawsuit, having agreed with the plaintiffs that the ban is unconstitutional They had said that they would not appeal the decision if U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane struck down the ban.

Of course you cannot extrapolate from a commentless denial, but it would seem to be that if SCOTUS sees no need to stay it is because they see little likelihood that NOM will prevail in their petition to be heard.

Poor sad delusional NOM

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2014

The National Organization for Marriage (theirs, not yours) is all upset with Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for choosing not to appeal federal Judge John Jones III’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the US Constitution. Whatever.

But the part that is truly worth a giggle – especially after being slapped down this week by Oregon’s Judge McShane – is this:

Brown said that the National Organization for Marriage is itself evaluating whether it could intervene in this case on behalf of its Pennsylvania members. It is also looking into what other options might exist to work with people or groups in the state who have standing to mount the strong defense of marriage called for in this case.

Delusional.

Judge Piazza will be re-elected tomorrow

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

Tomorrow is election day in Arkansas and the judge who found the marriage ban to be unconstitutional will be on the ballot. But not to worry, he’s going to be reelected. (Houston Chronicle)

A Pulaski County circuit judge recently tossed out Arkansas’ 10-year-old ban on gay marriage, and the state Supreme Court subsequently put the judge’s ruling on hold, but there’s no way for voters to take out their frustrations at the polls this year. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, who made the ruling, didn’t draw an opponent this year and will be re-elected to a 6-year term Tuesday.

The National Organization for Marriage is calling demanding “Governor Mike Beebe to call a special legislative session so that lawmakers can impeach Piazza and remove him from office”. Beebe has already dismissed that notion.

Ninth rejects NOM’s Oregon stay request

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

Last week, Judge McShane denied the effort by the National Organization for Marriage to intervene in the trial over that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. They appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, along with a request for an emergency stay on Judge McShane’s decision, should it be that the ban is unconstitutional.

Today the Ninth gave their reply: “Appellant’s emergency motion to stay district court proceedings pending appeal is denied.”

This has not been NOM’s happy day.

Maine committee recommends fining NOM

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

From the Bangor Daily News

Maine ethics investigators are recommending more than $50,000 in fines for a national anti-gay-marriage organization for failing to register and disclose its activities in Maine’s 2009 same-sex marriage referendum.

That year, an effort to legalize same-sex marriage — approved by the Legislature and signed by then-Gov. John Baldacci — was repealed at the ballot box with 53 percent of the vote.

National Organization for Marriage was the largest contributor to the ’09 anti-gay-marriage campaign, and dumped roughly $2 million into the state. That money was integral in defeating the fledgling marriage equality law.

The Ethics Commission will decide later this month whether to accept the recommendation of the reviewers and to assess the fine.

No No NOM

Timothy Kincaid

May 14th, 2014

The National Organization for Marriage’s delaying tactic seeking to intervene in the marriage ban trial in Oregon has been slapped down. (Oregon Live)

After a nearly hourlong hearing, McShane ruled that the National Organization for Marriage was unreasonably late in filing its request to intervene. He also said that the group couldn’t simply seek to intervene in the place of Rosenblum to defend the law. “The attorney general is answerable to voters,” the judge said. “NOM is not.”

In addition, McShane said the Washington, D.C.-based group didn’t make its case that it should be allowed to intervene on behalf of three anonymous Oregon members of NOM: a county clerk who issues marriage licenses, a wedding provider and a voter who supported the 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

McShane said he understood the group’s concerns that its members might face harassment if they were named in the case. But he said Eastman’s group made no attempt to provide confidential information to the judge that would allow him to assess any harm to their members if gays and lesbians are allowed to marry in Oregon.

NOM is appealing.

However, at this point it seems likely that Judge McShane will simply rule on the matter and not wait for NOM to be told by every court in the land that they don’t have standing to represent imaginary people.

If he rules quickly enough, the organizers of the petition to bring the ban back to the voters will stop their campaign.

Virginia Photo Request

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2014

The National Organization for Marriage is coming to Virginia to hold a rally. Well, I assume a few people will, though NOM rallies are mostly known for drawing embarrassingly small crowds.

So if there is anyone who will be in Richmond, VA, next Tuesday and has a moment to take a picture of their rally, please send us the pics.

Oh, and hey, now we know why the stick figures in their logo have their hands up. I always figured they were just playing the airplane game.

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