Garrett Harris 4 p.m., July 24
National Organization for Marriage's Records Unsealed
The National Organization for Marriage, a group first sprouted in 2007 and rising to prominence through its funding of California’s Proposition 8, has evolved into a front for high dollar donors to anonymously push an anti-LGBT agenda, the Huffington Post’s Darrin Hurwitz alleges.
The Organization says it raised over $3 million to form a portion of the $40 million war chest unleashed to win support for the measure, which restricts the right of marriage in California to heterosexual couples. Major donors to the group’s NOM California PAC included locals Doug Manchester ($125,000) and the Caster family ($180,000), owners of A-1 Self Storage.
A subsequent boycott of Manchester properties garnered significant media attention in the wake of the donation, a fate other wealthy business owners wish to avoid. The Organization quickly filed suit to block disclosure of its full list of donors in response to what it says was “hatred leveled at Prop. 8 supporters,” described as “boycotts, picketing, and occasional violence.” Hurwitz notes that the Organization is currently encouraging what it describes as “hate” by calling for a boycott on Starbucks over the company’s support for marriage equality laws.
Seeking to avoid the kind of embarrassing and costly publicity Manchester faced, the group developed a plan, according to confidential documents recently ordered unsealed by a Maine court.
“Given the threats of intimidation to donors who support marriage in California and nationwide, we face a serious hurdle in getting state ballot initiatives and candidate campaigns funded because donors must be disclosed. However, if NOM makes a contribution from its own resources that are not specifically designated for one of these efforts donor identities are NOT disclosed,” concludes a board update from 2008-2009. Money that went anonymously into the Organization’s general fund could then be redirected to fights in individual states, even those with donor disclosure laws on the books.
Using such tactics, the group’s revenues have grown from $500,000 in 2007 to $9 million in 2010. Of that sum, $8 million came from 5 anonymous donors – less than 9% of the money came from donors giving $5,000 or less.
But the Organization’s tactics go beyond simply “supporting marriage,” the Human Rights Campaign alleges, offering up quotes direct from the unsealed documents to back claims the group has sought to sow general discontent in the Democratic party and to make an appeal to potentially anti-homosexual supporters based on race.
“The strategic goal of [a] project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…” reads the text of a report to the group’s board of directors.
Another excerpt targeting Hispanics reads:
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: 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 - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
More like this:
- Bradley Manning Supporter Sues Government Officials — April 6, 2012
- Manchester Charity Gets More Than $1 Million, Makes No Grants — Nov. 28, 2011
- No Hush — Jan. 13, 2010
- Manchester’s money — July 8, 2009
- Straight up — April 9, 2008